- Author: Dailynews.com by Brenda Gazzar
Seventy-seven percent of Hispanics surveyed rated quality affordable healthcare as “absolutely essential/extremely important” to improving opportunity in their community while 76 percent rated holding elected officials accountable as “absolutely essential/extremely important,” said Abigail Golden-Vazquez, executive director of The Aspen Institute's Latinos and Society Program, at the institute's second annual America's Future Summit on Tuesday at the California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles.
The Washington D.C.-based Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization, partnered with Nielsen to conduct the survey to help the institute understand what Latinos and other Americans find most important in creating opportunity, Vazquez said.
“Your zip code, the color of skin, your gender, your immigration status, your language determine whether you have access to the tools and on-ramps to opportunity,” Monica Lozano, chairwoman of the Latinos and Society Program, told about 200 policy makers, leaders, social entrepreneurs and others who convened at Tuesday's day-long summit. “We are all accountable to ensuring every fairness and upward mobility apply to all communities.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said people should hold elected officials as well as all institutions accountable — and not depend solely on politicians to lead change.
“Change always comes from the people, from the street, from the institutions,” Garcetti said during an afternoon panel. “That's the model I look at. I try to listen to my city and I try to lead from what I heard.”
For example, the decision to boost the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 “came from a lot of people working and having a coalition behind me,” Garcetti said.
Meanwhile, 73 percent of Hispanics surveyed rated having safe neighborhoods as well as good jobs that offer a living wage as “absolutely essential/extremely important” while 69 percent rated quality K-12 education in that category,
There were differences among language uses as well.
For English-dominant Hispanics and bilingual Hispanics, holding elected officials accountable was ranked their most important issue. For Spanish-dominant Hispanics, affordable quality healthcare was their top priority, the poll found.
Meanwhile, 70 percent of Spanish-dominant Hispanics said convenient and reliable public transportation was “absolutely essential/extremely important” compared to 49 percent of bilingual and 39 percent of those who are English-language dominant.
The data in the survey will allow policy makers to “take a closer look at how they allocate their dollars to programs, not only by the total community but by socio-economic groups and categories within the community,” said Stacie de Armas, vice president of strategic initiatives and consumer engagement at Nielsen.
When examining responses by race and ethnicity, both Asian and African Americans rated safe neighborhoods in the highest number for improving opportunity while non-Hispanic whites prioritized holding elected officials accountable, Vazquez said.
Across the board, there were relatively high ratings for K-12 education, holding elected officials accountable, safe neighborhoods, healthcare and good jobs, Vazquez noted.
Those in the lowest income brackets, who earned $50,000 or less, rated affordable health care and safe neighborhoods as the most important factors to improving opportunity with affordable college, quality K-12 education and a good job for a living wage all tied for third place, according to the survey.
More than 2,400 people were surveyed online in July for the Harris Poll, de Armas said.
The Aspen Institute founded the Latinos and Society Program to foster learning about American Latinos and to “elevate their role in solving the country's most critical issues,” Lozano said.
During a panel entitled Opportunity at the Intersection, Alberto Retana, president and CEO of the Community Coalition, said reimagining opportunity means moving from the possible to the probable. Becoming president of the U.S. is not probable if conditions in your community have not improved, he said.
It also requires addressing the root causes of issues such as poverty, addiction, crime and violence in communities like South Los Angeles, which cannot be done alone, he said.
“If we're ever going to take on the disinvestment in our communities, we have to bring African Americans and Latinos together,” Retana said.
Source: Published originally on Dailynews.com as Healthcare, holding politicians accountable among top concerns for US Hispanics by Brenda Gazzar, August 16, 2016