Throughout California, SEIU and Mi Familia Vota (MFV) staff and volunteers have been registering voters and mobilizing the Latino community on the phone and in the field. At the center of this week's efforts is SEIU's International Secretary-Treasurer and MFV founder Eliseo Medina.
As an MFV board member, Medina has been at the forefront in encouraging Latino communities everywhere to register, get informed and vote on Election Day. Mi Familia Vota has surpassed its goal of registering 80,000 Latino voters in six Latino vote rich states.
Medina, who began organizing workers under the leadership of Labor and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez, began the California leg of the Latino voter mobilization drive on Monday, the same day President Obama dedicated the Chavez monument in Keane, CA. The president's significant recognition will hopefully "lead to many, many more public officials understanding that the way to win our support and our hearts and our votes is through recognition and respect rather than attacks and ignoring us." (.)
While in California, Medina joined phone bankers in San Fernando to spread the word in favor of California Propositions 30 and against Proposition32, while also appearing on Univision's Primera Edicion and its local station in Stockton. The staggering media attention around Medina and MFV's work has been key to reaching potential Latino voters in an election where over 12 million Latinos are expected to vote nationally.
"Regardless of what candidate wins, they will have to pay attention to us because we will lay down the marker that Latinos are no longer the sleeping giant. We are awake and, boy, are we getting cranky," Medina told the Modesto Bee while speaking to 20 volunteers in Modesto about the importance of turning out the Latino vote.
The radio airwaves in California have also featured Medina and his message to get out the vote both in Spanish and English. On Tuesday, KTLK 1150 AM and HOT 92.3 had Medina talking about the key issues on the ballot and what the election would mean for the Latino and immigrant community, from the stakes on affordable health care to immigration reform. Many other Entravision and local Spanish-language radio stations interviewed Medina, encouraging its listeners to cast the ballot in November. Fresno's NPR as well had the opportunity to capture Medina's words on MFV's current efforts.
With television appearances on many of Univision and Telemundo stations in the state, Medina didn't slow down and continued rallying volunteers and Latino voters while visiting SEIU Locals 521, 1000, and 99 as well Good Jobs L.A. He hit the phones with them, and later took to the altar on Wednesday and Friday. Medina joined Father Dean at mass in St. Mary's Catholic Church to empower attendees, many of whom are Latino members of the community, to vote. He also spoke to congregants at St. Christopher Church where Father Saul officiated a Mass Friday that was suitably titled "Faithful Citizenship."
"The more we do, the more people participate, the stronger democracy is and the stronger I think we are as a community, Medina said." The leader will continue to do more to mobilize the Latino vote as he wraps up the California tour at rallies this weekend in Panorama City and Commerce, before taking off to Colorado to unite with volunteer efforts in Denver.