The Best is Yet to Come
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO, Latino Community Foundation
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
In just a few days, we will bid farewell to another decade. A decade that began on the heels of a historic victory for the first Black President of our Nation. It was a victory for a campaign built on a message of Hope and Change—or as Former President Obama would claim: the Audacity of Hope for Change. As we draw near the end of this decade, it may appear at first glance that we have taken a sharp turn and regressed to a nation torn apart by racism, gripped by fear, and hollowed out of factual truth. But, if we look deeper and closer, what we will find is a resurgence of a nation built on civic leadership—a return to the basic principles that have held our democracy together for 243 years. Across the country and state, there is a visible awakening of civic participation and political engagement. From the halls of our high schools, the side streets of our neighborhoods, and the corners of our homes, young people, mothers, children are urging us to pay attention, step up, and lead. A resounding call for action and crying out for justice has permeated some of the most unlikely places and demanded we wake up from our stupor induced by apathy.
This civic awakening is evident in the historic turnouts of the 2018 midterm elections, the steady increase of new voter registrations, and an unprecedented number of people of color running for local, state, and federal office. This wave of change didn’t happen overnight. It has been set in motion by years—if not decades—of grassroot organizing by community and church leaders. These grassroots organizations—many of them led by people of color—continue to do their work despite the challenges and limited resources. And, today they are beginning to see the fruits of their labor.
From the Inland Empire to the Bay Area, groups like Power California, North Bay Organizing Project and TODEC Legal Center have registered thousands of Latino youth and first-time voters. This is why the work of the Latino Community Foundation has been so critical in the state of California. As the only statewide foundation solely focused on investing in Latino-led organizations, we have made steady progress in unleashing the civic and economic power of Latinos. And we are just getting started.
Over the past four years, LCF has invested nearly $6 million in grants to 155 organizations focused on building civic leadership and economic opportunities. Through their work these organizations are raising up a generation of leaders with a clear purpose and determination to fulfill their civic duty. Our most recent poll conducted by Latino Decisions shed light on what this could potentially translate into in 2020—with 74% of respondents saying they are certain they will vote in the March 3rd Primary.
It is in this context that we set out with renewed hope and anticipation to reap a new harvest of change, prosperity, and progress in the decade ahead. We are armed with an audacity of hope that change is possible—because we are the change we long to see in our country. Committed citizens resolute on paying forward the grace and opportunities afforded to us—and pressing on until the moral arc bends towards justice and equity.
The best is yet to come. See you in 2020!