WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), America’s largest Hispanic business organization, condemns the racist remarks by U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) about Hispanic Americans at the recent Energy & Commerce hearing on Thursday February 11, 2021. Hispanic Americans contribute $2.6 trillion to the U.S. economy each year and collectively are the world’s seventh largest economy.
“We condemn all racism, including remarks that cast negative stereotypes on the Hispanic community and imply Hispanic Americans do not belong in our country. To date, Hispanic Americans have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, with higher infection and mortality rates. This is due to the number of essential Hispanic workers providing healthcare, food service, and logistics in every American community. It is important that everyone has access to COVID-19 vaccines and we encourage Congress to promote equitable distribution of vaccines for all,” said Ramiro A. Cavazos, USHCC President & CEO. “We hope for a sincere apology from Congresswoman Lesko for her remarks so that we can get back to the important work of ending this pandemic and economic recovery.”
“We denounce Representative Lesko’s statement and any language that negatively portrays our Latino community and belies our substantial contributions to this country,” said Alice Rodriguez, Chair of the USHCC Board of Directors. “The data trends show that Latinos are the most represented among our frontline essential workers as well as our national economic growth and recovery process. These statements are unacceptable.”
Lesko made this statement on a proposed amendment to prioritize citizens for vaccines:
“Arizona is a border state. We are compassionate people too. We have a lot of different varieties of people that live here. It’s very diverse. I worked with people that are Hispanic. I mean they’re very good workers. We’re compassionate people, but for goodness sakes, we have to take care of American citizens, or people that are here legally, first. I’m just not going to be able to explain to my senior citizens that we’re giving away the vaccines to people that [are] here illegally. I just think that’s totally wrong.”
The abhorrent comments came days before the United States reached the sad milestone of 500,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus, affecting so many families from all walks of life.
“We agree with the Department of Homeland Security that ‘equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines… for undocumented immigrants… is a moral and public health imperative.’ Further, we invite Congresswoman Lesko to engage in a discussion about how to best protect all lives in Arizona, regardless of age or status,” said Monica Villalobos, President & CEO, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Arizona and our entire country have experienced great loss due to the pandemic. The statements made by Congresswoman Lesko regarding Hispanic Arizonans with the second highest impacted community at 30% infection rate and 29% in deaths, is both inhumane and ill-informed. These types of comments by a leader of our state only serve to disenfranchise and create distrust at a time when we must work together. This is not the language of someone who is working for all their constituents during a time of true life and death circumstances,” added Isabel Georgelos, President & CEO, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
About the USHCC The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of more than 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that combined, contribute over $800 billion to the American economy every year. It advocates on behalf of its network of more than 250 local chambers and business associations nationwide. For more information, please visit ushcc.com. Follow us on Twitter @USHCC.
SOURCE United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)