First ‘Latino Day’ at the Georgia State Capitol, celebrates Hispanics

First-ever Latino Day at the Capitol
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 12:50 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2023 at 3:52 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -For the first time ever, Georgia’s Capitol hosted ‘Latino Day’ to celebrate the state’s growing Hispanic population.

“It’s amazing and it’s overdue,” said City of South Fulton City Councilwoman Linda Pritchett.

“We are a part of Georgia. We are here to stay. And we’re such a vital community to the economy, to bringing about diversity,” said Juana Alzaga with the We Love Buford Highway organization.

13 local nonprofit organizations partnered to host the day.

“Georgia is such a diverse place and it’s only increasing in its diversity as the years go by we want everyone to know that this is their Capitol, no matter where you came from, this Capitol represents you, your values, your perspective, and we want to hear directly from you,” said Representative Saira Draper with House District 90.

According to the 2020 census, over one million Georgians are Hispanic, that’s ten percent of the state’s population.

“The legislators in the capitol should be a reflection of the people in Georgia and we are trending more in that direction, I think we do have some more work to do but I’m so proud of the strides we’ve made,” said Draper.

The 2023 legislative body is the most diverse in the state’s history, with 83 non-white members out of a total of 236. And this session will be the first to have a Hispanic caucus that will include lawmakers from both chambers and parties.

“I feel so privileged to be a member of the group of incoming legislators in our body generally because it is so diverse,” said Draper.

Representative Draper says she working to push Hispanic and immigrant issues, like in-state tuition for DACA students and voting rights.

“Making sure all qualified voters have access to the polls, that they can get there easily, and that they understand what they’re doing, right? That they have language options, that’s all very important to make sure everybody’s voice is heard,” said Draper.

And Councilwoman Linda Pritchett feels representation on the local level matters too

“Hispanics and Latinos have been the backbone of this country, so we need to make sure people have someone that identifies with their issues being immigrants in this country or being first generation,” said Pritchett.

13 non-profits helped host today’s event which included community educational sessions and advocacy activities.