September calls for celebrating Hispanic Heritage month.

I send my greetings and my gratitude to the 15 million Californian Latinos, who constitute the largest demographic group in our state. Nothing happens here without Latinos and we are blessed by the historical, cultural, economical, and socio-political investment the Latino family has made in our state.

Gracias to the Latino family in California — for everything you bring and all that you share with us every day.

Gracias to those who have made amazing  contributions to social change like Jovita Idar, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Ruben Salazar, Reies López Tijerina, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Rigoberta Manchu, Sonia Sotomayor, Arnulfo Romero, and Oscar Lopez Rivera, just to name a few whose impact we have felt here in California.

Gracias to the ones who do thousands of heroic acts of solidarity during their lives, knowing as Mexican resistance leader Marcos has said, “We are nothing if we walk alone; we are everything when we walk together in step with other dignified feet.”

Gracias to the DACA dreamers who resist racism and xenophobia, and call for all undocumented persons to be included in the solutions.

Gracias to the immigrants who have not forgotten their families in their countries of birth and support them with remittances, and share both their joys and sufferings with their faraway loved ones.

Gracias for the music, the sounds of Spanish, the food, the science, the hard work, the can-do attitude, the “si se puede”,  the good leaders who don’t sell out, the teachers, the poets, the artists, the small business folks, the truck drivers, farm workers, nurses, the mariachis and the jornaleros (day laborers).

Gracias a todos por todo. Thank you all for everything.

I remember the words of Cesar Chavez in San Francisco thirty years ago: “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

To our Latino hermanos and hermanas: No fear, great pride, much learned. There is no going back.

I’m there with you! Let’s transform our California together.

– Gayle McLaughlin