LULAC to target Latino voters in swing states ahead of 2024
The nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic and Latin-American civil rights organization announced their election goals at its national conference in Albuquerque.
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The League of the United Latin American Citizens, (LULAC) the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic and Latin-American civil rights organization hosted its annual convention in Albuquerque, which ran from July 31 to August 5.
Local and national leaders were in attendance along with guest speakers that touched on issues and policies that affect the Latino community.
Guest speakers included Danny Olivas, Mario Diaz and Dolores Huerta, the trailblazing Latina labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the United Farmworkers Association, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers.
Domingo Garcia, president of LULAC, spoke at the nonpartisan group’s national conference in Albuquerque who emphasized the importance and unveiled their direct plans to invest in Latino voter mobilization ahead of a critical 2024 Presidential race.
“There are no more signs – No Mexicans, no dogs allowed – it’s not an overt discrimination like we had in the past,” Garcia said. “It’s harder to get younger Latinos to get involved in the social justice struggles, but that’s where we’re going to be focusing to get a new generation of Latinos and Latinas to take over.”
LULAC’s sister group, Chicanos por La Causa, announced August 3 that both organizations would come together to invest $10 million in Latino voter mobilization with a specific focus in Arizona and Nevada, as their small margins were the deciders of the 2022 elections.
“Our voice is our vote. If we want to be heard, we’ve got to do it at the ballot box,” said David Adame, president of Chicanos por la Causa. “The Latino vote already is showing an impact on election outcomes, but we’ve just scratched the surface. There’s no stopping us now.”
Chicanos por la Causa previously invested $10 million towards voter mobilization in Arizona during last year’s midterms, which resulted in the registration of over 37,000 new voters in the state.
“We have the numbers, and we have the energy,” Garcia said at the press conference. “We just need to tap into both to ensure more Latino candidates are elected, and more Latino issues are being addressed by elected officials.”
LULAC said it’s working to bring new membership into its own ranks as the nearly 100-year-old organization averted from its former policies, such as immigration control.
LULAC came under fire in 2016 when its then-president Roger Rocha touted former President Donald Trump’s immigration plan, which featured the infamous proposal to build a border wall. Many immigrant rights groups called Trump’s plan regressive but did not stop Rocha from praising the border wall in spite of opposition from the organization’s board.
However, members say they’ve left behind the “old LULAC” which wasn’t as engaging.
“Now there’s a lot more inclusivity…where we can actually get (member) feedback and sense where our membership is at instead of taking a decision,” said Delma Gorostieta, vice president for young adults at LULAC and a member of the organization since she was in high school.
“It might be a good decision, but if that’s not where our members are going, we’re a member-based organization so that gives a lot of power to our members and I think that brings in more members,” she added.
LULAC historically has built Latino political power because of the number of issues they’ve tackled, including deported veterans, improving education opportunities, workforce development and protections for civil rights.