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Latino presence in 'Occupy' protests may be relatively small (they're working), but it's there

The Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and its offshoots around the country have been criticized as being too white, with a dearth of minority protesters even though it's minorities who have been worst affected by the economic crisis. But while their presence isn't a large one, Latino participants have been there from the start (they have been in L.A., at least), and their numbers have been growing, writes David Ramirez in Huffington Post Latino Voices.

One reason that's been given for the relative scarcity of Latino participants - along with black Americans and others - is that many are too busy trying to make ends meet. From the piece:

Some sympathetic observers, including Luis Barrios, an Episcopalian minister and professor of criminal justice at John Jay College, say there weren't many Latinos participating at the beginning of Occupy Wall Street.

"This is a movement that -- we have to recognize it -- started among white, middle-class youth, but it has since opened up, because the crisis is affecting us all," Barrios said in Spanish.

But others contest that view. Roberto Lovato, co-founder of, an online organization that advocates for Latinos, said that contrary to what others may contend, "Latinos have been present since the beginning of Occupy Wall Street." The Spanish language version of the newspaper Occupy Wall Street Journal and signs in Spanish around Zuccotti park -- such as one that said "Ya basta Wall Street," or 'enough with Wall Street' -- Lovato added, show the strong participation of the Hispanic community.

Julio Cesar Malone, a veteran journalist and columnist for Spanish-language media in New York, said he thinks some Latinos who identify with the movement may not have the time or energy to actively take part.

"What time does a Latino have to go protest on Wall Street?" he asked in Spanish. "Our people are working two jobs to survive. Many work 16 hours, and have to commute for four more -- that"s 20 hours; they"re drained."