By Jessica Salinas, LCF Communications Fellow, Los Angeles
When Clara came to Pomona, California with her family from Michoacan, Mexico as a child, she experienced injustice first hand. Throughout her school years, she dealt with racism from classmates, and although she learned everything she knew in the United States and had every intention of going to college, her senior year of high school reality set as she found out that it would be virtually impossible as she was undocumented. The door was shut in her face.
That’s why last night Clara volunteered her Friday night with the Latino Community Foundation and Mi Familia Vota to register Latino voters. “I want people to take advantage of the opportunity I didn’t have. A lot of people are scared, and they don’t believe they can make a difference,” she said.
Clara is dedicated to changing that mindset by coming out and helping inform the Latino community on the power of voting – locally and nationally.
She’s not alone.
Stephanie, an aspiring lawyer and political science major at Santa Monica College, also dedicated her Friday evening to register Latino voters outside of the Microsoft Theater during the Marc Anthony Concert in Los Angeles.
“I’m out here because I really care about the Latino vote. There are so many Latinos in our country, but not enough go out to vote,” she said. In California only 17% of all eligible Latinos are expended to vote. “There are also many undocumented Latinos that we should be supporting by going out to vote.”
Stephanie has a special connection to this cause. She has lived with a constant fear of her parents being deported. She remembers being cautious of speaking Spanish in certain areas of LA for fear of people questioning that they belonged. As she grew up, she began to attend rallies pushing for immigrants rights. She became empowered to make a difference for her family and others. That’s why this year, volunteering for civic engagement campaigns was a no-brainer.
“Registering voters is very important in our community. You never know how many registrations you’re going to get. But I feel like I have a bigger reason to be here. Even helping to spread the message of why voting matters is very important,” Stephanie exclaimed.
To join Stephanie and Clara in registering to vote, go to www.latinos-vote.com or text LATINOS to 384-387 to register! It only takes a few minutes.