Poder Latinx is an organization focused on registering people to vote, encouraging civic participation and civic education. Created seven months ago with the urgent need to engage the Latinx vote in the country’s most populous states, the organization is composed of 95 percent Latina organizers and voting experts with years of on-the-ground experience. The number of recently naturalized immigrants eligible to vote has risen 93 percent — from 12 million in 2000 to 23.2 million in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. This means that this year, the Latinx vote is more important than ever. Since its inception, Poder Latinx has registered over 30,000 voters in Arizona and Florida alone and is on track to meet our goal of 70,000 voter registrations before the November elections.
In states all across the country, canvassers have knocked on thousands of doors inspiring voters to join a movement that is making profound changes in their communities and encouraging them to participate in all aspects of civic life. We know because we have been talking to them and they are ready to take on their role as one of the most important voting blocks in the Southwest.
At this time of national crisis, Poder Latinx is focusing on the needs of Latinx working families who will be most deeply impacted by the economic disruptions caused by the Coronavirus by supporting common-sense legislation that puts working families first. Our experts:
Yadira is an advocate for Latinx civic empowerment. She is a co-founder and is serving as Co-Executive Director of Poder Latinx. Yadira served as the Development Director for Mi Familia Vota, where she helped raise over $20 million and triple the number of strategic partnerships with major organizations and allies to increase year-round civic participation within the Latinx community. As a proud daughter of immigrants, Yadira has worked tirelessly to advance the rights of immigrants including supporting the Fast for Families Campaign for immigration reform during her time in the Immigration Department at the SEIU. Yadira is a board member of the Dialogue on Diversity, a nonprofit dedicated to the social and political advancement of women of color. She was recently selected as a 40 under 40 honoree by the American Association of Political Consultants. In 2017, she was selected as a 40 under 40 honoree by the Leadership Center for Excellence and an Up and Coming Practitioner Finalist by the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference.
Ben is a Co-founder of Mi Familia Vota and served as Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota until April 2019. Ben immigrated to the U.S. in 1977 without documents and got his start as a janitor in Los Angeles, becoming a member of SEIU and later in 1981, as a labor organizer. Ben rose through SEIU ranks to become a national Latino leader, creating programs to increase Latino civic and voter participation at a time when traditional voter and civic campaigns largely ignored Latino communities.
Many have come to know Ben as a champion and leader for many immigrants’ rights campaigns dating back to 1994 when he helped lead the fight against California’s Proposition 187, an extreme anti-immigrant ballot initiative that proposed stripping basic human and civil rights from immigrants. With that battle came the realization that instead of playing defense, the immigrant rights community needed to assert its rights by working to repair the broken immigration system.
That effort led to the founding of Mi Familia Vota, where Ben served as co-founder and Executive Director for more than 20 years. Through his decades-long work as a strategic and skillful organizer, Ben has been at the forefront of efforts to turn legal permanent residents into citizens, and new citizens into voters to grow the power of the Latino vote and its level of civic engagement. By building coalitions among community organizations, businesses, and faith-based groups, as well as optimizing the power of Spanish-Language media, Ben has been instrumental in the social justice movement and advancing the lives of Latinos and immigrants in the U.S.
All individuals are available on the day of the debate and primaries via Skype.