Your Vote Counts Graphic Red White and Blue

Op Ed by Ramón Pérez,

Looking down the road at 2024 elections, what are your top issues or your Latino communities’ top concerns for the upcoming city, county, state and federal elections? Do you have a plan or a list of your top issues that you expect commitments from your politicians for your vote?

Latinas /Latinos can no longer be used as “Catch and Release” voters for politicians’ financial or political gains. Especially when we don’t see real social initiatives, economic investment, community development, educational improvements, employment, or political opportunities for our comunidades. They’ll take your vote and leave your community broke.

We are not looking for handouts; we demand our fair share because we deserve our share. What specific results do want to see before, during, and after election time, especially for the 2024 elections?

Toledo’s Latinos, and for that matter, all Latino communities, should start talking to each other and planning for 2024’s election registration and voter turnout. This should already be in full motion. Planning for 2024 elections is our opportunity, our time, por fin to start coming back together from the country roads, our townships, villages, and cities to develop your/our platforms; also, the community improvements you want to see from your politicians in exchange for your vote.

Stop giving your vote away and not get any commitments for your neighborhoods. Make each and every vote count for what we need in order to build back our familias and comunidades. It’s time for us to start talking and planning for “Bloc Voting,” meaning, deciding what are your top community concerns and start voting as a group for those improvements and also start voting in our own gente into local, county, state, and federal positions.

The white and Black communities are better at voting in political clusters than we are, and they have been mostly successful doing it for decades. We have basically been invisible and silent, allowing others to make decisions that affect the quality of our lives. ‘White supremacy’ city, county, state, and especially federal laws are working, they are keeping us Indigenous/Latinos right where they want the majority of us…invisible, voiceless, living in poverty, less educated and ignorant..or some may say, tumble weeds, and many don’t even know it.

Here are some examples and challenges we must overcome, and we will: We need to recognize that too many of our gente are not politically engaged at just about any decision-making level that makes or breaks our familia. For example, currently, it is estimated there are 2 million unregistered and 700,000 inactive voters in Ohio. It is also estimated every year, including for the upcoming 2024 elections, approximately 6 million new Latina/o youth across the nation are turning 18 and becoming eligible to vote. Raza, we need a plan to find the unregistered, 700,000 inactive voters and our share of our youth becoming eligible voters for the 2024 elections now!! We can no longer keep giving away our votes. We can no longer allow ourselves to be labeled as easy “Catch and Release” voters and demand nothing in return.

So, what is your get-out-the-vote plan for 2024? Who in your community can you agree to support and vote them into a political office? The same for county, state and federal…they are in your community, we just need to get out of our way and give someone else a real chance and support them. Let us start sharing plans on how we are going to join together and build our own movimiento.

Gracias! Share your communities plan at my email and I will share in La Prensa. Your plans could help others and make 2024 , “El Camino to the polls and beyond.” Keep in touch with La Prensa and my email, as more information to follow.