Today, we celebrate the importance of Hispanics in this country, specifically the contributions Mexican Americans have made and continue to make and how their achievements strengthen our nation.
This date is of special significance because it reminds us that all peoples -- regardless of their race or color -- need freedom, liberty and self-determination and that all cultures are worthy of respect. For Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has become a symbol of unity and patriotism in its history. In the United States, it is also a celebration of the rich cultural heritage Mexican Americans have brought with them.
"Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States. They are leading a record number of small businesses -- 1.2 million, with annual revenues of nearly $200 billion. The fastest-growing small business sector is Latina-owned firms. Today, there are 25 Hispanic Members in the United States Congress, many of them Mexican-Americans, representing constituencies from all around the country. These gains and numbers tell us that Hispanics are a vital force in our country -- economically, socially and politically.
"Hispanics share with other Americans the common goals of freedom, opportunity, and a chance to build a better life. In pursuing these aspirations, they have made important contributions to life in the United States in science, the arts, politics, business and in the struggle to achieve justice and equal opportunity.
"Today, we say gracias for making our economy stronger and our culture
more vibrant; and gracias for helping to improve our society.
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