It has been a long time since “Latinos” have been discriminated against the way we are being discriminated against today. We are being put in cages, our kids are being taken away and our very language is being looked at with contempt. Although we are from many different cultures, skin tones, backgrounds and immigration statuses, we are still one. We need to stand together because together we are strong. There are several tactics that we can use to make change first locally and then nationally.
- First, we can use our “Economic Power” to influence change locally. Latinos own more than 90 percent of business here in Reading, Pennsylvania. If we united and spoke with one voice, we could act as one to make sure that our issues are respected and addressed both by the city and county government. Without our taxes and our investment, this city would die. Also, if we collectively backed candidates, donated and held them to task, we would have a lot more influence than we currently do. The only reason that we don’t have more “Latinos” in positions of power is because we don’t keep fighting long enough to coordinate. If we want positive change, we can’t rely on others to give it to us.
- Second, “Go Vote.” Another way we can change our lives for the better is by voting. We are made to believe that our vote doesn’t count, but in local elections it counts more than anywhere. Have you ever noticed why senior citizens’ issues are always addressed quickly? That is because they vote. Registering is not enough; you need to go vote. If we voted, we would have more Latino city council members, mayors, judges, state representatives and cops. The experience for Latinos would be much more positive if our representation matched our demographic, but that does not happen because we vote at 20 percent or 30 percent capacity. This is why we are constantly neglected, abused and ignored. If 70 percent of Latinos who are eligible to vote voted, we would be able to pick who ran our government and our lives.
Latinos are a strong, prideful and hardworking people. We are smart, dedicated and caring. The problem is that sometimes we ignore the power structures around us. We believe that other people will have our best interests in mind, and many times we support other people instead of our own leaders. If we work together, we can make it so that we are equal. Together we are strong!
By Abraham Cepeda