SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Numbers released by the Census Bureau late last week showed massive growth in the nation's Hispanic population. The numbers are eye opening. The Hispanic community has exceeded the 50 million mark and Hispanics now account for more than 16 percent of the total population, making them the largest minority group in the country. More than half of all population growth in the United States over the past decade came from Hispanics. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent—rising from 35.3 million in 2000, when this group made up 13 percent of the total population. The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, accounting for over half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States. Hispanics now comprise 1 in 6 Americans; among U.S. children, Hispanics are roughly 1 in 4.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), also known as The Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization, said, "This goes beyond politics, beyond the Donkey and the Elephant – the Hispanic faith community is rising up. We are on the precipice of a multiethnic-multigenerational movement, an awakening. The Hispanic community is the firewall of righteousness–this is where the horizontal meets the vertical."
"These 50 million of Hispanics now represents a very important sector of our community, work force, and political impact," said Dr. Gilberto Velez, NHCLC Chairman of the Board. "The Hispanic community should not be considered anymore a marginated community, but a community ready to engage in the socio-economic and political development of our nation. From now on, White House and the Congress must take in consideration the Latino leadership in our nation in all decisions that involves the well being and development of the Latino Community in Unites States."
Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist and an NPR commentator, said, "The United States is becoming a Hispanic country. And it's happening much faster than anyone expected. The Hispanic population in the United States is growing more quickly and more dramatically than demographers had estimated. For Hispanics, being counted is a mixed bag. They gain numbers and prominence, but they also have to contend with resistance and hostility from those who feel threatened. Every 10 years, there is the possibility of a backlash."
"The exploding Hispanic presence in the United States should be viewed as one of the greatest opportunities God has given for the increase and health of his Son's Church in this country," said Rev. Jim Tolle, Pastor of The Church On The Way in Los Angeles, CA.
For some Americans, changing demographics is cause for alarm. Rev. Mauricio Elizondo, Sr. Pastor of Walnut Park Assembly of God in Garland, TX, said, "Don't be afraid of our voice. The Hispanic voice of 50 million, is all the same – the politicians, the doctors, the school teachers, the students, the pastors, the mothers, the families – people from city hall and from the university and from the back yard – one voice in love and compassion standing together for righteousness and justice. The message of the Hispanic community is about becoming 'one' and crying out, bringing America back to its core values that this great country was founded on. We are going to be the reconciling voices for the people who have been impoverished, the voices for the unborn, and the voices for people who have been marginalized. It is our time to rise up and shine–50 million voices shouting together for the sake of our Lord, for the sake of Humanity and for the sake of America, bringing our country back to revival."
The four states with the country's largest Hispanic population — California, Florida, New York and Texas — will account for 143 electoral votes for the next 10 years. That's more than half of the electoral votes a candidate needs to be elected president. "It is a community that can no longer be ignored. The Hispanic community will rise up and shout for righteousness and justice," concluded Rev. Rodriguez.
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is the Hispanic National Association of Evangelicals unifying, serving and representing the Hispanic Born Again Community via 30,454 member churches and 16 million constituents by reconciling the vertical and horizontal of the Christian message through the 7 Directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference