My son is from the X Generation. His military careers consists of leading young men and women from mostly the Millennial Generation in training and combat.
In lighter moments of our conversations, he talks about the difficulties he and his peers find themselves in as they navigate the echelons of the military made up of a lot of older Xe-rs, late Boomers and the relatively young Millennials they lead. The task of living and working among these groups requires special people skills that test their ability to command.
The Millennial Generation constitutes the new majority in America. Their voice will be increasingly the dominating force in American democracy.
We have seen that force already in action in the Black Life Matter Movement. You may have noticed that the demonstrations are being conducted by people from all races and ethnicities.
There are times that the television screens reveal a large number of Whites, sometimes the largest, in the groups exercising their First Amendments rights. It also appears as though Millennials are as committed to each other as much as to their ideas of freedom and equality.
Latinos form an important part of the Millennial Generation and their relationship to the other ethnic and racial groups and their aims may, at times, take them closer to their demographic peers than their own communities. I first saw that in the 2016 presidential campaigns and election as Bernie Sanders was able to bring a great number of that generation into his camp.
The passing away of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a great Justice and icon of women, the powerless and the dispossessed is affecting this generation deeply. Her enduring commitment to gender equality also represents one of the fundamental goals of the Millennial.
Yet, Latino Heritage Month is a reminder that the roots of identity must be strong in order to have the mind-set to voice the ideals of a more perfect union. Latino comfort with who they are is at the root of effective contributions to the American experiment.
The Chicano Movement did a lot to bring Latinos to the attention of the country. Their work, at great sacrifice and danger, transformed the Latino community from a defeated and forgotten minority to a major presence in American life.
The Latino immigrant, especially from Mexico, brought back a language, a world view and a sense of origins that had been lost in this country. These historical developments have energized the community and empowered it to become a major player in the affairs of the country.
The Latino Millennial is taking the community to another level. That level includes finding a sense of brotherhood with generational peers.
It may very well be that Latino ethnicity and race will be a temporary condition and a prelude to becoming the face of America. It is hard work, time, dedication to task and demographic advancements building on themselves that matters.
We live in a time of great change. This change and the divisions it creates will be with us for the foreseeable future.
Being in the middle of a pandemic, a presidential election season and its political strife and a major conversation on race, puts a lot of pressure on our ability to cope. Yet we will be stronger on the other side of this.
We are empowered in the face of these things when we remind ourselves that we were made special, came from somewhere special and have a special destiny to keep our country great. That is our heritage.