Votamos, We Vote Coalition Engages Latinx/Hispanic Communities in Delaware
WILMINGTON—“There are two major goals of the Votamos, We Vote Coalition: For people in Delaware’s Latin@s/Hispan@s communities to get involved from a civic engagement standpoint, and to share the idea that members of our community need to vote in order to be the voice for those who do not have the right to vote.” — Charito Calvachi-Mateyko.
At a press conference earlier today, the Votamos, We Vote Coalition, which launched in 2020 as Delaware’s first statewide coalition of advocates working toward the advancement of Latin@s/Hispan@s communities, took a deep dive into their work to build political and community power in the First State.
During a virtual press conference held via Zoom webinar, several members of the Votamos, We Vote coalition discussed voter engagement efforts, advocacy needs, bilingual poll worker recruitment, and the launch of the coalition’s new website, VotamosDE.org.
The panel of speakers included Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, founder of the Votamos, We Vote Coalition, Karelin Torres, University of Delaware, Laura Leos, founder of La Central DE, and Reyna Bahena Alvarez, an immigrant community member in Delaware. The press conference was moderated by Meera Devotta, voter campaign manager for the ACLU of Delaware (ACLU-DE).
Delaware's Latin@s/Hispan@s communities are growing significantly, particularly in the rural southern part of the state where immigrants have relocated to work in poultry factories, farms, and nurseries. With growing immigrant communities, the need for effective and collaborative advocacy on issues ranging from access to healthcare, law enforcement, and access to government services has increased exponentially.
Bahena Alvarez spoke from a personal account about how the efforts of the Votamos, We Vote Coalition have a real impact on members of Delaware’s immigrant communities. “I work in the poultry farm, am involved in our community, and have always paid my taxes. I'm a legal resident of Delaware — but I don’t have the right to vote. I am asking everyone who has the opportunity to vote to be our voice so that one day, we might have the right to vote, too.”
Torres, who’s spearheading a recruitment effort to bring bilingual poll workers to Delaware’s elections, discussed the need for this kind of resource in order to increase accessibility at the polls for people who don’t speak English as their first language. “As a bilingual poll worker recruiter, I’m seeking poll workers in all three counties to help ensure that the voices of people in our communities are heard with our votes.”
The press conference was held primarily in Spanish, and live translation to English was provided for attendees.
Members of the Votamos, We Vote Coalition include ACLU of Delaware , DE Civil Rights Coalition, DelACA , Department of Elections Commissioner , Immigrant Justice from the News Castle Presbyterian Church, Latin American Community Center , League of Women Voters-DE , Network Delaware , Office of the Delaware Ltd. Governor, Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network , Wilmington-NAACP, YWCA Delaware , and Common Cause Delaware.
To learn more about the Votamos, We Vote Coalition, or to check out the new website, visit VotamosDE.org.
A recording of the press conference in English can be found online here: https://youtu.be/ouSEBKJzsIk
A recording of the press conference en Español can be found here: https://youtu.be/Zb9muA4G2lk
More information on bilingual poll worker recruitment is available here: https://www.votamosde.org/en/get-involved/