For People en Espanol’s Festival Weekend in October, HBO Latino invited us to kick off the fiesta in a breakfast chat with singer and talk-show host Adrienne Bailon. Bailon, along with other prominent figures in the Latino community, participated in the HBO Latino #hablayvota documentary special. The hour-long program covers the importance of voting for the upcoming election, the impact of the Latino vote, and key issues for Latinos in the United States (like immigration and expression of latinidad). We had the privilege of watching segments of the special alongside Adrienne, as she guided the conversation and touched on the key points raised by each of the personalities featured in the video.
Usually you won’t hear me use the words Saturday morning, 9 AM, and breakfast all in the same sentence. But thanks to Adrienne’s captivating personality—and let’s not forget the copious amounts of café—everyone was awake and engaged in this important conversation. With the election just days away, we wanted to share one final reminder with five reasons of why it’s so important to #hablayvota.
Every vote counts. Adrienne asked if we ever felt like Prince Royce when he says, “I’m just a dude from the Bronx, what’s one vote gonna do?” This took some time to process, not just because of the relevance of the topic, but also because usually when I’m listening to Prince Royce he’s singing in Spanish and shaking his hips with J.Lo. But when you vote and encourage others to vote, the effect is exponential. Think of it this way—if you decide not to vote, and so do your friends and family, and so do their friends and family, the numbers add up. The entire outcome of the election could change if those voters had gone to the polls.
Vote to represent your interests and what you believe in. Singer Ivana Mena says that she votes for issues that are important to her as a Latina woman—including reproductive rights and the wage gap. Latina women are paid even lower on the dollar than African American and white females. For every dollar a white American male is paid, women earn on average 79 cents—with African American women earning 60 cents and Latinas earning only 55 cents. Ivana’s vote isn’t about a party or her gender, but about what matters most to her and what will impact her life as an American Latina. “If you don’t get up and do something about it, someone else is going to.”
Latino issues are American issues. During Adrienne’s segment in the documentary, she focuses on the fact that some Latinos may be reluctant to make their voices heard in politics. While immigration issues are paramount for some Latinos, second and third generation immigrants often “catch amnesia” and forget what their parents or grandparents fought so hard for. During the breakfast, Adrienne called on audience members to share their immigration stories and backgrounds, and emphasized that these histories can’t be forgotten. And Adrienne went on to state that the Latino voice should not be limited to just issues of immigration, but rather any issue relevant to the Latino community. The easiest way to make this voice heard is just by voting on Election Day.
You can’t change the system if you’re not part of it. During this election or a previous one, we’ve all heard some friend or family member say that they don’t like either candidate and that they plan to skip voting altogether. While you may be used to his lighter and sassier side from the Honest to Gabe series, Gabe Gonzalez gets a bit more serious and takes on those who threaten to rebel by not voting. He points out that not casting a vote totally voids any political voice you could have.
No candidate can win without the Latino vote. Jorge Ramos states that with 27.3 million Latinos in the U.S., “we’ve gone from big numbers to power.” This demographic represents 12% of eligible voters in the U.S., and has the potential to completely change the outcome of the election. But this can only happen if everyone actually makes it out to the polls. In both 2008 and 2012, fewer than 50% of the Latino population voted.
At the end of his segment, Ramos reminds viewers of a powerful quote from labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez: “He visto el futuro, y el futuro es nuestro.” So make a stand for what you believe in and take a part in determining the future. Join in HBO Latino’s conversation with the hashtag #hablayvota. And most importantly, make sure to show up at the polls and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Check out the video below: