In the heart of Houston, where Latino representation has long...Read More
Following the recent midterm elections earlier this month in Texas, I recalled a conversation I had a decade ago with my late father when I was a candidate on the ballot, when he asked me to take him to the poll tax. Looking at him puzzled, I felt I was in a twilight moment, took a deep breath and told him I would be honored to drive him to go vote but long gone were the days that you had to pay to vote. How ominous that conversation would come to bear as we find ourselves today with the most marginalized and segregated legislation by the current lawmakers such as SB1(87th), multiple voting rights constraints, to limited polling places at college campuses, finally making it a felony to drive your abuelita to church under inhumane immigration legislation. And this is due to how diverse our population is becoming. Texas is now represented by Latinos at 40.2% and projections suggest the Hispanic population will increase to 21.5 million by 2050.
And however difficult it may be for Latinos and communities of color to register to vote and participate on election day, the power to change is greater. With the four metro cities in our state in the top ten list in the nation, the mighty team at Jolt has its work cut out in the near term but, we are betting on the long game. Conversations on apathy, fatigue and representation, or lack thereof are the drivers that keep staff in the trenches having daily conversations throughout the year. As a former elected office holder and financial advisor, strategizing with patience, preciseness and agility is a delicate balance and I am proud to work with staff where we are aligned on this vision. By doing 1% better every day, this focused approach and small daily improvements will add up overtime and have a compound effect.
Jolt has been on the ground contributing to the groundswell as the number of Latino registered voters increased from 21.4% to 30.1% in a little over a decade. Jolt is intentional and laser focused on the next generation of young civic leaders in the 18-32 year old demographic to disrupt the electorate cycle. This demographic has also seen an increase from 44% to 58% on the Latino youth vote between the last two presidential cycles which indicates there is desire for engagement and change.
But what really makes Jolt a trusted and household name is the investment in relationships. The ever evolving leadership programming resonates with our audience on issues important to their livelihood, safety and prosperity that range from stability and growth in careers, caring for our climate, healthcare, gun violence – these are real threats to our mental wellbeing and psyche. The storytelling through art creates a way to make an impact. Week after week Jolt leaders build relationships in the communities and college campuses to light a path to a new possibility. And through these actions, more Latinos are becoming increasingly informed and engaged in the political process to vote and run for elected office to change the face of democracy for a better Texas.
The storyline for Latino voting engagement begins long before election day- the rich conversations at backyard carne asada baptisms or at a rich cultural celebration to a Quince, a school graduation, or securing a dream job – the roots of these conversations bring an inclusivity and honors the sacrifices our ancestors made to pave a way. It reflects a holistic representation that mirrors these dreams and the timing with our younger generation could not be more pivotal at this juncture to provide a framework and partnership.
As I end the year, I am grateful for the resilience, confidence and impact the staff had on voter registration. Additionally, as we prepare for the presidential cycle, I invite you to join me as an investor for humanity by becoming a Madrina or Padrino Donate – Jolt Action (jolttx.org). Walk with us on this journey. It is our obligation and responsibility to to light a path to a representative democracy that will ignite a brighter and exciting future. •
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