While the streets are filled with slogans and banners responding to the structural racism that led to George Floyd’s death, a phenomenon is emerging in other spheres of public life.
According to CNBC, street protests have coincided with increased voter registration, volunteer activity, and donations to groups linked to Democratic causes.
With only months to go before the presidential elections, this phenomenon seems to indicate a community awakening that seeks to change the political system, starting with the defeat of Donald Trump in November.
As explained by Latino voter registration groups, in recent weeks street protests have fueled the mobilization of communities, especially young voters, toward increased voter registration as collateral to the “nationwide outrage directed at police brutality, and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.”
It seems then to be a collision of discontents that filled the glass of the citizens’ patience.
Among the more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, the profound and unequal unemployment in communities of color, and police violence, many communities in the country seem to be mobilizing for another kind of protest: the vote.
Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, told CNBC the group has already surpassed its June goal of registering 20,000 people, including in the key states of Arizona and Texas, and is expected to have 50,000 Latino youth registered by Sunday.
She said they’ve done extensive digital test ads in states across the country tying the need to vote to what Latinos are witnessing in the protests. She said the group has leaped over its June target of spending $140,000 in those two Southwest states, where polls show a tight race between Trump and Biden.
“Latinxs are a huge and growing voting bloc, and if we all come out to the polls to flex our power, there’s nothing to stop us from having a reflective, inclusive, and accountable government. It all starts with registering to vote,” says their campaign.
“Voting is the most effective way to make your voice heard on the issues that matter most to you. Don’t like the direction the country is headed in? Vote. Don’t feel like politicians are listening to you? They will if you vote. Want representatives that look like, are from your community, and share your values? It starts with voting.”
Similarly, other nonprofit organizations have seen a parallel trend.
Mi Familia Vota, for example, has registered “up to 3,000 new voters this week” throughout states such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.
Rock the Vote, another nonprofit dedicated to registering voters, has seen “historic results” in just the past week, with over 50,000 new voters since Monday, according to CEO Carolyn DeWitt told CNBC.
Considering that in 2020 around 32 million Latinx people will be eligible to vote, stimulating turnout among the population is more important than ever. And for the Democrats, the protests over the death of George Floyd, as well as the government’s negligent response, are fertile ground for this.
Between former President Barack Obama’s statements inviting everyone to vote, the efforts of groups like his wife’s When We All Vote, and grassroots political campaigns at the local level, it is possible that the Latino vote will finally be given the attention it deserves.