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Melissa Mark-Viverito is the interim president of the Latino Victory Project. Photo: Latino Victory Fund
Melissa Mark-Viverito is the interim president of the Latino Victory Project. Photo: Latino Victory Fund.

The Latino Victory Fund deploys its strength for Latino political representation

This new organization seeks to support young Latino progressive candidates who represent the future of the Democratic Party.

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If we have learned anything during the last four years of political life in the United States, it's that the minority force is the real driving force for change.

However, at this point, the representation of the Latino community in the political sphere leaves much to be desired.

After the mid-term elections last November, about 36 Latinos hold a seat in the House of Representatives and four in the Senate; but in a country, with 57.5 million Hispanics (17.8 percent of the population), these numbers don't add up.

This is the reason behind several nationwide initiatives to promote the positioning of Latinos in executive roles at all levels, a feat that could finally break the disparity.

A PAC by and for Latinos

One of these growing initiatives is the Latino Victory Fund, a progressive political action committee (PAC) founded five years ago by actress Eva Longoria and former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee Henry Muñoz, the first Latino and openly gay man to take the job.

"Our job is to support Latino candidates at all levels of government," explained Melissa Mark-Viverito, interim president of the organization, to AL DÍA News. "To develop the Latino leadership, you have to start from the most local positions, to create a base of support, and that is the mission of Latino Victory."

During the 2017-2018 cycle alone, the organization raised four million dollars for campaigns, and in 2018 it endorsed more than 50 candidates.

As explained by Mark-Viverito, the goal for 2020 is to double that figure.

"Due to the success we have had, many Latino candidates are getting to know the work we are doing and are actively seeking our support," she added.

The Latino Victory studies in detail the campaigns and proposals of each of the candidates through interviews and data evaluation; the board of directors then decides what kind of support will be given to each of the individuals.

"It's essential that each candidate is aligned with our priorities and our vision, and our new battlefield is to increase the number of progressive Latino candidates to support," explained the president, adding that this year, they already have 11 candidates they are supporting — two of whom are in Philadelphia.

In search of the new Latino voice

Fernando Treviño and Adrián Rivera-Reyes, two young Latinos — and, in the case of Rivera-Reyes, a member of the LGBTQ community — who represent that progressive, young,  immigrant population that still hasn't found its voice in local politics.

"What we are trying to do in cities like Philadelphia is to achieve equitable representation through candidates that give voice to the population," Mark-Viverito said.

The Latino Victory Fund focuses its work on young candidates, who represent the future of the Democratic Party, and whose proposals align with the progressive direction and priorities of the vast majority of the country.

Each of the candidates recognized by Latino Victory has carried out their own campaigns individually, through grassroots efforts, and by speaking directly to the Hispanic community in their area. The endorsement of the organization comes with financial and strategic support to help them make a break with the American political traditionalism.

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