- Published: 26 September 2016
“We are a hard-working community. We believe in the American dream, and we will work hard to make sure our families and our communities are prosperous,” said Senator Iris Y. Martinez of Chicago.
Martinez has represented some of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods in the Illinois Senate since 2003. She was the first Hispanic woman elected to the Senate and was the first to serve as assistant majority leader of the chamber. She also leads the Latino Caucus and is a tireless advocate for immigrants, children and the middle class.
Chicago Senator Omar Aquino, who joined the Senate on July 1, is a millennial of Puerto Rican descent who said he is proud of the influence his people have had on the United States through the years.
“Hispanic heritage and values for me are American values,” Aquino said. “The Hispanic community has been part of the United States since its inception, and we continue to add to those values, be it through our food, our music or our family values.”
By the numbers:
• Illinois has the fifth-largest Hispanic population in the country – about 2.2 million people.
• About 17 percent of all Illinois residents identify as Hispanic, giving the Prairie State the 10th largest Hispanic statewide population share nationally, according to the Pew Research Center and the 2014 American Community Survey.
• Nearly 30 percent of Chicago’s population was Hispanic or Latino in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.
• New projections from the Brookings Institution suggest Hispanic children will comprise 25 percent of Illinois’ population by 2020 and 36 percent of the population by 2060.