This op-ed appeared originally in The Huffington Post, you can read it HERE.
History is only weeks away. It is eagerly waiting for us to write our passage as the first population of Latino voters to demonstrate the unprecedented strength of our numbers and the determination behind our voices. We are at a critical moment in our story as a people, un pueblo, who may not have the same color of skin or lineage as past generations of immigrants, but whose roots are now grounded in this country as Americans, whether newly-arrived or going back generations. We are a community with the power to influence America's choice.
This year's election is our stage. Deadlines to register to vote are approaching, and before then, we must make sure our families, friends and communities are registered and ready to vote on November 6.
Efforts this year have been unprecedented. Besides the door-to-door knocking happening across the country, the ¡Todos a Votar! Latino voter engagement tour made its way loudly through key Latino vote states, while mayors of cities with strong Latino representation proclaimed September as National Hispanic Voter Registration Month. Last Wednesday, National Voter Registration Day, dozens of groups with the help of celebrities went online to remind the pub lic to register and participate in this important election.
The enthusiasm to vote is growing, as recent polling shows. It's this excitement that has to be exponentially cultivated and undeterred until Election Day without fear of voter ID laws aimed at suppressing the minority vote.
Conservatives in almost half of states have been staunchly pursuing, passing and defending these heinous laws that make it more difficult for low-income and minority communities to vote by creating bureaucratic hoops. But several courts that are reviewing these discriminatory laws aren't buying the so-called prevention-of-voter-fraud argument. One Texas voter ID law was found by a three-judge federal panel to hurt minority voter turnout and impose "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor."
It's these kinds of decisions that show the hypocrisy behind conservatives' attempt to woo Latinos to their camp. Too much "Hispandering" and not enough honest attempts to understand and defend the demands and needs of Latinos in America. We hear much talk about the country's immigrant foundation and forefathers, and sure enough at some point they'll even throw into the conversation Superman--the ultimate undocumented "alien" -- and yet, conservatives run on a platform that opposes a fair immigration system and the Affordable Care Act, which will expand health care coverage to 9 million hardworking Latinos with jobs that do not provide health care benefits.
Latino communities everywhere are not ignorant to these actions and we're understanding the influence we can have in these elections. Whatever obstacles there may be, whether it's a Pennsylvania-like voter restriction law or someone challenging our voting right at the polls, we have to prevail by being prepared.The ACLU, Spanish-language media and many more organizations are providing a wealth of information for our community. It's our duty to get informed, stand up for our rights and vote.
When the arithmetic is on our side--with over 42% of the nation's Latino population eligible to vote and over 50 million Latinos in America--there is nothing left but to seize this moment and fight for our future. We know exactly what we need for ourselves, our children, the DREAMers, all immigrants in America and for the generations to come. Together we will make sure we are present on November 6.
Our goal is to help mobilize more than 12 million Latino voters to the polls on Election Day. This is isn't a challenge, it's the next chapter in America's history.