Latinos, making up nearly half of the state as the fastest growing population, will be a crucial voting bloc for politicians in November.
As their numbers grow, their impact will also increase, which is why mobilizing the Latino vote is crucial. This was a hot topic at the Latina Leaders’ Summit held recently in San Francisco.
HOPE’s Leadership Institute, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, recently graduated it 400th Latina leader. To celebrate, the organization sponsored the summit.
Alumnae, who included a handful of elected council members from various cities, spoke passionately about what the importance of educating and engaging Latinos eligible to head to the polls.
“As we’ve seen in the last census, every city and every state has increased in the population of Latinos. If we had every 18 year old in this country voted, it would change. And so the importance is that we get out there and make sure they get out there and vote,” said Alicia Aguirre, Redwood City mayor.
“Overall, we’re analyzing the status of Latinas; what we can do to improve the status of Latinas in the state and also how we can find solutions to the state’s problems,” said Executive director of HOPE, Helen Torres.
Dolores Arredondo, HOPE graduate and board member, said “I see it as a real civic responsibility and my son is turning 18 in a couple of weeks and one of the first things we’re going to do make sure he is registered to vote cause we will make a difference as a Latino community.”
At California Forward we believe that getting involved in the political process is the key to affecting change in the Latino community as well as in the state as a whole.
This year, nearly 12.2 million Latinos will head to the polls to vote in November — a 20% increase from 2008. Yet, voter registration is extremely low.
Latinas, in particular, can make a difference and get to the heart of issues that matter to them by being a part of the solution.
“Those initiatives involve especially our tax initiatives that are coming before us in the state of California. Without these initiatives, our schools and our health system will suffer dearly and those issues in particular will impact Latina women more so than any other demographic group,” said Belia-Eugenia Ramos Bennett, American Canyon city councilmember.
At the end of the day, it is the best way for Latinos in California to make their voices heard, become a part of the solution, and help move the state forward.