Yesterday, civil rights leader and People For the American Way (PFAW) board member Dolores Huerta joined Latino leaders in Charlotte to discuss the power of the Latino vote in North Carolina and the issues at stake for Latino voters, and denounce the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino extremism of Donald Trump, Governor Pat McCrory, and Senator Richard Burr.
Dolores Huerta shared her experiences and national perspective given her experience as co-founder of the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, her lifetime work advocating for rights of workers, immigrants, and Latinos, and her work around the country getting out the vote this year and in previous years. Action NC Charlotte Director Hector Vaca and For Our Future Get Out the Vote Director Jeremiah Chapman discussed local issues and the power of the Latino vote to defeat Trump, Gov. McCrory, and Sen. Burr.
“Donald Trump has so much hate for women, immigrants, people who are disabled, and many others. Trump doesn’t share our values, and if he gets elected, it would be such a disaster for our communities. But we’re going to make sure he’ll never become the President of the United States,” said civil rights leader and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta. “It’s not just Trump. He’s the face of the Republican Party. We know Republicans including Richard Burr have blocked immigration reform, blocked equal pay for women. And Republicans have been really involved in voter suppression, trying to suppress our vote.” Huerta continued, “We must take time to register to vote and vote when it means so much for our community. Vote for people who will protect us, people that are going to work for us, including Deborah Ross for Senate, Roy Cooper for Governor, and of course Hillary Clinton for president. Si se puede con el voto!”
Ruth Perez, an Action NC member, will be voting for the first time this year. She explained, “For 22 years I never voted because I thought it wasn’t important. But last year, I started hearing all of Donald Trump’s declarations against Latinos. I stood up and said this is going to change something in my life and in my family. This year I registered to vote, and let me tell you all: This is going to make a big difference. As Latinos, we can make a difference by voting.”
Discussing the recent allegations against Trump and his treatment of women, Perez stated that she had made her choice even before the Access Hollywood tape came out, and later allegations this past week. As she described, “His remarks toward his daughter, not respecting his own kid, that put me in a situation where I don’t have to make any other choices. Trump’s somebody who doesn’t deserve any respect. We as women have fought for many years for our rights, we’ve fought for the right to vote, we fight every day to earn money, we struggle, a lot of single parents, mothers, that are hard workers. He’s trying to destroy this image to our kids, to our society. That’s very sad. But don’t give up. This is a time for you to show him he is wrong. Get up and get yourself to a voting booth, make your voice count.”
Action NC Charlotte Director Hector Vaca addressed the down-ballot races in particular: “What Trump is saying is appalling to our community, appalling to our country. The Latinx community here will make sure he doesn’t win. And the fact that Burr and McCrory support him, we find that to be very, very offensive. What’s more, Burr is against comprehensive immigration reform, McCrory has been part of a lawsuit opposing President Obama’s executive action that would allow so many people who are undocumented who contribute to our country, pay taxes, and run businesses here, to stay here. That’s what’s motivating people to get out in the streets, register voters and get out the votes. Trump, McCrory, and Burr don’t stand with our community, so we don’t stand with them. This election is going to be incredibly important and we’re going to make the difference here in NC.”
Jeremiah Chapman, Get Out the Vote Director for For Our Future, spoke specifically about Burr’s record: “If we look at women’s pay, Burr doesn’t advocate for equal pay for women. Latinas in North Carolina make 48 cents to the dollar of white men, and if we look at the numbers, Latinas account for 14 billion dollars of what is generated here in North Carolina. I don’t understand how some of our elected officials like Burr don’t understand the economic boon that would come from equal pay. He also shared why he’s voting: “As a first-generation Afro-Latino in this country, this election is about changing the minds and mindsets of my generation and the generation that follows. This is an unprecedented time within our country, state, and city where we can see measurable change. Getting out to vote this year will be so influential.”
This event was organized by Action NC, For Our Future, and People For the American Way (PFAW). Lizet Ocampo, PFAW Director of Latinos Vote!, moderated the panel. “Latino voters in North Carolina could decide the presidency, and their votes against the anti-immigrant McCrory and Burr could ensure that they lose their elections. This event was part of our efforts to expose and counter anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric and policies.” Previously this year, PFAW has launched bilingual radio and digital ads in North Carolina targeting Burr for standing with Trump and urging listeners to get out to vote. For more information on PFAW’s election efforts as part of its Latinos Vote! program, email [email protected].
For pictures and/or follow-up interviews with panel participants, please email [email protected].