The toxic rhetoric that has been hurled at Latinos and other minorities in recent months has galvanized the community to fight back with the power of our vote. At the NCLR Latino Voter Summit in Washington, DC, nearly 250 Latino advocates from 25 states, DC, and Puerto Rico spent two days learning tools and developing strategies to ensure our collective voice is heard at the polls in November.
To tackle the biggest problems before us, it is of paramount importance that our community understands what those problems are, why they exist, and how we can fix them. It starts with fostering an engaged community that values the power of the vote.
Two major issues discussed at the event were administrative relief and payday lending reform. At the Summit, NCLR immigration and economic policy analysts briefed the advocates to help them better understand these complex issues. Attendees also took these strategies to Capitol Hill, where they educated members of Congress and their staff on how administrative relief and payday lenders impact millions of Latinos across the country.
— Marisabel (@marisabel81) March 9, 2016
— NCLR (@NCLR) March 9, 2016
NCLR has also recruited a cohort of leaders from the Affiliate Network to serve as Latino Vote Fellows, agents of change who will mobilize the community leading up to the election. At the Summit, these fellows guided their state delegations in nearly 100 meetings with their representatives in Congress to advocate on behalf of their communities. In addition, the Latino Vote Fellows will also engage Latinos in their home communities through voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts.
— Clarissa Martinez (@CMartinezDC) March 9, 2016
Before Hill visits began on the second day of the Summit, three community leaders from Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania joined Senator Bob Menendez to give the perspective of the Latino electorate in their states.
“It’s important to talk about the impact we’re having as Latinos nationally, but we must also make sure our community is involved and engaged at the local level so that we can raise, and most importantly resolve, the concerns that affect the places where we live, work, and raise our families,” said Michael Toledo, Executive Director of Centro Hispano in Reading, Pennsylvania. His organization has been engaging Latino voters in the electoral process all the way down to school board elections.
— NCLR (@NCLR) March 10, 2016
The Latino Voter Summit was a great success and just the beginning of what to expect from Latino voters as this election year is kicked into high gear. While you may not have been able to join us in Washington for the event, that does not mean you can’t engage your own communities. But before you do anything else, make sure that you’re registered to vote. You can do that right from your phone with Latinos Vote, our brand new app. You can also go to the NCLR website to find out more about how you can get involved. Tell your friends and family, too. Help us make sure the Latino voice is heard loud and clear on Election Day.
— NCLR (@NCLR) February 4, 2016