In the climate of the times that we are in right now, I believe that this election will have implications for generations to come. This election is about much more than opportunity — lives are literally at stake. It is not an exaggeration to say that the safety and well-being of our loved ones and ourselves is at stake. Ultimately, this election is a referendum on the very identity of the United States of America.
We cannot afford to stay home or abstain, however conflicted we might feel. I hear you. I am in a similar place with many of my millennial peers, however, not voting is absolutely not an option on this one. This vote will define what the future will look like for our families, our communities, and our country. This vote will further a lineage of revolutionary engagement and a reckoning with both who we are and aspire to be as a nation. We need every single one of us to show up.
I am embarking on a tour of college campuses across the country and will meet thousands of young Latinos who I hope to share this message with between now and November. This is an urgent call to action. Not voting this November will mean that all the sacrifices of those who came before us was done in vain. Nothing should make us angrier than not being heard.
During this college tour, I will be partnering with Voto Latino to challenge young people who suggest “my vote doesn’t count” or “it takes too long to register.”
During Latinx heritage month, which runs from September 15 – October 15, we are rallying the Latino community and beyond to vote, moving from simply celebrating our heritage to building our political power and becoming agents of change. And through VoterPal, a free voter registration app for iOS and Android, Voto Latino has dramatically cut the time it takes to fill out a voter registration form by simply snapping your ID. Download it and see for yourself. Saying “it takes too long” is no longer a valid excuse.
When there are 27.3 million Latinos eligible to vote in 2016, we have to demand that we be heard. But, don’t vote just because I told you to.
When you vote, you’re not voting just for yourself. Vote so that your parents may earn a livable wage. Vote to help end mass incarceration and police brutality. Vote for the millions forced to go to other countries for safe and quality health care. Vote for the undocumented youth who face the unfulfilled promise of America every day of their lives. Do it for them.
Also, vote for those courageous activists who fought for this right and for the generations to come who will feel the consequences of this election if we are silent.
The stakes are too high and the consequences are dire. But first you need to register to vote at www.votolatino.org. If you’re already registered, then please register your family and friends, or register at one of my college stops. Make sure your voice is so loud on November 8 that our community cannot be ignored.