Her vote not only means choose the best option to govern for the next four years; Her vote has the hope that her friends from high school don’t lose their DACA; Her vote is for that neighbor who works long hours every day, but deserves a lower salary because don´t has a visa; Her vote is for the Latino community that asks every day for a better immigration reform and stop living with the fear that friends or family could be deported.
She is Daniela Peñaloza and this will be the first time that participates in the US presidential elections. Her vote is more than a right, it is the way to give a voice to all those people that for some reason cannot be hearded in the United States, despite having a life here, paying taxes and really being the ones who are making America great again.
“My first job was thanks to Lupita, my neighbor. She taught me to always put a good face on life, and even though she doesn’t speak English, that doesn’t stop her. Every day she drives three or four hours to the work, and of course she is afraid that one day the police will arrest her and deport her, but still every day she looks for new opportunities and I never see her sad.
“For me, these elections are to vote for Lupita, so that she no longer feels afraid, so that she be safe in this country,” says Daniela Peñaloza.
According to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan data group, the United States has approximately 60 million Latinos, approximately 18% of the US population.
With a view to the elections, this number is reduced to 32 million people qualified to vote, which is equivalent to 13.3% of the electoral roll. In other words, for the first time, the Latino community is the second largest group, even above the black community.
It is important to note that two-in-three Latino eligible voters live in just five states.
California has about a quarter of the country’s Latino electorate, with 7.9 million eligible Latino voters. Texas ranks second with 5.6 million, followed by Florida with 3.1 million, New York with 2 million and Arizona with 1.2 million.
Edna Luna is the case of a Latina who lives in Texas and who has seen in the elections the importance of representing her community.
“I am a citizen, but my youth was spent in Mexico and when I first came to reside in this country, I arrived as a single mother and I really realized what my rights were as a worker, my social security, pension, and unfortunately in recent years we have less and less benefits.
“So it is important that we vote, that we see the candidates’ proposals and vote for the common benefit. We give a voice to that Latino community that, although they are part of this country, provide jobs, inject money into the economy, do not have a voice, because they do not have a paper/visa,” shares Edna Luna.
And what else worries Latinos?
Various polls indicate that one of the greatest interests among young voters is the environment, which is also very relevant among the Latino community.
María and Rebeca Montaño Domínguez are two university students, of colombian descent, that will also vote in the United States for the first time and are precisely concerned about the way the candidates have focus in the climate change.
“After looking at the candidates’ proposals, I think Trump really doesn’t have anything convincing to help the environment and mitigate the effects that various industries have had on it.
“In addition, he has many plans to continue with fossil fuels and in a sense more oriented in an economic gain, so these are points that I personally take into account for my vote,” says María Montaño.
In the last months, a large number of fires have impacted various states of the American Union, especially California, so, for Rebeca Montaño it is important that the next president take into account this environmental problem.
“Trump has shown that the environmental issue is not something that really interests him, although he should be. It seems that he has chosen to ignore the fires, he thinks that is something normal, when it is a very serious situation that leaves hundreds of families homeless.
“As young people, we are concerned about what will happen in the next four years with this issue, how large fires will be avoided or what will be the from the government to control them in a better way,” says Rebeca Montaño.