Texas Schools Exemplify Coming Demographic Shift: The racial makeup that demographers say will occur in coming decades has already happened in some Texas schools where nearly all students are Hispanic, The Texas Tribune reports. The Laredo Independent District opened doors for the school year largely to needy Hispanic children from poor homes, including some who arrived shoeless and without a parent accompanying them on the first day.

Without Latino Support, GOP Risks Being Minority Party, Leader Says: During a forum at the Republican convention, former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez said that the GOP risks being "relegated to being a minority party" for years if Republicans fail to make a connection with Latino constituents, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Finding ways to successfully reach out to Latino voters has become a key dividing issue for Republicans, partly because the party's base is mostly made up of people who are 60 years and older, many who are uneasy about the rapid demographic changes of the country, reporter David Lauter wrote after attending a panel cosponsored by National Journal. 

Video: 'GOP in Tomorrow's America' Discussion

Mexican Drug Cartels Come to Middle America:  Mexican drug cartels have expanded far past the border, establishing businesses in Wilmington, N.C.; Oklahoma; and Chicago. The Huffington Post, recounting major drug busts and laundered cash via horse breeding and car racing, cites a federal official who says Mexican drug cartels now operate in 230 cities across the U.S.

Low Education Level Tied to Shorter Lifespan: People who are undereducated, which largely includes people of color, generally die 10 years sooner than those who remained in school longer, according to a  study reported by New America Media. Researchers examined several databases from 1990 to 2008, and found the largest living gap among males: white men with 16 years or more of education had a life expectancy 14.2 years longer than black males with less than 12 years of schooling. 

This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.

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