‘Vota Jota,’ An Intersectional Campaign For The Latinx, Trans, and Queer Vote

Vota Jota BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of votajota.learningandliberation.org

Activist organizations for the rights of the undocumented, Latinx, and queer communities have joined forces in an unprecedented campaign to mobilize the vote for the upcoming elections.

Knowing what is at stake with the possible re-election of Donald Trump, organizations such as Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Mijente, and The Center for Cultural Power have launched a digital campaign through several videos of undocumented activists and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Jota is the equivalent of ‘queer’ in Spanish, and we’re reclaiming that word,” said queer and undocumented filmmaker Armando Ibañez, director of the campaign videos, to BELatina. The campaign is an initiative of Familia and is focused on encouraging the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S. to vote.

“Actually, 9 million of LGBTQ+ citizens are eligible to vote, but 20% of them are not registered to vote,” Ibañez explained.

The director’s idea was to create campaign videos that include LGBTQ+ undocumented immigrants “because we do have a voice; we do have a power to encourage citizens and to create change.”

The campaign’s powerful message is in the voices of agents of change in front and behind the camera, all undocumented queer immigrants.

“Undocumented artists and immigrants have been doing this work for many years, community organizing towards social justice,” Ibañez continued.

For Familia, the campaign highlights that undocumented immigrants don’t have the right to vote in the country and seek to amplify their voices through grassroots political work, making clear the needs of one of the fundamental drivers of the economy.

“We have groups and groups of undocumented immigrants across the country who are trying to get citizens to vote, and who believe in the democracy in this country; who believe in the political process, even though they’ve been harmed by politics throughout the history of this country,” said Kat Evasco, Sr. Program Director at the Center for Cultural Power.

Ibañez proposed the idea of a digital video campaign that would show the actual intersectionality of the LGBTQ+ immigrant community, using an artistic format that coincided with the Center for Cultural Power’s line of work.

“We’re working really hard to get people to vote, even though we cannot vote,” added Evasco, who is also a queer immigrant.

“We know we need a new administration because we know that we are in danger. For LGBTQ+ folks, so many rights are being repealed. We’re talking about 30 to 40 years of this movement being reversed,” she explained.

From the right to equal marriage to discrimination against the transgender community in the U.S., these organizations are working hard to safeguard the undocumented LGBTQ+ community’s rights, even though the entire political machine insists on silencing their voices.