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What Would LA be Like without Latinos?


LATINO PERSPECTIVE--One of the things I like to do in my weekly column is to show my readers the important contributions that Hispanic Americans bring to the United States. 

Famed African American author Ralph Ellison once posed an intriguing question: What would America be like without blacks? Not only did Ellison show the socio-economic and cultural contribution of African Americans, but he also questioned what America would have been if Africans and their descendants did not shape and define America. 

According to Stephen Balkaran who is an Instructor in the department of Philosophy and Political Science at Quinnipaic University, Ellison not only showed that America’s historical, political, economic and cultural definition was contributed to by African Americans, but also reminded us that America has continued to evolve as a country of immigrants. 

Recent debates now surround the “Browning of America,” the continuous reshaping of America and its Hispanic influence. Many of us fail to grapple that America has always been Hispanic. 

Yet, Hispanics have contributed to every avenue of American life since the inception of this country. Hispanic’ origins have played a key role in our country’s socio-economic, political and cultural development and many argue: What would America would be like without the presence of Hispanics and their influence? 

Here is a small but meaningful example. Sigue Corporation founder and CEO, Guillermo de la Viña (Center, photo left), was honored with a Community Hero Award from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, July 3. The honor is given to leaders in the Hispanic community as part of the Dodgers’ Viva Los Dodgers and Cuban Heritage Day. 

With 25 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry, de la Viña led Sigue to become the fourth largest money transfer company globally. Sigue serves more than 100 countries on six continents.  

“Sigue connects Latino communities throughout the world, and the Dodgers connect us all in Los Angeles,” said de la Viña. “The Los Angeles Latino community is particularly close to my heart because it’s where I’ve built my business. I am very grateful for the way the community has welcomed me and for this special recognition from the Dodgers’ organization.” 

The Community Hero Award is presented to an individual with a tireless involvement in the Latino community. The general public nominates individuals that they think have provided continued support to the Latino community in Los Angeles.  

De la Viña was recognized as one of the most successful and creative individuals in the Latino community by Poder Hispanic Magazine, which included him on the list of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics of 2011. 

In 2014, de la Viña received the Community Service Award from the Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA), a Southern California non-profit organization, for his public service. He has supported many organizations and non-profit groups, including White Memorial Medical Center, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.


About Sigue Corporation 

Headquartered in Sylmar, California, Sigue is a leading financial services company providing international electronic money transfer services to over 100 countries. The company is privately held and operates through a comprehensive network of retailers. Learn more at www.sigue.com


(Fred Mariscal came to Los Angeles from Mexico City in 1992 to study at the University of Southern California and has been in LA ever since. He is a community leader who serves as Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition and sits on the board of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council representing Larchmont Village. He was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council in District 4. Fred writes Latino Perspective for CityWatch and can be reached at: [email protected].)


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