Every year at this time ― Hispanic Heritage Month ― we collectively celebrate the heritage, diversity and social contributions of the Hispanic-Latino community and honor the hard work of past generations so that future generations can benefit from more opportunities. This vibrant community is a cornerstone of Oklahoma City, and this month is an opportunity to recognize their contributions and highlight how we can strive for continued inclusivity and diversity in OKC.
At Bank of America, we strive to do our part to make an impact by helping build Hispanic-Latino wealth in Oklahoma City. Why do we do this? Because it is good for Hispanic-Latino families and, therefore, good for our entire nation.
The 2020 Census revealed that the Hispanic-Latino population in the United States rose to 62.1 million, accounting for 51.1% of the population growth between 2010 and 2020. Given that Hispanic-Latinos now open more small businesses than any other group in the country, it is not surprising that Hispanic-Latino economic power continues to rise year after year. Hispanics make up 20% of the OKC population, and our community is home to nearly 20,000 Hispanic-owned businesses, according to the OKC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Access to quality education is a critical stepping stone in achieving goals of all kinds. Being part of the Oklahoma City community means empowering the next generations of Oklahoma to achieve their full potential. That means supporting equitable scholastic solutions for all Oklahoma youth, including our Hispanic students. Our recent grant to the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools is a direct reflection of this belief and will support development of Hispanic teachers and positive outcomes for our Hispanic student population.
The path to long-term financial success and stability is not one-size-fits-all. For our Hispanic community, supporting a wide range of programs and pathways to success ensures there’s ample opportunity for everyone to start their financial journey, no matter their starting point. That’s why we’ve partnered with organizations like Latino Community Development Agency, Lilyfield, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and others to support their community outreach.
During the past decade, the rate of Hispanic-Latino economic development has far outpaced rates among non-Hispanics. Supporting and honoring our Hispanic-Latino customers is not just a month-long initiative, it is a long-term, generational investment in America. We are proud to be investing in a stronger economy for Oklahoma now and for years to come.
Hector Martinez Reyes is a business banker at Bank of America.