From politics to music, a look at how Latino Georgians are influencing the state

Gigi Pedraza, executive director of Latino Community Fund Georgia, joined “Closer Look” to talk about the contributions and influence of Latinos in Georgia. (Daniel Rayzel/WABE)

Latino Georgians make up one of the key groups shaping the state’s demographic changes, representing about 10% of all Georgians — and reflected through their influence on everything from the arts to political races.

On this special edition of “Closer Look,” host Rose Scott kicks off a series in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month on Georgia’s Latino communities with a panel of guests covering identity, politics, music, health care and more.

Victor Mariachi is an Atlanta-based hip-hip artist who writes about Latino identity in much of his lyrics. (Daniel Rayzel/WABE)

Research from the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute found Latinos as the youngest of Georgia’s major racial and ethnic groups with a median age of 26, a decade younger than the statewide median.

“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to think about contributions, think about purchasing power, think about education,” said Gigi Pedraza, executive director of Latino Community Fund Georgia. “You have a younger population that’s already bicultural and very likely bilingual, and it’s also a huge voting bloc … we could determine the election, quite frankly.”

Pedraza was also joined by Dr. Roxana Chicas, an assistant professor at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Victor Mariachi, an Atlanta-based hip-hop artist whose music is featured throughout the show.