Tag Archives: Politics

Latino Political Power Starts at the Dinner Table

4 Aug

Some kids I knew watched sitcoms or MTV after dinner.

Not me.

My brother and I knew that once 6pm hit, no matter what we would be watching, we’d have to tune into the news. I could not quite understand why my father would make us watch or read about politics, especially before I reached my teenage years. If it was up to me, I would have been watching The Wayans Bros.

Part of the reason my parents put on the news had to do with their educational experience back in Ecuador. Like primary and secondary school students in many other Latin-American countries, they were required to take a civics class, meant to teach them about the workings of government and the role they could play toward progress and social betterment.

The message of those classes stuck with my parents, even if the Ecuadorian government didn’t always live up to classroom standards. My father felt that if we understood the political landscape, we would feel a sense of responsibility to do our part in making sure our country moves forward in a socially responsible manner.

However, current events aren’t the only things that shape my opinions and concerns. I also cared deeply about family and community. With politicians promoting anti-immigrant policies and xenophobia – opposed to actual reform – I feel an obligation to consider the greater Latino community, not just my own interests.

Like many children of Latino immigrants born in this country, I witnessed the social and economic struggles my parents went through on a daily basis. I was exposed to this reality at a young age, giving me a sense of familial responsibility, a cultural trait that I’ve seen many times over in other Latino and immigrant families, regardless of country of origin or economic status. Whether I was interpreting, filling out forms, or attending doctor’s appointments, I became aware of how government and its institutions work – or don’t work – to serve immigrant communities.

In this respect, our sense of advocacy transcends politics. To borrow a phrase from gender activists, I would say that within our Latino culture, the personal is political. Issues of immigration, healthcare, labor, and education aren’t just up for debate – they’re issues that affect our families directly.

We cannot solely blame government for ignoring Latinos. We should also hold ourselves accountable. While we are the largest ethnic minority in the United States and our voting population is 9.7 million, only 50 percent of eligible Latino voters actually vote! We live in a democratic country where we have a chance to make our voice heard at the polls, but the Latino voting population has not done its part. So how can we expect government to address our concerns when we don’t turn out for elections?

Once I turned 18, instead of voting before work, my father would wait for me in the evening and we would take a trip to the election polls as a family. Even now that I am married and living on Long Island, when election time comes around he will not forget to ask, “Ya votastes mija?” or “You already voted?”

I realize that it’s easier for me to remember to vote because I grew up with a civic-minded father. But as I think about the Latino voting population in the US, which continues to increase by about 500,000 every year, I hope that parents across the country are nagging their kids on election day, changing the channel to the news at 6pm, and teaching our next generation about the power of their vote.

(This post was first featured in Long Island Wins http://longislandwins.com/index.php/features/detail/latino_political_power_starts_at_the_dinner_table/)

Help Stop Xenophobia & Racism

6 Jun
Help Stop the ongoing Racism and Xenophobia going on the Suffolk County area, promoted by County Executive Steve Levy. We have already witnessed the result of promoting anti-immigrant legislation in the unfortunate Marcelo Lucero case. Please sign the petition and prove your representatives that Long Island is progressing and wants change! Click the link below…

A Fairytale Wedding…

29 Apr

Many of us cherish our sleep so much that we are willing to press on that “Snooze” buttom five hundred times until the last minute when we literally have to RUN out of our houses/apts. to start our days. We may skip breakfast or a good morning work-out to start off our day because we are soooo busy and time is key. However, many of the people falling within this category  have been up since 4am this morning!  Why?! Well if you can’t answer this question then you simply haven’t been watching the news! Its the Royal Wedding!

William & Kate Middleton have just wed and its all many people talk about! From hosting Wedding parties in the city to buying memorabilia, this wedding has become another event thanks to our strong pop culture within our society.  However, this is another event that in my opinion represents our social and political hypocrisy…much which many choose to ignore.

Social hypocrisy — mostly because its a wedding between two strangers which most of us have absolutely no personal connection. A wedding between what some media sources have called a wedding between a “commoner” and a Prince. A wedding representing what many women dream of! However, its only a binding social contract in which from the first day of their courtship consisted of obligations and responsibilities mostly on her part. A contract which dictates how she will smile, how she’ll be referred to, what she will wear, what she can or cannot do PERIOD! Less we not forget another Royal Wedding in which many women dreamed to be in that other woman’s place, William’s mother, the late Diana. A fairytale wedding in which many women dreamed of (and continue dreaming of as we’ve witnessed in bridal shows and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent just for a few hours by future marital couples). But many will not mention the fairytale turned nightmare of the years following Diana. A nightmare in which is part of a reality in which many choose to ignore; consisting of adultery, bulimia, attempted suicide, depression along with all the other obligations she was forced to conform to once married. That is why I find it funny many so-called feminists or women who like to use the word “Independent” countless times would actually sit in front of a television at 4am, travel to Buckingham palace, or  purchase memorabilia…simply being part of this hype, salivating over an event such as this.

Political Hypocrisy — The definition of a monarchy: “is a form of government in which all political power is passed down to an individual (usually hereditary) known as a monarch (“single ruler”). In a time where even democratically voted in leaders are labeled dictators, monarchies are sole examples of dictatorships. They were initially forms of governments which claimed they had a divine right to rule over people and most ruled over many…RUTHLESSLY! Both British and Spanish monarchies will and are going down in history as ruthless forms of governments which colonized (and in Britain’s situation continues to colonize) many countries. The American Revolution, the Bolivarian Revolution are two grande examples of the result of colonization. As many of us have learned in our elementary, middle, secondary and higher education classes monarchies go down in history as bearers of plagues, genocide, diseases and rape among social diseases as well. So my question is why do they continue to exist? While the British monarchy is not an official form of government, it continues to be influential in its current one as well as its society. And while we attack other countries for holding what many believe are dictatorships or symbols of such, the symbol of who colonized the United States is admired?

So as many watch and continue to follow this event, not only will I refuse to refer to any of those figures as Prince/Princess/Queen; nor will I dress up to go out to a wedding party/reception (I boycotted the idea even on MY wedding day). Instead I will be productive with myself and relax for tomorrow’s Drag Race Event in Maryland 😀