We Decide (The Latino Vote in 2012)

Recently, I was interviewed by Lindsay Ferrier from The Stir. The segment is titled Florida's Unpredictable Latina Vote. One of the things that impacted me the most was to hear someone in that interview state that they might not vote at all.  It reminded me of some of the points I made in my previous post about voting.

So imagine how excited I was to learn that nuvoTV is having the first ever Latino town hall special called We Decide: Speak up & Make a Difference.  I think that everyone needs to watch this, not just Latinos.

I recently heard that a great number of people (not just Latinos) don't know who our government representatives are. Yet, we are expecting these same people to turn out and vote come November! It looks like we are going to have to do some cramming.  We can't complain about the state of the union if we don't know who is involved in making decisions and we certainly can't make educated voting decisions if we don't even know who is in the race.  It's so much more than just the presidential election.  If you are unsure as to who represents you, go to Who Is My Representative and find out! Then get to know them and what they stand for.

It is shocking to me to see these numbers:

  • Eligible Whites who votes – 66%
  • Eligible African Americans who voted – 65%
  • Eligible Latinos who voted – 50%

With so many people in the world still fighting (and dying) to be able to speak freely and vote, it is difficult to swallow these numbers. Granted, a lot of people say that it is also their right not to vote. I don't necessarily agree. This is a democracy and we each have a responsibility to contribute to the running of our government. How else are we going to do it if we don't take part in the vote? I guess not voting is a way to do it but, is that really doing any good?

The important topics for me are those that a lot in the community are discussing: education, jobs and healthcare.  With 4.4 million African American and 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, I can't think of a more important subject. Except maybe education (which for me, directly impacts the poverty level).  Forty one percent of Latinos and 23% of African Americans over 20 have no high school diploma.  These issues need to be addressed.

I can write about them day in and day out but if we don't ensure that we are voting in November then it's not going to change. Like I said, this isn't just about the presidential election. Be mindful about the local races as well. School districts, state senate, etc.  These are all important roles and we need to have a voice in who is in office.

I will be tuning in to this premier tomorrow. I'm at a point where I want to know what I can do to mobilize more of you out there who either are undecided or have perhaps decided not to vote in this election.  It is so important. It's not just about you or I.

My little girl will be affected by this vote and when I think about it from that perspective, it ignites me into wanting to spread the word or do anything that is within my grasp to ensure that voter turn out is its highest this coming November.

Tell me, are you voting? What topics are important to you and what can you do to ensure others around you vote as well?

A little about We Decide: Premiering on nuvoTV on Aug. 19 at 8PM, the We Decide Latino town hall special will be moderated by award-winning journalist Natalie Morales and will feature a panel of high-profile experts who will engage with a live audience and other virtual participants connecting through social media platforms. The hour-long program will explore how the presidential candidates are addressing issues specific to America's Latinos, including unemployment, healthcare and education.

Disclosure: Disclose that your post is compensated and in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and nuvoTV. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mami the Vote!

I recently received a note (which of course now I can't find anywhere to show you guys) regarding my status as a registered voter. I have moved in the last year but it was within the same county and I checked that box when I got my new drivers license. So I have no idea why I received that note. But, with everything going on to suppress the vote in Florida, I didn't want to take a chance. I checked my voter registration and will continue to check it in the coming weeks.  Voting is VERY important to me.

I came to this country a month before my 5th birthday. I consider myself an American but had to get naturalized in order to be recognized as one. Which wasn't an issue (though, hello? I was afraid my American Government classes didn't prepare me to be grilled like that). But I remember being in college, not yet naturalized, and unable to vote. Most of you have no idea what that feels like. To be so invested in a land where you do not get to participate in what ultimately happens to you.

So many people actually CHOOSE to not vote. It's such a weird concept for me. Why would you not want to participate in the election of the people that run your government?  Perhaps I have a different perspective because I remember a time when I could not do so.

As a naturalized citizen, you receive a booklet with your rights and responsibilities as a citizen. I wish we made that available to everyone at all times. I think you definitely should get one when you turn 18.  As we get closer to the election, you'll hear me talking about "Mami the Vote". Here's the thing: I don't care how you vote (okay, maybe I do a little) but what I do care about A LOT is you voting, period.

And ensuring that your vote isn't suppressed is a part of that. Don't just sit back and expect or think that everything is okay. Don't wait for someone to contact you if something is wrong.  Each state/county has a place where you can go to check your voter registration.  You can also do it on this site.  You have to get this done 30 days before an election and with primaries right around the corner, time is of the essence.  If you go to Can I Vote, you also get additional information as to what to bring when you go to vote.  Don't think that because you are Joe Smith and have voted for the last 12 elections you can waltz in without proper identification as required by your state. Don't take anything for granted.

I wanted to share the oath I took when I became a citizen and I hope that today, you'll "renew the vows", so to speak, as a citizen of these great United States:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

What does "Mami the Vote" mean? Seriously? I'm trying to define it right now.  I think for me, it means that we nurture and support the vote. That we take action in our communities to help one another.  Perhaps by reaching out to those that can't make it to the polls and providing a ride or simply asking someone if they've double checked to make sure that they are registered to vote.  I want to make sure my rights as a voter (and yours) are protected and I have to take that responsibility upon myself in order to make that happen.

I think this country grows and changes in the hands of everyone but especially women and more specifically mothers.  After all, I think we know how to deal with politicians better than most people, don't you think? After having had the frog princess leave me a small solid non-precious stone in the bath the other day I realized I can clean anything up! How about you?

Are you registered to vote? Do you know where your polling station is and what identification to bring with you to the polls?