In many Latino communities, the local shop is where you buy goods, but it is also a neighborhood water cooler of sorts where residents fill up on chit-chat, immigrants get guidance on negotiating their new homeland and help in filling out forms and translating documents into English.
It is because of that unique position that Latino small businesses play in their communities that the Hillary Clinton campaign is turning to them for help in registering Latinos to vote.
On Tuesday, the campaign launched "Nuestros Negocios, Nuestra América" (“Our Businesses, Our America”), to enlist their help in increasing the number of Hispanic voters this year.
"[Clinton] recognizes that Latino small business owners are the bedrock of our neighborhoods, and that's why she tasked us to build a program that would empower them to mobilize Latinos to the polls,” Lorella Praeli, the campaign’s national Latino outreach director, said in an email statement about the new small business outreach. “And Latino small business owners know that Hillary Clinton will have their backs as president.”
The “Nuestro Negocios” effort is asking Latino entrepreneurs to do such things as use some of their space to hold watch parties for the debates, get-out-the-vote activities and roundtable conversations on a number of topics.
The goal is to get Latinos engaged enough so that they are motivated to vote.
“In the Hispanic community, business owners become leaders,” Javier Palomarez – president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which endorsed Hillary Clinton – told Fox News Latino. “They’re assets: Many of them are very civically involved, they become very influential in their communities.”
There are more than 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.
Latinos account for an increasing part of new businesses. In 1996, Latinos made up 10 percent of new business owners in the United States. In 2014, that doubled to slightly over 22 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Overall, Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population.