The 2020 presidential candidate was joined by celebrities, local politicians
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was in Kissimmee on Tuesday to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with some help from celebrities and local politicians.
During the virtual event at Osceola Heritage Park that was aired online, he was joined by Eva Longoria, an actress, activist and co-founder of Latino Victory, which is focused on empowering Latino voters and developing Latino candidates.
Also on hand was Ricky Martin, a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter and humanitarian who has been called the “King of Latin Pop.” Martin was a headliner in the 2001 inauguration celebration for President George W. Bush.
Osceola County Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer opened the event.
“I couldn’t pick a better or more perfect day because we are in the kickoff and it’s the first day of Heritage Hispanic Month," she said.
Janer, the first Hispanic woman elected to the County Commission, noted that 55 percent of Osceola County is Hispanic with a great majority being from Puerto Rico after they fled the commonwealth due to the destruction Hurricane Maria left behind in 2017.
Congressman Darren Soto followed Janer.
“We must elect Joe Biden to the president of the United States to solve the pandemic, to restore our economy and to build back better. Vote for Biden to save America,” Soto said.
After a short interlude, Martin and Longoria took the stage. Martin took some swipes at President Donald Trump for his poor response to Puerto Rico after the hurricane and his reaction to the pandemic.
“We have the chance to elect a president that will rebuild America. A president we will be proud to call commander in chief,” Martin said.
The singer stressed that Biden was ready to protect the Puerto Rican people and he respected their dignity. He also noted that Biden had a plan for the unsustainable debt that is holding the Puerto Rican economy back.
“With Joe Biden we will always have a chair at the table,” he said.
Longoria noted that while only 18 percent of the U.S. was Hispanic, 34 percent were essential frontline workers. That included nurses, health care workers, delivery drivers and farm workers putting food on the table.
She claimed that Trump’s strategy was to cast Latinos as less than fully American.
“Well, let me tell you how American we are. This year for the first time in history, Hispanics will be the largest minority of potential voters in the United States,” she said. “Latino voters will decide the 2020 election. That’s a simple fact.”
Also providing some thoughts was Luis Fonsi, a Puerto Rican-American singer, songwriter, and actor. He is known for multiple songs, including "Despacito” featuring Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee.
Then, it was Biden’s time.
He celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by speaking about the rich Hispanic heritage in America.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is also an important reminder of just how much strength we draw as a nation from our immigrant roots, and our values as a nation of immigrants,” said Biden. “And for people with Hispanic ancestry, those contributions date all the way back to before our founding. There is no separating out Hispanic heritage from American heritage. These stories are one in the same. And growing more vibrantly entwined every single day. Today, it is no exaggeration to say that the future success of this country depends on Hispanics having the opportunities and the tools they need to succeed.”
He also mentioned how valued the Hispanic community when it comes to combating COVID-19.
“Folks, in the midst of the God-awful pandemic, we’ve seen even more clearly than ever how much we rely on people with Hispanic roots to keep our country running,” said Biden. “And, again, that’s not an exaggeration. So many of our frontline workers are Hispanic — the people stocking the grocery shelves, driving the delivery vehicles, working in the meat packing plants, staffing our nursing homes and hospitals. That includes 200,000 Dreamers working in those key roles, many of whom are of Hispanic heritage. We depend on them. And there are a lot of people who are recognizing for the first time what they truly are: essential. But we don’t just need to thank them — we need to pay them. And treat them with dignity.”
Biden also questioned how can America have a strong and thriving republic — if we aren’t doing more to fully deal in Hispanic communities. Biden said he has laid out extensive plans to use every tool at the nation’s disposal to take on the inequities that hurt Hispanic communities. That includes investing in economic mobility, improving the educational system, rooting out race-based disparities in health care and building on Obamacare, taking on the gun violence that plagues communities, and finally building an immigration system that treats people with dignity.
He also noted that he released his agenda to help Puerto Rico. It included investing in infrastructure reconstruction to modern standards, promoting economic development initiatives and support for families, providing relief from unsustainable debt and expanding access to education and workforce development.
“I am running to be a president for all Americans — including 3 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico. I’ll lead. I’ll respect and support the island’s renewal and full recovery,” Biden said. “I will work with representatives who support each of the status options in Puerto Rico on a fair and binding process to determine their own status. I believe statehood would be the most effective means of ensuring that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally, with equal representation at the federal level.”
In closing, Biden said the election was bigger than just beating Donald Trump.
“Because at the end of the day, all the American people are looking for — is a shot. I’m asking for your vote, and I’m going to work every single day to earn it. So please, this election — make your voice heard. Make a plan to vote. Make a plan to help your community vote.”