Our country is on the brink of a historical midterm election, as political engagement and interest are seemingly at an all-time high. As more celebrities and public figures call their audiences to act — get up and go vote either now (if your state allows early or absentee voting) or on November 6 — more citizens are beginning to consider the importance of engaging not only in presidential elections but also in elections that affect citizens at the state and local level. We’ve seen many celebrities down to Cardi B herself galvanize their fan base to get out and rock the vote.
And none of these celebrities are wrong. Now more than ever it’s important to pay attention and make a plan to get out to vote. Here are just a few reasons why:
1.4M Floridians could get their American right to vote back.
During this midterm election, Floridians will vote “yes” or “no” for the “Voting Restoration Amendment,” also called Amendment 4. This Amendment would automatically restore voting rights to felons (not including murderers and sex offenders) who have served prison time, completed parole or probation, and paid any restitution. The disproportionate impact of the prison industrial complex on black and brown people has been widely studied and reported on, as well as the impact that the restoration of voting rights would have on the large portion of non-white Floridians who have had that right stripped due to a system that unfairly imprisoned them.
Latinas deserve to be paid in equity.
In the words of the great Beyonce Giselle Knowles Carter, it is time Latinas raise their collective voices and demand “pay me in equity.” While conversations about the wage gap between men and women rage on year after year, there has been a gap in discourse — there’s a keen focus on how much white women make compared to white men (73 cents for every dollar), and very little mention of how much Latinas make comparatively to white men: 56 cents for every dollar. To fight back for women who make essentially half of what white men make, Latinas will have to go to the ballot box en masse and elect officials who believe in creating legislation to equalize income once and for all.
There needs to be increased support for Puerto Ricans.
— attn (@attn) October 18, 2018
A recent report from Latino Rebels found that a full year after Hurricane Maria devastated the people of Puerto Rico, children remain disproportionately affected in the worst way, as child homelessness has reached an all-time high of 57 percent. That means essentially one out of every two children on the island is homeless. If that does not spark outrage, the sheer fact that Puerto Ricans continue to be treated as though they are not United States citizens — as pointed out by Rosie Perez and Rita Moreno in a recent ATTN: video — should. By voting, you have the opportunity to help these citizens have their voices heard.
There is a desperate need for laws that are anti-harassment and anti-discrimination in business.
Too often Latinx people are targeted by businesses that will respect their dollars but not their rights. From Greyhound, which was recently found supporting Customs and Border Protection, which contains the Border Patrol, boarding its buses and subjecting passengers to racial profiling in unjustified interrogations, to racist local establishments that appropriate Hispanic culture and make fun of its people for profit, it’s time that discriminatory practices and harassment of people of color becomes criminalized. That starts by electing leaders who will protect all citizens from companies that enable these abuses.