Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros was the keynote speaker at a Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Fort Sam Houston Friday. He spoke about the close relationship between the Latino community and the future of the United States.
Dancers and singers from Mexico, Peru, and other Latin American countries shared their culture with members of the U.S. Army and Air Force as part of a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The Fort Sam Houston Theater was awash in music and colorful costumes.
Henry Cisneros took a moment to identify the Hispanic people who make up America.
"There are pockets, if you will, of Latinos spread across the country," he said. "They tend be liberal and conservative, they are democrats and republicans, catholics and evangelicals. They are a mix of people from a rich history, from a deep and long history."
Cisneros pointed out that Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority in the United States today: about 55 million people.
Still, he said, Latinos face an uncertain future, one where opportunities need to be created.
"We know this population is going to be large, " Cisneros pointed out. "But is it going to be large undereducated, under-compensated? And therefore angry and alienated in the American story?"
The Latino population is estimated to grow to 63 million and make up a quarter of the U.S. population by 2050, according to estimates from U.S. Census Bureau.
Despite their current minority status, Cisneros said Hispanic people are disproportionately represented in the armed forces, and in the number Medal of Honor winners.
"It runs at every step of the Army hierarchy from incoming privates to four-star generals who have made a contribution. It's something we as Latinos are proud of. And I think the country has been well-served."
Cisneros said he hopes that military recruitment efforts will continue to expand and reach Latino communities nationally and in the San Antonio area.