Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced a bipartisan resolution, S.Res.602, with 16 senators that supports the commitment of the Latino community to engage in conservation efforts. The resolution also recognizes the contributions of the Latino community to conservation and wildlife protection, and urges increased access to public lands for all Americans. The resolution comes during Hispanic Heritage Month, which occurs every year from September 15 through October 15.
"Our country, and in particular Colorado, has some truly spectacular landscapes that everyone should have an opportunity to experience," Bennet said. "The Latino community has strong ties to our public lands and we should support opportunities for their engagement and inclusion in conservation. This bipartisan resolution acknowledges the role of Latinos in ensuring these natural areas continue to be accessible to future generations."
In addition to Bennet, the resolution is cosponsored by: Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ed Markey (D-MA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Al Franken (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Dean Heller (R-NV).
An identical companion resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26).
The resolution has the support of the Latino Conservation Alliance, which includes the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), GreenLatinos, Latino Outdoors, Hispanic Federation, and Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO), as well as Protégete-Conservation Colorado, City Wild, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization (CLLARO).
"Latinos are passionate about enjoying the outdoors and hold a strong belief that we have a moral obligation to protect it for future generations," said Maite Arce, president and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation. "As the largest ethnic group in America - one that is expected to grow to nearly one-quarter of the population by 2050 - the Latino community's engagement is critical to ensuring the future success and preservation of our nation's public lands. We appreciate Senator Bennet's recognition of the importance of fostering conservation and stewardship within the Latino community."
"People from all backgrounds have the right to clean air, safe drinking water, and access to public lands-- it's as simple as that," said Hilda Nucete the Director of Conservation Colorado's Protégete: Our Air, Our Health Program. "One of the things that I love most about Colorado is our diversity and the fact that our state is comprised of communities and families from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. But, there are a number of barriers that keep minority populations from enjoying the beauty that Colorado's public lands and parks have to offer. I am thrilled that Senator Bennet has demonstrated that he believes our national parks, forests, and monuments need to reflect our country's diversity and are working towards making this a reality."
For a copy of the resolution, click here.