Latinos are not the sleeping giant. They have the power to crush candidates or leaders that stand against their ideals.
Whether it’s a birthday party, Christmas or our Day of Independence, people from Latin American countries are always united, gathering with family or friends, and turning any celebration, even the smallest ones, into a party.
And it doesn’t matter either if we are not in our own country: we are always looking for reasons to get together, feel that warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts after sharing our favorite meal, or even hearing words in Spanish while being abroad. We love being together even when we are far away.
For work and personal reasons, I get to travel a lot. Every time I’m in another country and I tell people I’m Mexican, one of the first things they mention are either tequila, sombrero, food, fiesta, and also insecurity. And yes, that is part of Mexico, but we Mexicans are definitely more than that.
The same happens to people from other Latin American countries I’ve met: for instance, Colombians are associated to coffee, Shakira, and narcos; and Cubans are linked to music, cigars, and poverty. But of course, we all know that our friends in Colombia and Cuba are much more than that.
People from Latin American countries differ a lot from each other, but we are always seen as just one large community, as if we were all the same. Of course, we can’t deny that we share some cultural characteristics (like speaking the same language and having mothers that used “the chancla” as a very powerful weapon to make their children behave), but we want to be considered equally different. It might sound weird, but this diversity is the one thing that unites us all.
When speaking about the Latin American communities all over the United States, which counts more than 55 million of people, we must acknowledge that our voice hasn’t been represented effectively in social and political terms. This complex diverse nature makes it easier for people to group us all as one thing and not really understand that we are not the same.
It wasn’t until just recently when activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman of Latin American descent to win a primary for a seat in Congress, that it finally seemed like the voices of Hispanic and Latino communities will have a chance of being represented.
In the 2016 elections, we realized that we needed to defend our roots and our communities and strive for that equality that we all believe we have. With the upcoming midterm elections, young Latin American voters in the United States have the chance to make their voices heard and decide on the future not only of the country we are living in now, but also of our families, friends, and communities. So, what are you going to do about it?
Photo: Trent Yarnell
On July 20th, Cultura Colectiva will be participating in the “US Latino Vote and The Mexican Presidential Election” conference at the National Press Club in Washington. This discussion will be led by political and communication advisors to the top voter engagement campaigns during the Mexican elections, which generated a 70% voter turnout on July 1.
The event, organized by the strategic communications consulting and public policy group based in Washington, DC, Benitez Strategies, will also feature other political and communications consultants, such as Yadira Sánchez from “Mi Familia Vota”, a civil engagement organization that unites Latino communities through citizenship workshops and Roberto Trad, consultant to dozens of different level candidates across Latin America.
Cover photo: Ardian Lumi