In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill that changed the course for voter registration in our state. Now, eligible citizens are automatically registered to vote when they receive a driver’s license or state ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), making California the second state in the nation to implement automatic voter registration.
Governor Brown’s 2015 law is a significant one. According to a January 2016 report from the University of California Davis Center for Regional Change, Latinos are projected to be 24.2% of California’s 2016 vote. Yet, statistically Latinos come out to vote at lower rates than Blacks and Whites. In the U.S. Census Bureau from the 2014 midterm elections only 27% of eligible Latinos compared with 46% of eligible Whites voted.
Luckily, there many organizations that are working tirelessly to educate and authentically engage our communities in the civic process. To celebrate the outstanding work done by some of these Latino-based organizations, today we are featuring our 2016 LCF and Latino Giving Circle funded 2016 Civic Engagement Grantees.
1. NORTH BAY ORGANIZING PROJECT
The North Bay Organizing Project unites diverse leaders to build leadership and grassroots power for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. They work directly with citizens, connecting with congregations, environmentalists, neighborhood organizations, young Latino professionals, and the community at large. They know that no matter how hard people work, without organizing for structural change the conditions that keep them poor will continue.
Campaign/program to watch: The North Bay Organizing Project 6th annual Public Meeting is on October 16, 2016. Public Meetings are when local leaders unite and demonstrate their people power. Check out their website for upcoming events. Learn more about North Bay Organizing Project here.
SIREN empowers low-income immigrants and refugees in Santa Clara County through community education and organizing, leadership development, policy advocacy and naturalization services. They believe that all people regardless of legal status or nationality are entitled to essential services, human dignity, basic rights and protections, and access to full participation in society.
Campaign/program to watch: Multi-ethnic Immigrant Community Organizers is an immigrant leadership development program that educates and organizes immigrants on state and federal issues. Leaders are responsible for organizing and engaging their ethnic community base. Know your rights/Conozca sus derechos workshop on April 20, 2016, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Gilroy Library. At this workshop you can learn about your immigration rights and options. Check out their upcoming community organizing events. Learn more about SIREN here.
3. MI FAMILIA VOTA
Mi Familia Vota unites the Latino community and its allies to promote social and economic justice through increased civic participation. They envision a future in which the electorate is energized and empowered, and reflective of the growing diversity in the United States. They work with community based, educational, religious, labor, and other organizations that seek to build civically cognizant and active neighborhoods.
Campaign/program to watch: Today, Mi Familia Vota is remotely connecting with the community through a very fast and easy way for you to register to vote. Check out TurboVote and sign up! Click here to read an LCF interview with Samuel Molina, California State Deputy Director in Fresno. Learn more about Mi Familia Vota here.
4. MOBILIZE THE IMMIGRANT VOTE
Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) is a California statewide alliance that is advancing the broader movement for justice by building the power of low-income New Americans. MIV works with communities whose members often speak primary languages other than English and are new or occasional voters. With this in mind, they raise up the voices, values, and priorities of immigrant and refugee through culturally appropriate campaigns and narratives in their own languages, which resonate with their histories and lived experiences.
MIV is anchored by five core partner organizations, including these powerful Latino-based organizations: Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN).
Campaign/program to watch: In 2015, through their two-pronged Keeping Families Together and Thriving campaign, MIV Alliance members spoke to over 20,500 New American immigrant and refugee voters in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and English in 15 counties across California. Read more about Mobilize the Immigrant Vote here.
5. SF RISING ALLIANCE
SF Rising is a vibrant young electoral alliance that builds political power of SF’s working class. Their members represent the rising majority of the city – low income and working class communities – who contribute to the wealth and unique beauty of this city but have not benefited from its prosperity. They are building a long-term vision for the city by uniting African American, Latino, Chinese and Filipino leaders to create a new, community-based political infrastructure capable of running and winning sophisticated electoral operations. SF Rising includes other powerful Latino-based organizations such as: CAUSA JUSTA :: JUST CAUSE ; MUJERES UNIDAS Y ACTIVAS (MUA); PODER; and LA COLECTIVA DE MUJERES;
Campaign/program to watch: Check out their 2015 endorsements here and look out for their endorsements in this upcoming election cycle. SF Rising is currently hiring a Political Director to develop and implement SFR’s strategy vision through campaign and policy work. You can be the visionary to set the campaigns and programs to watch. Read more about San Francisco Rising here.
6. LATINA COALITION OF SILICON VALLEY
Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley (LCSV) provides Latinas with civic engagement and leadership development opportunities in Silicon Valley. LCSV identifies and heightens awareness about issues that disproportionately affect the Latino community through educational forums, lectures, workshops and events. LCSV is committed to mobilize, empower and unleash leadership among young adults through the ELLA program.
Campaign/program to watch: Engaged Latina Leadership Activist (ELLA) Program. The ELLA Program is a 6-month leadership program created to help young Latinas between the ages of 19-26 learn and gain leadership and civic engagement skills through a series of professional activities, resources, and mentoring. Read more about Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley here.
These Latino-led organizations are working to educate, register and organize our diverse communities to get out the vote. Most importunately, they are working to build long-lasting community power and organizing infrastructure. Please consider making a direct donation to these important Latino-based organizations. Your investment will go a long way.
Who would have made your list? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @LatinoCommFdn