A Latino Icon who Transcended Boundaries

juan gabriel

Like so many of you, I grew up listening and singing the lyrics of timeless songs by the legendary, music genius Juan Gabriel. Songs like Querida, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, y Así Fué are cemented in my heart and soul. The sudden news of his death yesterday was heartbreaking.

Juan Gabriel’s music transcended generations, race, and class boundaries–his songs were played at children’s birthday parties and the wedding anniversaries of retirees. His songs united us in times of joy and heartbreak. He was a genius, a legend among legends. In his 45-year career, Juan Gabriel sold more than 100 million records. He penned songs across genres and styles–including rancheras with mariachi, ballads, and pop. El Divo de Juarez, Juan Gabriel led Billboard magazine’s Top Latin Albums charts five times in just the past 18 months!

As one Latina news anchor put it, “we lost our Prince, our Bowie, our Elton John” in one day.

He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

To all of our volunteers who signed up to be part of the voter registration drive at his concert in Fresno, we will be in touch with you with more information on what we can do together to honor our great, legendary Juan Gabriel.

With heavy hearts,

Jacqueline and the LCF Family





LCF and NextGen Launch Campaign to Mobilize Latino Vote

Yo Voy A Voter campaign image

The Latino Community Foundation has joined forces with NextGen California and Latin Life to register a record number of Latinos for the 2016 Election. Join us!

Yo Voy a Votar ¿Y Tú? (I Will Vote. And You?) is a multi-media campaign that seeks to amplify the power of the Latino vote in this election.

Yo Voy a Votar ¿Y Tú? will kick off voter registration drives at four popular concerts in targeted Latino communities. LCF has partnered with three grassroots Latino organizations (SIREN, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, and Mi Familia Vota) to recruit, train and deploy 100 bilingual canvassers to register Latino voters at four popular concerts that reach 15,000 people each. Our goal is to outreach to 1M Latinos and to register 10,000 Latinos to vote.

The concert outreach series provides a unique and direct opportunity for bilingual Latinos to activate their own community. Using the power of social media, LCF will also engage Latinos in sharing their reasons for why they plan to vote. Long term, LCF’s goal is to build a culture of civic engagement among Latinos, ensuring that Latinos play a vital role in our democracy.

VOLUNTEER Register Latinos at these four concerts!
We are looking for committed bilingual volunteers to help register concert attendees during four upcoming concerts. This will be a full-day commitment. Click here to learn more!
COLLABORATE Write an article for our Blog!
Want to share your thoughts on why voting matters to you? Collaborate with LCF and write a blog post! Contact Anna Gagliuffi at agagliuffi@latinocf.org
CONNECT Share why you are voting!
Tell us why you are voting! Use the hashtag #LatinosVote to share your story with our community.
VOTE Commit and show up to the polls!
Register to vote and commit to showing up at the polls on November 8th. Make sure you and your family are represented in this important election year.

Click here to learn more about the campaign!

“Civic participation is the cornerstone of any democracy,” says Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, “Latinos have the opportunity—and some would say the responsibility—as the largest Latino voting bloc in California to lead the way.”

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Yo Voy a Votar ¿Y Tú?



By: Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO, Latino Community Foundation

There are 89 days before Americans elect the 45th Commander-in-Chief. The thought of this day may bring feelings of excitement, fear, frustration or hope. But there is one feeling we cannot afford to have: apathy.

Civic participation is the cornerstone of any democracy. The U.S. lags behind most of its peer countries — landing 31 amongst the 35 most developed democratic countries. In 2012, voter turnout was 53% in the US. For Latinos, it was a disturbing 17%.

If the contentious and polemical headlines have not convinced you that there is an urgent need for Latinos —and all Americans— to Get Out The Vote; then let me offer three reasons for you to consider.

This election is bigger than any one personality. This election is not about Trump or Clinton. The next four to eight years will determine whether or not this country lives up to the ideals and values that the Nation was founded on. Put aside the divisive rhetoric, misinformation, misrepresentation, or ill-informed tweets, the next President of the United States will appoint at least one, if not four, Supreme Court Judges. With key issues related to our economy, immigration policies, climate change, and gun control – it is more important than ever that our voices are heard. So if you care about our Nation’s Future… Vote!

