By: Samuel Molina, California Sate Deputy Director, Mi Familia Vota.
Tell us about Mi Familia Vota and why your work is important? Mi Familia Vota is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to promote and increase civic participation among Latinos. We do this by promoting citizenship, increasing voter registration, participation and education. This is very important because we, Latinos are an important part of our nation. Our civic leadership and participation is critical. Latinos have the power to elect our next president.
How would you describe your mission in one sentence? We build political power for the Latino community by mobilizing Latinos to vote and to become lifelong advocates.
How do you motivate Latino (youth & adults) to register to vote? We really try to bring the message close to home when we meet with Latinos. We make it personal, about people and about families. We discuss the need for Latinos to be involved and how voting can change their lives and our community. We discuss political issues that matter to them and their livelihood: issues such as water quality, immigration, jobs, the environment, healthcare, education and many other topics that affect them.
What is the opportunity in the Central Valley, specifically in Fresno? There are currently over 100,000 Fresnans that need to be registered to vote before the next presidential election. Mi Familia Vota’s Fresno team has a goal to register 6,000 voters before that. Recent funding support we received from Latino Community Foundation Giving Circles will help us do that!
Millennials make up almost half of Latino eligible voters in 2016. Do you think they will show up to the polls? Yes, I believe they will show up to the polls. Millennials are starting to understand the power of being involved. They can create policies that impact the future of our communities, and improve the lives of their parents, their tios. Many Latino youth in the Cental Valley have parents whom are Campesinos. They see and feel the direct effects of climate change and its immediate impact on jobs.
Do you use any online platforms to register people? Yes, we use Facebook and Twitter to motivate and encourage our community to vote. We also have our own website, mifamiliavota.org, where visitors can register to vote via TurboVote. It’s very fast and easy, making the registration process very convenient.
Is social media a good organizing tool or is face to face, door to door still the most effective strategy? Social media has its benefits, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting with members of the community. It is the only way you can really draw someone in and get them engaged. Also, it provides us with a unique opportunity to passionately express what we do and why it is so important. We want people to join us.
What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is helping others. I am grateful for the opportunity to educate my community. I can help my neighbors navigate the system and help them to understand that they too, can make a difference in our community. Once people feel empowered to make a difference, they are unstoppable. As Cesar Chavez once said, “The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.”
How can we help? As of today, we have 231 day, 6 hours, and 28 minutes left before the election. We have a lot of work to do and we need your help. Join us. Get involved. Help inspire our community to exercise our political power.
To learn more about our work, visit: www.mifamiliavota.org
You can reach me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org