A couple of days ago, my dad opened up his mailbox to find his first Oregon ballot. He moved to Oregon over a month ago. He quickly changed his address and he was surprised to find his ballot in the mail. He asked me if I knew how to fill it out and how to vote on all those measures since it’s his first time voting and all the mainstream media seems to make voting more confusing. That’s when I handed him the Spanish STAND Guide.
He was relieved to see that the Spanish STAND guide has clear language and straight-to-the point analysis for the ballot measures this year.
My dad is one of thousands of Spanish speaking immigrants in Oregon that will be filling out their ballots this year. The ROP Spanish STAND Voter Guide is created for Spanish speaking Latinos to support them in navigating their ballots and engaging in elections in Oregon.
The Spanish guide has all of the articles in the English version with a few more articles that were written to engage Latinos in our rural communities. Below I share the translated version of those extra Spanish articles: Latinos: A Growing Power, Myths of Citizenship, If You Can’t Vote.
We are just a few days away from elections and there’s still time to share the STAND guide in both English and Spanish! Please share it widely. Forward this message onto your email lists and address books!
PS- This message is one in a series with articles from Rural Organizing Project’s STAND Voter Guide. Other articles include:
- A Different Way to Look at This Year’s Election and Election Nuts and Bolts
- Thinking Through Today’s Dilemmas for a Better Tomorrow – If Democracy is to Work, Ballot Measure Analysis and more
- Take a STAND for Democracy All Year Round – Reclaim Our Democracy and Get Big Money Out of Politics
- STAND Guia Electoral – Latino Power in Elections 2012, Myths of Citizenship, If You Can’t Vote
LATINOS: A GROWING POWER
It is estimated that in the 2012 election, 10% of all voters will be Latino. This number has grown 25% since last 2008 presidential election.
On the other hand, fewer Latinos that are eligible to vote are turning in their ballot each year. Why is that?
Maybe our government’s lack of action around immigration reform is disappointing. Maybe it’s because the democratic process has been manipulated by corporations and the elite that use the “legalized bribery” of political contributions. Maybe we feel that our vote does not matter. All of these issues make us feel impatient or like we’re failing. But we need to be wise. We need to see the power that we have as a growing community, and we need to learn how to utilize our power.
POLITICIANS ARE AWARE OF OUR POWER.
Look at President Obama’s decision to grant a 2 year work permit to over a million undocumented youth! The media see our power: they call us the “Sleeping Giant.” If the media and politicians can see our power, we also need to be able to see it. This fall, we need to use that power to elect politicians and pass measures that will benefit & work for our community. Let’s wake up the Giant!
CAN’T VOTE? YOU CAN STILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Many immigrants, Resident Permanents and/or Undocumented, think that “hands are tied” when it comes to participating in politics and create positive changes in this country. But that’s not true! It’s important to keep our voices united to demand pro-immigrant laws, fair international policies, to respect everyone’s human rights and to put and end to inequality.
For instance, the “undocumented and unafraid” youth movement forced President Barack Obama to offered them temporary protection status. It’s so liberating to know that we can create positive changes, no matter the immigration status! Don’t you think?
You don’t need to have experience in social justice issues, only motivation. You can get together with other student’s parents to advocate for improvements. You can share your personal story with elected officials or with your community. You can participate in protests, making phone calls from home inviting other to join you, fund raising among your friends and family members for pro-immigrant and human dignity causes.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT CITIZENSHIP
Unfortunately, there’s so much wrong information about the immigration process. Here, we’ll clarify some of the most common myths that exist around the citizenship process:
MYTH: I’ll loose my country of origin’s citizenship status when I become a US citizen.
FACT: A majority of Latin American countries accept double-citizenship. Mexico is one of them and is very easy to find out what other countries accept it.
MYTH: The citizenship process is expensive, and if I ask for financial help my application will be rejected.
FACT: There’s financial help for individuals with low-incomes, if qualified. You can apply for citizenship at no cost. To ask for financial help won’t affect your application. If you have to pay, in the long run it pays off as you don’t have to pay to renew your residency.
MYTH: I have to speak perfect English without an accent.
FACT: You only need to learn basic English and the accent does not matter. There are free English classes in your community. The public library has other resources to learn English in your own home on your free time.
MYTH: The test is really hard.
FACT: When you go to your citizenship interview, only a few questions out of 100 that you study get asked around history, civics, reading and writing. If you don’t pass any part of the test, you get rescheduled to present only that part at no extra cost.
MYTH: I’m too old to become a citizen.
FACT: Age does not matter. If you are of retirement age you can qualify to present the test in your mother tongue. If you speak dialect, you only need to provide your own interpreter.
If you would like to start your citizenship process, contact CAUSA at 1-855-884-2287.