Friday, September 30, 2016 (Live streaming video here)

Using US Census Bureau definitions and data, Hispanics or Latinxs, represented “over half” the total increase in U.S. population between 2000 and 2010, and the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that by 2050, Hispanics will constitute 29% of the U.S. population. Mexicans comprised nearly 75% of Hispanic increases, and more than half of the U.S. Hispanic population resided in three states: California, Texas, and Florida. These demographics reveal the potential power that both immigrants and native-born community members can wield in the political process. Issues such as immigration reform and paths to citizenship; affordable education; supportive services for families; criminal justice reform, and addressing economic inequality have risen to the forefront as important issues in the 2016 presidential campaign. Yet, within this group are people of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Central and South American heritage, and while they share connections through iterations of the Spanish language, there are notable differences regarding class, cultural practices, beliefs, and values. This conversation brings together a diverse group of panelists to explore: intersections of ethnicity, race, class, gender, and religion; how these factors affect Hispanic communities; and the role they could play in American politics.


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  • Carlos Mariani, Minnesota State Representative, District 65B, DFL Lead, Education Innovation, and Member, Education Finance, and Agricultural Policy Committees
  • Patricia Torres Ray, First Hispanic female elected to the Minnesota State Senate, representing District 63, and Chair, State and Local Government Committee
  • Fernando Rodriguez, Teaching Specialist, Chicano Studies, and Doctoral Candidate, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
  • Minerva Muñoz, Director, TRIO Programs, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.


  • Fernando Burga, Assistant Professor, Masters in Urban and Regional Planning Program, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.


  • Rafael Tarrago,Librarian for History, Political Science, and Iberian, Ibero-American & Chicano Studies