LANSING — Yesterday, state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), chair of the House Latino Caucus, introduced House Resolution 395 to declare Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2018, as Hispanic Heritage Month in Michigan.

“For over 100 years, Michigan has been home to Hispanic and Latinx residents who have created their own version of the American Dream here in our state,” said Camilleri. “We work on farms, and we build businesses from the ground up. We construct cars and teach kids. We sit in board rooms. We solve problems. And we are part of the fabric of this country.”

“Since the inception of the United States, Americans of Hispanic descent have led the way in our fight for a better world,” said state Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). “We or our families hail from many countries, including Central and South America. Men and women like Cesar Chavez and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have inspired a new generation of Latinos to be the change we want to see in the world, and I am proud to be a part of our movement.”

Rep. Camilleri is of Mexican and Maltese descent and is the youngest Latino-American state representative in Michigan’s history. He spoke to the resolution on the House Floor, reflecting on his experiences and the long road ahead to ensuring equal access to opportunity for Hispanic Americans. Notably, Camilleri asserted that Latinx women make $0.58 on the dollar for what a white male earns, and Latino household wealth has decreased by 50 percent over the last 30 years.

“Hispanics have succeeded in all walks of life here in America — in politics and entertainment, in business and sports, in the arts and the sciences, and in public service roles like the firefighting job I held for years,” said state Rep. Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights). “Yet there have often been obstacles in our paths forward, beyond the everyday challenges faced by Americans of other descents. But still we’ve pushed forward toward our own versions of the American Dream, and that is something that should be celebrated.”

“There is not a single industry, sector or region that has not been influenced by the rich contributions of Latino Americans in our state and country,” said state Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw). “I am proud to be a part of the Latino community and to represent them at our state Capitol. Today and every day, I stand in solidarity with all my Latino brothers and sisters as we celebrate our heritage throughout the state of Michigan.”