For Ruben Blades, Quest for Latino Progress Never Ends

By Alex Perez
|  Friday, Sep 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 PM CDT
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<A HREF=Hispanic Heritage | Salsa musician and icon works to make Latino community a valued part of society." />

Hispanic Heritage | Salsa musician and icon works to make Latino community a valued part of society.

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In the world of salsa music, Ruben Blades is a living legend.

He is credited with helping to make the rhythmic stew of sounds a dish that the entire world can enjoy.  In Chicago last week, Blades took part in a special fundraiser with White Sox coach Ozzie Guillen to benefit underprivileged children in Venezuala.

While more than 30 years have passed since Blades got his break in the music business, working in the mailroom of the famed Fania Records in New York City, he says many of his goals remain the same.

Among them: fighting to make sure Latinos become a valued part of society.

"Not just a part of society," he clarifies.  "But a contributing part of the society."

Blades is Harvard educated lawyer and former politician.  He hopes Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a reminder to everyone, that we are more alike than we are different.

"The same dreams we have, the same capacity and opportunity that we want, is that what everyone else is seeking," he said.

Immigration reform is what the Panamian-born musician says will be the current generation's next big project.

"It's something that has to be faced responsibly and not with fear," he said.

After all these years, taking the stage to perform is still one of the things Blades enjoys the most. No matter what language you understand, Blades believes the beats of the music can speak to you. "It's a great opportunity to make people remember--we're all one."

NBCChicago.com: Hispanic Heritage Month

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