Nevertheless, with the political tension that is present today, understanding of and involvement in the political happenings of the country are essential. For this reason it is worth taking a look at the work of organizations such as Voto Latino, which strive to empower Latinos in the United States to become agents of change.
In 2004, before the age of social media, the actress, singer, writer, and activist Rosario Dawson, together with other Latino celebrities and leaders, founded Voto Latino. Since its beginning, the organization has been motivated by the belief that the Latino voice in our country can shape the future. Currently, Voto Latino has registered more than 250 000 voters. In addition, the directors of the organization were actively involved in the creation of National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), which is celebrated every year on the fourth Tuesday of September.
With twelve years of expansion under its belt, Voto Latino has evolved into more than an organization that fights for the registration of Hispanics to vote. Today, besides encouraging the vote, the Voto Latino team focuses on developing leaders and advocating for the Latino population in issues that concern them. In the months leading up the census of 2010 Voto Latino fought for the recog- nition of the Latino community. They have granted more than half a million dollars to young Latino entrepreneurs. Furthermore, in November of 2010, to- gether with MSNBC, Voto Latino creat- ed Beyond Borderlines, a live, two-hour Emmy award nominated program, whose objective was to attract public attention to the need for migration reform.
Celebrities such as Wilmer Valderrama, Eva Longoria, Pitbull, Common, and Jessica Alba have taken part in Voto Latino’s campaigns. The United We Win campaign of 2010, which was motivated by unjust racially-motivated detentions in Arizona, stands out as one of the most effective. During the course of the cam- paign, which ran during the four weeks before the midterm presidential elec- tions, more than 10 000 Americans were registered to vote.
Voto Latino is a bipartisan organization, which means that it does not endorse conservative beliefs nor those of the liberal side, but works for the participation of all Americans in political processes. Alas- kan Latinos also have the opportunity to become involved in the movement.
For this edition, members of Sol de Medianoche reached Mario Carrillo, Communications Director for Voto Latino. Recently, the Supreme Court froze the DACA (Deferred Action for Child- hood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Ac- tion for Parents of Americans and Law- ful Permanent Residents) programs, both directed at immigration problems. Given his responsibilities in the Latino commu- nity, Carrillo did not have the necessary time to respond to our questions.
To follow the activities of Voto Latino and stay informed about the processes of DACA and DAPA, visit: votolatino. org/get-involved/, or the organization’s profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.