Our democracy depends on our participation. At a national level, every 30 seconds a Latino citizen turns 18 and becomes eligible to vote. In 2016, there will be 27 million Latino voters in this country — nearly 12% of all eligible voters in the U.S. With the size and the growing number of eligible voters, Latinos have the power to influence the direction of our country-and safeguard our democracy for generations to come.  California may not be a swing state, but we have the opportunity (and some would say the responsibility) as the largest Latino voting bloc, to lead the way. So if you care about our Democracy… Vote!

Important measures on California’s 2016 ballot. If your reaction to the election cycle is “well neither of the candidates represent my personal views or values.” Then consider this: there are 17 ballot measures that will greatly impact the prospective future of California’s education, healthcare, and criminal justice system. For example, SB1174 will repeal Proposition 227 and allow school districts to decide whether they want to bring back bilingual education. Proposition 57, will allow parole consideration for people convicted for non-violent felonies and determine whether young people at the age of 14 and older should be prosecuted and sentenced as adults. So if you care about the future of our youth in California… Vote!

I started by saying that the only emotion we cannot afford to have is apathy. I want to conclude by saying that there is one emotion we should all have: hope.

Whether you are eligible to vote or not, remember that this country was founded on the ideals that every person is created equal. We have a lot of work to do to make this ideal a reality for every individual that calls this nation ‘Home’. Yet, what makes this country great is the possibility that equality can be attained! And, every step we have made to get closer to this ideal has required action from ordinary people —like you and me— to be part of something greater than ourselves.

Let us honor the sacrifice of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors. Let us protect the dreams of our sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews — and VOTE!

And, if you can’t vote yet — organize, inform, help register your friends, neighbors, and the family members that can.

Whatever you do — TAKE ACTION!


Tu Eres Mi Familia

tamia smile

Tamia Romo, Youth Speaks 

I am five years old
the smell of refried beans and tortillas
is the closest thing I know to heavenly
it is another Sunday morning in the Romo house
which means it’s time for Misa
now before I can throw my fists into the air
In protest
my Abuela is all cast iron grip on my small wrist

today we walk the extra 15 minutes
it takes to the chiseled white steps of the church
sitting at its feet is Pedro asking for
whatever kindness our pockets will allow this day of praise

he smells of neglect

from both mother earth and father time
called this conception of him poverty
his hands cup the air like to crescent moons
Coming together for a kiss
All to make one holy basket
my Abue reaches into the patterned pouches of her mantel
places a few pesos in the soft brown palms of my hands
we do not exchange words
the reflection of Pedro in her cataract amber eyes
says it all
It is the same look she gives my papa
As his hands rip through
The home made conchas she spends hours making
mirrored by the soft hope billowing from the beds of her cheeks in the way she smiles at me

As assimilation jackhammers its way through the maze that used to be my language
I swear it must be something in the way the sun has rubbed wisdom across her face
All of these phases in the orbit of her life echo one thing
“Tu eres mi familia”
And in a that moment I realize once again she is staring at Pedro
I walk over timidly
knees bumping into one another like two angry cousins
I place the money into his hands
he smiles, tells me to have a blessed day

I’m 18 now
And I believe this is the first lesson
my grandmother taught me on how to be a Latina
I have seen this tenderness hopscotch its way across all of the faces I call family
Maria who has six kids still donate to the church
Sonia volunteers to help feed the poor
Maestra Leti who taught my whole third-grade class the importance of our roots

We the descendants of the sun
always brimming with potential
always bursting with warmth
we shine not for ourselves but for each other
In hopes that new growth will sprout
Out of every generation
that follows our own

Children of brown soil
that has seen empires bloom and burst
we know resilience
we know community
we know support
we know we still have work to do not only when the sun rises
but when it simmers down into slumber
But most of all we know
“Tu eres mi familia”
Like it is the birthplace
Of all of our mother tongues