What is the Mi Familia Vota’s primary issue focus?
Mi Familia Vota Education Fund is a Latinx-led organization with the largest field operation in the nation that uses a holistic approach to building political power including sophisticated grassroots outreach, digital engagement, issue advocacy, youth leadership development, and litigation. We are located in 7 strategic states — AZ, CA, CO, GA, FL, NV, & TX — and engage our community around the most prevalent issues to ensure the construction of a healthy democracy and the advancement of a national Latinx progressive agenda. Mi Familia Vota utilizes a variety of strategies to reach our community including citizenship, door-to-door voter education, registration and mobilization, issue organizing as well as leadership development, advocacy, accountability campaigns, and litigation.
What is something Mi Familia Vota is currently prioritizing? Can you tell our readers a little about the goals of the campaign/project?
In 2020, for the first time in our organization’s history, after four years of constant attacks and divisive policies against our community, MFV took the historic step of vehemently opposing Donald Trump’s bid for a second term. Through our 501(c)(4) infrastructure, we launched #BastaTrump, a campaign to forcefully stop the President’s re-election by educating and mobilizing Latino voters about the consequences of a second term. Through Get Out the Vote (GOTV) programs, we made 7 million voter contacts in 10 key battleground states. This campaign won us the Reed awards for Best Field Pivot Amid COVID and Best Bootstrapped Field Campaign of the year. We were able to elect Senators in Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia that stand for a progressive Latinx agenda and most importantly were successful in voting Trump out of office.
This year we have focused on continuing the fight to ensure that our community’s voice is not diluted. Throughout the redistricting process, we have implemented a systematic legal strategy as well as a field program to fight against gerrymandered districts. Voter suppression, in general, has run rampant throughout our country this year and MFV has been vigilant in this fight by educating our community on disinformation and ensuring that their vote is not suppressed through this interference. Furthermore, we have taken action through advocacy in the field and litigation to combat voter suppression measures such as SB1 in Texas and SB 90 in Florida. We have also been preparing to get out the vote in 2022 by registering eligible Latinx voters, educating our community, and training up volunteers in key states so Latinos are prepared to choose representatives in local, state, and national races that reflect the needs of our community. Finally, MFV has ensured that our community has had access to key resources including rental assistance, the child tax credit, vaccine access, and stimulus checks. MFV’s year-round engagement of our community and earned the trust of the Latinx community throughout the country has allowed us to ensure the continuous construction of a healthy democracy.
Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns? Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy?
Hector Sanchez Barba, Mi Familia Vota Executive Director and CEO, has a tip for those working in the trenches to influence change within their community;
“Advocacy is most effective when you have the power of your community of voters behind you to ensure that their voices are heard and when it is connected to multiyear engagement. Individuals need to make the connection between their discussions with their elected officials and the tangible change they see in their community. It is crucial that you not only advocate on behalf of your community but provide them with the tools to advocate on behalf of themselves and discuss the issues that are important to them and their everyday lives with their elected officials.”
The ongoing cycle of civic participation is what will continue to ensure that the Latinx community is not overlooked or disenfranchised in the future.
Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative on c3/c4 advocacy rules and guidance, and our Justice programs on the importance of the courts and judicial nominations. How has either or both most helped you? How have you worked with either or both?
MFV leverages our c3 and c4 entities, as well as our leadership status to convene, co-lead, and participate in the most important national and local Latino, civic engagement and issue coalitions around voting rights, immigration, environmental justice, education, healthcare, and workers rights. Bolder Advocacy has provided us with training and guidance on how best we can leverage our two entities.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by the members of our community who are working to improve our democracy as a whole by dreaming big, taking action, and fighting for the Latinx community, those members who have chosen to step out of their comfort zone and run for office for the first time, our youth who launch campaigns on their campuses, and all those fighting to ensure that the Latinx voice is heard.
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