#iVote because I matter. #iVote because you do, too.

#iVote because I don’t want to be left behind; because I feel like I’m voting for someone who’s going to do right for my community and not just me; because I have a voice.
#iVote because my grandmother came to give my mother, aunts and uncles a better life.
#iVote because my father ventured into an unknown country and gained his opportunities.
#iVote because I want my community to be recognized. #iVote because there are plenty of undocumented, deserving, immensely intelligent individuals who can’t.
#iVote because there is a power in many voices.
#iVote so that my country doesn’t end up in the deepest gutter; so that I can still remain prideful in something my family has put work into; so that people remember that money is not everything, but human beings are.

#iVote because I matter. 

After creating this video with Pícaro and watching the videos of each person highlighted in the short, I have realized why I vote and it’s not just because my mother told me to.

I went to my uncle’s house to record his reasons. After about an hour of sitting there and listening to the majority of his reasoning on politics and his talks with my grandfather and such, he narrowed down his reasoning to loving the country his parents brought him to for a better life. When you love something, you want to be as much a part of it as you can. For him, decision-making is a huge deal and voting affects us all because our life is determined by the outcome of the votes. We need to be a part of it, he said. The fact that my grandfather loved it here also struck a chord with me, especially since I never met him.

This concept idea came after a long development meeting in our partners, Wendy and Matt’s living room. Bottom line came when another one of our team members, Marla, said something about mimes silently condemning drivers for not slowing down at crosswalks for pedestrians. How did this conclude to to an #iVote video? Well, here’s how.

The majority of our parents and immigrant family members crossed the borders into this country of ours in order to survive and make a better life for our families. To hear that voting across the country was dwindling and that people didn’t feel it important to vote, well that’s just a slap in the face to the people who helped us succeed to who we are today. Bottom line, this video was to wake people up and encourage them to vote for what they believed in. Not for policy, but the real reason.

By not voting, in my eyes, you might as well not appreciate what was done for you; it becomes a slap in the face to those who did something to better your future.

My grandfather worked laborious jobs to provide for a family in Mexico, which brought my grandmother, two uncles and my twin aunts in her belly to this side of the border. My paternal grandfather was a bracero, working in the southwest to provide for my dad and his cousins. My father then crossed the border as a teenager to see what opportunities lay ahead for him. All of my family members vote.

In order to be counted, in order to have an opinion, in order to know that you’re not being left in the dust to fend for yourself, you have to stand up and say something. You have to be a part of the whole and in this country, we are privileged to have the opportunity to vote. Now, many have resented this idea, saying that all politicians are corrupt and no matter what we do, we will not have a fair shot in an election. That’s crazy talk!

It’s only because for every one person who doesn’t vote, there’s a whole bunch of people, in other cities, from other parties who do. That’s how we become silenced. Muted. That’s why they don’t hear us.

In Chicago, we have a slew of local and municipal elections which, in fact, affect the bigger picture. Voting in presidential elections is definitely important, but voting for your alderman, judges, state representatives and state senators is just as important because they decide how your taxes should be distributed, how your neighborhood looks, whether or not you’ll have a new park or greenery and they are to be held accountable for any types of mishaps that happen within the designated area.  Find out who your local representatives are!

Because our families came to this country, left what they knew behind and worked their tails off to give us a better shot at success, the LEAST we can do is spend, at most, 10 minutes at the polls this November 6 and every time there is a municipal election.

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