Chaired and co-founded by Actor Rosario Dawson, and led by President & CEO Maria Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino empowers Latino Millennials to make positive change in their communities
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Voto Latino, a non-partisan civic engagement organization co-founded in 2004 by Actor and Activist, Rosario Dawson, who serves as Chairwoman, and led by Maria Teresa Kumar, its founding President and CEO, announces the launch of a year-long celebration in honor of their 10-year anniversary kicking off today.
To commemorate a decade of Latino civic engagement reaching over 38 million people, Voto Latino is planning:
- Voto Latino’s “Share Your Story” campaign will collect and share the stories of those who have been moved to action through the organization’s efforts.
- A Voto Latino tech contest promoting Latino innovation to be announced later this year.
- Voto Latino’s “Power Summit” will be a four-city leadership training conference educating, empowering and engaging Millennials.
- Voto Latino’s “Trend Ur Voice” will be the largest-ever online voter registration campaign to register Latino voters.
- Voto Latino continues their successful Affordable Care Act Google Hangout series.
- Voto Latino will again co-manage National Voter Registration Day to create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities.
- Voto Latino’s “Rep Ur Letters” will be a campaign encouraging Latino Greeks to register others to vote.
- The year will culminate with a Voto Latino Gala in November.
In the early 2000s, there was little reference to the challenges facing Latino communities and insufficient engagement through relevant technologies like mobile. Most outreach was done in Spanish, effectively alienating first- and second-generation Latinos who are bilingual and proud to be both American and Latino, and the power of popular Latino celebrities was underused. Voto Latino was started with the goal of using these elements to empower Latino youth.
Ten years later, Voto Latino has not only played an influential role in modernizing elections by launching the first text message voter registration drive, but the organization has also registered to vote nearly a quarter-million voters and moved millions more into action through its media campaigns.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 10 years than by taking Voto Latino on the road to train thousands of Latino Millennials and culminating in awarding grants to those who come up with solutions that address their communities’ challenges!” says Kumar. “This past decade, Voto Latino not only galvanized millions to the voting booth but we’ve grown to train leaders, provide tools for Latinos to advocate for themselves and better yet, give them the space to fulfill their great ideas.”
There are more than 15 million Latino Millennials in the country today. More of them are voting since 2000 and 2004, but only a fraction remain civically and politically engaged. Through unique, integrated programs, Voto Latino hopes to continue to change this narrative.
By the presidential election of 2024, which will coincide with the organization’s 20th anniversary, Kumar hopes Voto Latino’s work will be influential in pushing Latino voter turnout to reach 75 percent, up from the 48 percent of Latinos that turned out to vote in 2012.
“I co-founded Voto Latino to help give future generations of American Latinos the opportunity to follow our forebears’ legacy of service and a platform where they can write the history books of tomorrow,” adds Dawson. “We’re thankful to our supporters like Wilmer Valderrama, America Ferrera, Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, Dolores Huerta, and many others, who know the work we do together is not only important for the Latino community, but to the country as a whole.”