A two day “Power Summit” in Silicon Valley, staged by the ten-year-old nonpartisan organization VotoLatino, gathered hundreds of Latino millennials together to push a “get out and vote” message and to support immigration reform and crucial political campaigns.
Rosario Dawson, chairwoman of Voto Latino, said that “This being an election year, it’s especially critical.”
Twenty-two year old San Jose State University student Jessica Puentes, referred to as an iPhone-generation voter by the San Jose Mercury News, remarked that, “I’ve realized how powerful (voting) can be… Unfortunately, I see most Latinos don’t do that. They don’t come together; they don’t use their voice.”
In the last presidential election only 48 percent of eligible Latinos voted, a figure considered worrisome to Latino groups, reported the News. Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino contends that Latinos are continually making up a growing percentage of the voting-age population and that is why the Summit is focusing on voters 18-35.
“It doesn’t matter how small or large the population is of Latinos (in a state),” Kumar explained after her “Power Summit” speech where she addressed a ballroom full of future Latino business leaders and politicians. “There is an incredible need to address issues of leadership.”
The Latino empowerment organization chose the Silicon Valley to convene its summit because it has been using social media to promote voter turn-out and Latinos are a minimal factor in the tech workforce.
Dawson who starred in “Men in Black II” and “Sin City,” laments that Latinos represent such a small percentage of people working in tech. However, she insists that Latino youth are as tech-savvy as any demographic group in the country.