News Column

Voto Latino Celebrates 10 Years

February 18, 2014

Staff Reports -- HispanicBusiness.com

Actress Rosario Dawson co-founded Voto Latino.
Actress Rosario Dawson co-founded Voto Latino.

Voto Latino, the nonpartisan civic engagement organization, announced that it will launch a year-long celebration in honor of its 10-year anniversary.

The organization was co-founded in 2004 by actress and activist Rosario Dawson, who serves as chairwoman. Maria Teresa Kumar is Voto Latino's founding president and CEO.

Voto Latino has played an influential role in modernizing elections by launching the first text message voter registration drive. Thanks to the organization's efforts, nearly a quarter-million voters have registered to vote, according to a press release.

"I co-founded Voto Latino to help give future generations of American Latinos the opportunity to follow our forebears' legacy of service and a platform where they can write the history books of tomorrow," said Dawson in a news statement. "We're thankful to our supporters like Wilmer Valderrama, America Ferrera, Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, Dolores Huerta, and many others, who know the work we do together is not only important for the Latino community, but to the country as a whole."

Here is a list of the yearlong activities that will commemorate a decade of Latino civic engagement:
Voto Latino's "Share Your Story" campaign will collect and share the stories of those who have been moved to action through the organization's efforts.
A Voto Latino tech contest promoting Latino innovation to be announced later this year.
Voto Latino's "Power Summit" will be a four-city leadership training conference educating, empowering and engaging Millennials.
Voto Latino's "Trend Ur Voice" will be the largest-ever online voter registration campaign to register Latino voters.
Voto Latino continues their successful Affordable Care Act Google Hangout series.
Voto Latino will again co-manage National Voter Registration Day to create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities.
Voto Latino's "Rep Ur Letters" will be a campaign encouraging Latino Greeks to register others to vote.
The year will culminate with a Voto Latino Gala in November.
In the early 2000s, there was little reference to the challenges facing Latino communities and insufficient engagement through relevant technologies like mobile. Most outreach was done in Spanish, effectively alienating first- and second-generation Latinos who are bilingual and proud to be both American and Latino, and the power of popular Latino celebrities was underused. Voto Latino was started with the goal of using these elements to empower Latino youth.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate our 10 years than by taking Voto Latino on the road to train thousands of Latino Millennials and culminating in awarding grants to those who come up with solutions that address their communities' challenges!" Kumar said in a statement. "This past decade, Voto Latino not only galvanized millions to the voting booth but we've grown to train leaders, provide tools for Latinos to advocate for themselves and better yet, give them the space to fulfill their great ideas."

SOURCE Voto Latino


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