In my 10+ years living in Atlanta, as a Latina, I had never experienced the determination, courage and push we had this year to get the vote out.
it needs to be said that while Governor Nathan Deal did indeed appoint the first Latina and first Hispanic immigrant in his administration to the Board of Corrections (Mrs. Rocio Woody) and recently Mr. Rene Diaz to the Board of Economic Development in a significant gesture of diversity and inclusion of our community; I have yet to meet a Republican canvaser, liaison or community activist that reached out to Latinos in Georgia and asked for their vote.
On the other side of the spectrum, we had dedicated Democrat organizers working to educate citizens on the process, encourage them to vote and facilitate the execution of their privilege and right by providing transportation, call lines, for those finding challenges to get to their polling places.
Even after all this effort, Republicans won across the state by large margins. What does it mean for us Latinos/Hispanics as a community?
My take is that the work is just starting. Our community was (and still is) angry with years of broken immigration promises. Like someone said on a social networking site: “Even the most loving and committed girlfriend starts doubting after 8 years of only promises and no action”. Our community in Georgia as a transitional state is also a young and unexperienced in political matters. Still, every month, 70,000 individuals become eligible and in no time our numbers won’t be ignored anymore.
The work Antonio Molina, Camilo Caballero, Clara Puerta, Brenda Lopez and so many others did was not in vain. THOUSANDS of citizens (and future citizens) are now aware of their power, and for the first time either voted or became engaged in the process. I count myself as one in both categories.
We all have our political preferences and that is healthy. The most important thing as a community is that we have our voice heard by voting, by speaking out, by joining committees, by volunteering for the causes we value the most. That is what I plan to do and for that opportunity, I am grateful.