Groups Advocate for Historic Latino Monuments in Texas

Epiphany La'Sha | Public News Service
Owned by Fort Bliss, Castner Range has significant ancient rock imagery, cultural deposits and historic military sites. Photo Credit:

Every 30 seconds in the U.S. a Latino citizen turns 18, and it is Latino Advocacy Week, the second annual initiative where community leaders champion causes supporting Latinos across the nation.

This week, a series of events, meetings and webinars will be held by various community groups, nonprofits and elected officials across the country.

Jessica Godinez, conservation program manager for the Hispanic Access Foundation, said her organization advocates for issues including education, environmental justice and voting rights.

“Our hope is to really provide our community with the resources and the training to take leadership of their own advocacy,” Godinez explained.

As of 2020, Godinez pointed out there were 32 million Hispanic-identified voters in the US. More than half the country’s population growth comes from the Hispanic community.

From 2016 to 2020, Latino voter turnout tripled. Godinez noted Latinos make up 18% of the population, but only account for 1% of elected officials.

“We’re motivated after the 2020 election where Latino voter turnout in battleground states was three times greater than in 2016,” Godinez remarked.

According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, Latinos represent the largest untapped segment of the population when it comes to civic engagement and political potential.

One push this year in Texas is to recognize significant historical sites for the Latino community as national monuments.

Moses Borjas, pastor of Living Covenant Church in El Paso, strongly supports preserving historical culture, and he hopes President Joe Biden will proclaim the Castner Range a national monument.

“Keeping our lands open to get people involved with trails and climbing mountains,” Borjas emphasized. “It’s going to help our mental health, It’s going to help our spiritual side, it’s going to help our emotional side.”

The Castner Range is a sight to see, Borjas contends, home to wildlife, special plants and grasses. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to protect areas of historical or scientific significance.