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'Latinas Vote': Latina Leaders Unite To Encourage Voter Turnout Ahead Of Presidential Election

Dallas Latina politicians and community leaders gathered in front of the Oak Cliff Sub Courthouse for an event called "Latinas Vote" to encourage Latinas to vote in the presidential election.
Alejandra Martinez
/
KERA
Dallas Latina politicians and community leaders gathered in front of the Oak Cliff Sub Courthouse for an event called "Latinas Vote" to encourage Latinas to vote in the presidential election.

The Dallas Latina empowerment organization called "Hey Chica!" is hosting events across Dallas County to encourage Latinas to cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

Women wearing hot pink shirts that read ‘Latinas Vote’ gathered in front of the Oak Cliff Sub Courthouse during a warm Wednesday afternoon to pass out stickers and t-shirts. They were ready to inspire people to head to the polls.

As Election Day approaches, the Latina organization Hey Chica! is focusing on increasing Latina voter turnout in Dallas County.

“What we’re doing is providing a visual of Latina leadership,” said Melissa Alfaro, the executive director of Hey Chica! “We’re saying ‘Hey, you Latina voter, we’re out here to support you. We’re out here to cheer you on because what you are doing is important. You have power. And going to the ballot box is a way to stand in your power.”

"You have power. And going to the ballot box is a way to stand in your power."
Melissa Alfaro

Research shows Latinas have the power to play a decisive role in this year’s election. According to Pew Research Center, 55% of women who were eligible to vote cast their ballots during the 2018 midterm elections. Among Hispanics, Latinas showed up more to the polls.

Hey Chica! is making rounds throughout Dallas County, visiting polling locations in Irving, Garland, Oak Cliff, and Pleasant Grove and encouraging Latinas to cast their ballots. The group has invited several local leaders, including a handful of Democrats from the statehouse, to join them.

“It is not just about ‘hey come out and vote!’ It is about cultivating that power with Latinas throughout the years in leadership roles, and right now it is time to take that energy and translate it to the polls,” said Rebecca Acuña, the Texas State Director for the Joe Biden presidential campaign.

Acuña talked to many women who stopped at the booth about the importance of their vote.

“Political conversations are really driven by Latinas,” said Victoria Neave, a Texas State Representative that represents parts of East Dallas, Mesquite and Garland. ”Whether it’s sisters, cousins, or primas or little girls we want them to see that voting matters and that we can elect women who look like us.”

Neave, who’s running against Republican challenger Samuel Smith, adds that Latinas' voting power goes beyond their individual vote. They tend to encourage others, like their family.

Oak Cliff resident Marie Lou Paras wears a 'Latinas Vote' shirt and stands next to her 7 year old granddaughter Makayla in front of an event encouraging voter turnout.
Alejandra Martinez
Oak Cliff resident Mary Lou Paras wears a 'Latina Voter' shirt and stands next to her 7-year-old granddaughter Makayla in front of an event encouraging voter turnout.

Oak Cliff resident Mary Lou Paras came to the event with her 7-year-old granddaughter Makayla, who was on lunch break during online school.

“When I heard that all these Latina leaders that were in very important positions were getting together, I mean that alone was worthy of me coming out here because if I leave anything for my children, it is for them to participate,” Paras said.

Paras found the event on Facebook. She brought her granddaughter with her because it's important for her to show little Makayla that Latinas have a voice.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @_martinez_ale.

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