Sunday, August 19, 2012

We Decide: The Latino Role in the 2012 Election #WeDecide

The 2012 election is more important to more Latinos that I know than the 2008 was, even with the super heated immigration debate that went on back then. True, immigration is still a hot button topic this time around, but healthcare, education and unemployment have brought the Latino community together more than ever before. 

Later tonight, Today Show reporter Natalie Morales will be hosting We Decide, a live town hall special featuring a panel of high-profile experts engaging with a live audience, as well as virtual participants. We Decide gives Latinos a voice.  They will look at the way presidential candidates are addressing issues that are specific to the Latino community in America. So education, healthcare and unemployment will all be addressed. 

For myself and my family, healthcare is the big topic. It is something that we deal with on a daily basis, causes a lot of stress and worry, especially because we do not know what to expect next year when the president has been elected. It is something we will all be thinking about whether we are employed, unemployed, retired etc. 

With the recent actions by President Obama regarding deferred action, education and employment are at the top of the concern list for young Latinos that think of themselves as Americans because it is the only country they have ever known. Having worked with so many people over the years that are trying to gain citizenship or want to see the DREAM ACT passed, I know that this is something that they are very passionate about and want to know what our presidential candidates have to say. Among young adults aged 20 and older, Latinos have the highest percentage with no high school diploma, at 41%. That number is just outrageous to me, especially compared to their white counterparts at 14%, Asians at 15% and African Americans at 23%. This has to change.

I have been an election judge and poll worker since I was 17, and I have to say that the one thing that really needs addressing is voter apathy. Nothing bugs me more than complaints that are followed up by inaction, if something needs doing, do it, if something needs changing change it and if something needs to be heard, known and to be made aware of, it is our responsibility to speak up. Same thing goes for voting, if we want the things that we care about to be addressed, taken care of and changed, then we need to make sure that we put folks in office that are going to do that. 

During the last election I had so many new and first time voters show up, for both the primary election and the general election. It was exciting, but at the same time disappointing because no one in this country should go their whole life without voting for the man or woman that will such a huge role in their own lives. Get out there and vote, people. Join the conversation.     

To make your voice heard visit We Decide: Speak up & Make a Difference.

You can also visit the We Decide Facebook page share your thoughts and opinions. 

What issues are important to you and your family this election? 
* Disclosure: This post is compensated and in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and nuvoTV. All opinions expressed are my own. *