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Welcome from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn 

Happy Latino Heritage Month 2014 and welcome to our website!

Every year, we take time to reflect on the contributions made by Latinos to Illinois’ social fabric and economy. Our State is a complex, dynamic place; every resident has been enriched by Latinos, who now comprise one of every six Illinoisans.

The face of Illinois Latinos has changed dramatically recently. The 2010 Census shows that for the first time, more Illinois Latinos live outside of the City of Chicago. There has been notable growth in the Latino population in places ranging from Waukegan to Kane County to rural Onarga. Illinois Latinos are attending college, buying homes and operating businesses in unprecedented numbers. There have never been as many Latinos in public office or the judiciary.

Our celebration of Latino Heritage Month includes this website which will help everyone appreciate the history and importance of Illinois Latinos. Since the 1880s, Latinos have been building Illinois’ roads, railroads and water infrastructure. Governor Pat Quinn will showcase their accomplishments as part of 2014 Latino Heritage Month with the free exhibit "Latinos Building Illinois", open from Monday, September 22 to Friday, September 26, in the James R, Thompson Center Atrium, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago.

Last year, we hosted a fascinating exhibit in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, October 7-11, saluting “Latino Inventors, Scientists and Innovators”, while displaying the flags of Latin American nations. Each day of the month last year, we also honored a “Latino Trailblazer”. This feature tells the story of a Latino who overcame odds to achieve greatness. Our first installment introduces you to Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina in space, and other pioneering Latino astronauts. We’ll pause to remember Manuel Perez, Jr., the first Illinois Latino to be awarded the Medal of Honor. You’ll meet Latino writers, athletes and musicians. Visit our site and help us spread the word about these extraordinary “Latino Trailblazers”.

My goal is to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation, and to use our fast-growing Latino community as an asset in building lasting trade and cultural relationships. How? Explore our website to learn about our trade missions to Mexico and Brazil, our Sister Rivers/Lakes partnerships and the Governor’s Office of New Americans.

I hope you find this website to be entertaining and edifying, and wish you a Happy Latino Heritage Month!

Pat Quinn
Governor of the State of Illinois