Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Rising population to a rising political force: Latino Victory Project works to elevate community voice

Latino victory proyecto

In the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. works a group of people seeking to mobilize, empower and elevate the 54 million-and-growing Latino community to turn out at the voting booths, put larger numbers of Latinos into political office with financial backing and, somewhere down the road, elect a Latino or Latina to the Oval Office. The Latino Victory Project knows this is no light undertaking, but it is the precisely the challenge – and hope for the potential return on their investment – that motivates them to their ends.

“The bright promise of the future will not happen if we expect it to just take care of itself,” said Henry Muñoz III, cofounder of Latino Victory Project, along with actress and activist Eva Longoria. “For too long we have told ourselves, ‘Si Dios quiere’ (if it’s God’s will). I don’t think that’s what we have to do in the future,” Muñoz said.

With the country’s political focus fixed on 2016, a strong donor base is needed to compete with the formidable presence of competitors like the Koch Brothers, whose pledge of $889 million to conservative causes leading up to the 2016 race surely cannot be matched, but can be used compel first-time donors to contribute and participate. The group’s primary target for the short-term is dubbed “The Firsts” – Latinos who are the first to hit educational and financial milestones in their families, who Longoria endearingly refers to as the CEOs of la familia.

“We believe this is going to be the huge backbone to the long-term success of the organization, investing in our own community,” said Cristóbal Alex, the president of the Project. “What we do have is the trust of the community, investments at low dollar amounts and mid-level amounts from around the country, because people invest in their own community. We are lucky and well positioned to grow our donor base, particularly among Latinos.”

NBC News Latino