Recalling my fond memories of growing up in a small border town in Eagle Pass brings to mind the strong women who helped shape my life. Where I grew up there were limited academic and economic growth opportunities to do what I dreamt of- becoming a champion for education and a voice of democracy for others, so I thank the women who paved the way- especially during Women’s History Month.
Seeing my mother and how she toiled and stretched a dollar like clockwork to keep the household running like a smooth ship, taught me discipline and vision. It taught me how to plan, collaborate and execute to bring solutions that make a lasting impact.
My maternal grandmother migrated from Mexico in the 1940s to make a better life through hard work and took a risk with no guarantees. She didn’t have representation of public leaders to help build policies and legislation that included her. The arduous process and society’s sentiment must have been an uphill battle, to say the least.
And now, two generations later, progress is made.
I joined Jolt late last year and have the privilege and honor to work with a team whose purpose and mission is of empowering Latinos to use their voice and votes to build a better, brighter future for all Texans. As the state becomes more geographically diverse with Latinos now the emerging majority, and a Latino turning eighteen every 30 seconds, it is essential, now more than ever, to build a strong foundation of engagement and inclusivity on voter registration, leadership programming and ultimately to vote. Young Latinos by sheer numbers have the power to transform Texas through the power of their vote
Yet as simple as that may sound, we must find a breakthrough in the “why” factor of why should I vote or it won’t make a difference because for far too long people have not seen representation in key positions. However, through leadership programs at Jolt like Levantate Y Lucha, Poder Quince, Artists in Residence and Arriba las Mujeres, we aim to build relationships rather than transactional experiences, knowing when to be tactical to get to the small yet significant wins and work long term to strategically bring long-lasting change. Our democracy is stronger when everyone has a seat at the table and we use the power of art, culture and storytelling to frame positive narratives about Latinos in Texas.
I am appreciative of the commitment and dedication of the women at Jolt- from the organizers throughout the state to the leadership team, who are role models who stay rooted in our promise to our ancestors while bringing passion to their craft. It is with this power, we harness change through conversations and building trust in the community. No one day is the same and that is what makes Jolt exciting!
Let’s be mindful to celebrate the small wins on a daily basis and join the movement with us to build a Texas that is inclusive, dynamic and diverse. Thank you for being a part of our journey. Be sure to sign up for regular updates.
Hon. Diana Maldonado
Interim Executive Director at Jolt Action