Vote! Vote! Vote! Everybody should register and vote! It’s your right as a U.S. citizen! Bring your abuelas, bring your tios, and bring your amigos to the voting booth! We can’t get what we want if we don’t vote!
This message echoed in the University-Student-Union Theatre on September 22 during the Red, White, Y Tu event, hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI). Guests and speakers filled the front two rows, with several students sitting in the back.
Presentations and performances were given by Manuel Abud, President & CEO of Azteca America; Jenny Lorenzo, Award winning personality host; Dorian Caal, Director of Civic Engagement at National Council of La Raza (NCLR); Nathalie Rayes, Board Member of CHLI; Neri Martinez, Future Majority Project Director at Republican State Leadership Committee; Sharis Delgadillo, freelance journalist; Armando Guzman, correspondent of Azteca America; and Allyson Osorio, Civic Engagement Strategist at NCLR. A few others jumped in the conversation in regards to motivating more people in the Latino community to vote.
The speakers were energetic and passionate about the subject, their reasoning and methods were clear, straightforward, and traditional. Most of the audience knew each other and were very supporting of the speakers. Many claimed to be activists and encouraged Latinos to get more involved in politics.
Millennials were also the targeted audience for their advocacy work. According to their slideshow, “Hispanic millennials will account for 44% of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters projected for 2016, a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters.”
However, when asked what their plan was to restore faith in politics from the large group of Hispanic millennials who endorsed Bernie Sanders and refused to vote when he lost, none of the representatives responded with any acknowledgment of or strategy to engage this group.
“[Sanders’] strategy was to ask his voters to place their votes on Hillary Clinton, and from there to continue to lobby, to pressure,” Sharis Delgadillo, activist and journalist, shared her insights on this situation. “If you are still unsatisfied with any of the party candidates, then go out there and be a candidate yourself. All I can really say is to stay with your moral compass. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.”
Armando Guzman was a correspondent for Azteca America, and he reminded the audience to register to vote not only in Presidential elections, but also for local government, the Congress, various issues and Propositions. The importance is to get involved politically and take things into your own hands.
The phrase “Voting is the bare minimum” was emphasized numerous times during the forum.
The Red, White, Y Tu tour will continue on with their next stop to the University of Texas at San Antonio.