6 Ways to Lift Up and Engage Latinx Voters
November 27, 2020
With over 12 million votes cast in 2016 and nearly 32 million eligible voters in 2020, Latinx voters are one of the fastest growing voting blocs this election.
This rich and diverse culture comprises many different nations and ethnic groups. The community is not a monolith. They cannot be expected to show up as such at the ballot box without authentic and comprehensive engagement efforts.
And, despite the growing number of voters in the Latinx community, representation is severely lacking. How do we fix that?
It starts by organizing earlier than 100 days before an election. Your campaign must prepare to make substantial and consistent investments in staff and programming from the start. So, in no particular order, here are some suggestions!
1. Invest Early & Equitably
Every sales cycle starts with awareness, moves through interest and desire, and ends with action. That isn’t something that can be crammed into the last 100 days of an election.
It isn’t sustainable for building any type of community organizing. You must also plan to spend money. If you’re funding communications pieces in English, spend the same en Español.
Start now to invest in future cycles by meeting voters where they are. That also means incorporating Latinx leaders in every level of your staff.
Which brings us to the next point.
2. Develop a Diverse Team
If you’re lacking a Latinx voice, you’re lacking an important perspective that benefits all communities. Latinx professionals are resilient, inclusive, decisive, and passionate in their work and bring any number of special skills to the table.
Is Latinx engagement an important part of any campaign? Yes. Is this the only position a Latinx person can do? No. Hell no! Latinx strategists are crushing it in fundraising, communications, and many other campaign positions.
Make sure you’re hiring Latinx staff for the job that suits their expertise and not just engagement. It benefits everyone.
3. Provide Transparent Access to Political Processes
While running for office is a popular way to get involved, the process to file for candidacy is complicated. Local Democratic parties should make this information and other types of intel as transparent and accessible as possible.
Showing up in spaces created without Latinx communities in mind is intimidating. And yet, Latinx voters consistently show up to learn how to contribute, only to be shamed for not knowing. Never shame people!
If Democrats want to welcome all, that means ridding our party process of barriers that keep new folx from engaging.
4. Move Beyond Immigration Reform
When reaching out to Latinx voters or working to lift up Latinx leaders, don’t pigeonhole the discussion around immigration.
Immigration reform continues to be a much-needed policy, and all Americans should demand action to end ICE’s traumatic practices. However, it is not always the top priority of Latinx voters. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the Latinx community experiences infection and death at disproportionate rates.
The most recent Pew Research poll of Hispanic voters found that education, jobs, and the economy and healthcare ranked first through third before immigration. Latinx, having been in the United States for generations, are seeking the same resources as other marginalized communities.
5. Be Culturally Competent
Latinx culture is beautiful and rich, full of family and warmth. Any community should value the qualities Latinx bring to the table. So, it is important to meet the community in spaces centered around Latinx culture.
- Spend time at your local carniceria (grocery store) or panaderia (bakery).
- Promote anything sent to English speaking press to Spanish-Language media.
- Register voters at parks and soccer tournaments.
- Make sure all public-facing information (not just Latinx-specific policy or outreach) is accessible in multiple languages.
6. Make Space
Being an ally is wonderful, but making space for people of color is best done when white folks sit down. Our community severely lacks representation. It is important for white allies to understand this and not center themselves in these spaces.
Instead, they should make space for people of color to speak their own truth and experiences. White allies must realize this work is never done, and their comfort is not the end goal.
You Can Do This!
This may seem like a lot of work. But, it is worth it.
When campaigns engage the Latinx community and push for their collective values, working families become the priority. Through Latinx political power, we can build a stronger, more fair economy. Democracy strengthens, and the community will be better represented.
Create a culture of inclusion and accountability within your campaign or organization with NDTC Online Academy courses in management and leadership. It’s a great place to start as you initiate consistent relationship building.
Get started today!
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