Meeting the Moment in 2020
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO, Latino Community Foundation
2020. It’s a year that came with a double dose of pretty much everything. A double measure of pain. Shock. Brokenness. Death. Grief. Silence. Movements. Unrest. Time with loved ones. Virtual connections. Change.
A year that in all honesty no one could have predicted or imagined. So much for 2020 vision. In hindsight, not sure any one of us can fully grasp what just happened to us. But it did.
We’re left with the bruises, the scars, the scabs. The extra weight. And empty seats at the dinner table. We did our best. To survive. And live to tell it. We fought through the exhaustion, the numbness, the confusion, the anger, the doubts. There were days where we could see things clearly and speak of rebuilding in a post-covid world. A reimagining of a new economy. Equitable policies and systems that opened doors of opportunity for black and brown families who have carried the heaviest toll in 2020. With hope and anticipation, we’d log on to the first zoom meeting of the day. Strategized. Inspired. Planned. Grounded in purpose—the path forward was clear. After all, we were among the privilege ones (literally 1 out 5) that could work from home. But…by the seventh meeting of the day, we were burnt out—again. Hungry, tired, zoomed out. Left with little energy to execute. Left wondering: Will we make it out of this? But we did and we have.
Looking back now, we gave it all we’ve got. The Latino Community Foundation met the moment.
We made sure that the families that have kept us fed, who made it possible for us to stay at home, and work from home, had food on their plates and a roof over their heads. We advocated. Collaborated. Organized. And, demanded that state leaders prioritize the most marginalized families—regardless of their citizenship status. We got answers—and a $125M fund to support immigrant families.
We pressed forward. Pivoted and continued the hustle. This time to ensure a fair and accurate census. We led a social media and billboard campaign—and reached 31M people. Regions like San Joaquin have the highest response rates—and we are proud to have been part of the success.
Once more, we mobilized. We texted. We phone banked. We zoomed house parties. All of it to get Latinos to vote. And we delivered. Across the state and nation, Latinos turned out in record numbers. In California, a record setting 80% of registered voters turned out. Over 50% of 18-29 year-old youth cast their ballots. While we didn’t get all we hoped for, the black and brown coalitions that were built in support of Propositions 15 and 16 cannot be undone. And so, we build from this place. Considering the margin of loss (4% for Prop 15) and a campaign spending $117M to defeat the cause, there’s evidence of hope. At the end of the day young people organized and showed up. And… that’s what matters most. A civically engaged generation will lead to a more just and representative democracy. We can and will build from this place of strength.
To top it off, we used our voice, networks, and platforms to push for a Latino/a U.S Senator, inform a Latino Prosperity Agenda for California, and urge state leaders to invest in Latino-owned small businesses. We landed over 100 media hits and hosted 25 grounding events. Together with our Latino Giving Circle Network, we created spaces where people felt heard, seen, loved, and connected. It’s what LCF does—and in the midst of a world turned upside down, we landed on our feet because we led with our hearts.
We will build from this rubble that is 2020. Finding strength in what we know is true: the human spirit has been created to outlast moments like this one.
Yes, we are tired. Zoomed out. Overweight. But we are steady. We can see glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. Together, we made our way through the darkness and we met the moment with courage.