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US Latinos have no single leader. And that's a good thing.

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No leader doesn't mean no leadership

Nothing could be further from the truth. For Hispanics, our lack of a national leader has less to do with our need for such a figure and more to do with our maturation as an electorate.

A generation ago, there were far fewer Latinos in the US and most were concentrated in California and the Southwest. Besides the relatively small Cuban population in Florida, Hispanics were overwhelmingly Mexican, either immigrants or the children of immigrants. Chávez emerged as the preeminent Hispanic leader because there were no Hispanic governors, members of Congress, or senators. In championing the farm workers, Chávez filled the leadership void of his time and became the face of our nascent civil rights movement.

Today, we Latinos are not as homogenous as we once were. While we share a common ancestry, we have differences rooted in religion, citizenship, degree of assimilation, preferred language, education, income, and political affiliation. What's more, Hispanics are dispersed all over the country. Between 2000 and 2008, the Hispanic population in Georgia rose by 80 percent. In Minnesota, it rose by 86 percent.

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