'Movimiento Hispano' to Engage, Increase Latino and Millennial Voter Turnout for Midterm Elections
A coalition of Latino organizations has teamed up to relaunch a campaign aimed at mobilizing and educating Latinos for the midterm elections.
According to Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) Executive Director Hector Sanchez, civic engagement is the "heart" of critical issues in the U.S. LCLAA, along with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Hispanic Federation announced plans to focus on the increasing number of naturalized citizens in the country, register eligible voters, educate voters on "key Latino issues" and direct them to the voting booth. The campaign is known as "Movimiento Hispano."
"The Latino community has been under a serious attack in the last decade. On the one hand, we have anti-immigrant pieces of legislation, all over the nation, by the Republicans that are really affecting the quality of life of the Latino community, overall," said Sanchez, adding the White House's "obsession" with deportations has affected the lives of Latinos.
"Movimiento Hispano is about getting the basic element of democracy to the streets," Sanchez said. "We're going to be mobilizing all over the nation. We're going to make sure that we keep those politicians out that are anti-immigrant, anti-Latinos and anti-democracy, that are anti-all-the-basic-values of freedom."
The LCLAA executive director stated members of Congress — Democrat and Republican — and President Obama know they cannot get elected without the Latino vote.
Movimiento Hispano's goal is to get "historical numbers" of Latino turnout at voting locations. The campaign aims to register more than 52,000 Latino voters and mobilize over 100,000 Latino voters. The campaign will "send a very clear message" to Congress, according to Sanchez, to "stop the levels of extremism and attacks" toward the Latino community.
"The midterm [elections] are a difficult time for turnout for us. Presidential election cycles are easier, but this is a crucial midterm election. We have to make sure our voices are heard," LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes said.
Wilkes noted the partnerships will help focus coverage of Movimiento Hispano across the U.S. Sanchez said they have "strategically" concentrated their work on specific U.S. locations based on where the organizations are headquartered or have local councils.
LULAC National President Margaret Moran said, "If we don't vote, you know what, we're going to keep the same politicians where they are, and we cannot allow that. That is what's stopping this immigration reform from passing. We have the power, in our communities, in our members. ... We are going to allow [immigration reform] to happen by getting out there and getting our votes to get the right politicians elected."
When it comes to midterm elections, traditional voters are typically older citizens. Youth, or millennials, often avoid or forget the midterm elections since it doesn't include a presidential vote. Wilkes stated millennials are the "target market" for Movimiento Hispano.
LULAC's Civic Engagement and Community Mobilization Director Sindy Benavides said a Latino turns 18 years old every 30 seconds.
"What we're looking at is online mobilization," said Benavides, noting the campaign's website offers voter registration and social media engagement.
While voter drives, with a focus to initiate face-to-face contact, are another element aimed at attracting millennials, Benavides said, "There's nothing better than peer pressure. Having and making sure that the students among themselves are saying, 'Hey, why aren't you registered. You need to register.'"
"When you start a young voter off and they vote once, twice, three times in a row, you now have a lifetime voter, and that's really important to us," Wilkes said. "We need lifetime voters that are always going to vote at every single election."
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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