LATINO VOTE Documentary Explains Why We Are Not Monolithic

“The reality is that Latinos are not monolithic.” Maybe this should have been the name of this new LATINO VOTE documentary. It’s is the overarching theme of the film that is an up-to-the-minute look at the ever-evolving 2020 election through the eyes of Latino voters. 

WATCH Trailer here: https://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/3046912662/

“The reality is that Latinos are not monolithic.”

I’ve said a version of this. Others have, too. But is anyone listening? Chuck Rocha, senior advisor to Bernie Sanders, emphasizes this truth in this  LATINO VOTE: DISPATCHES FROM THE BATTLEGROUND which airs tonight on PBS VOCES.

This documentary highlights a few Hispanic/Latino/x groups:

  • The Hispanic Conservatives
  • The Hispanic Evangelicals
  • Bernie’s Latinx supporters 
Latino Vote Documentary on PBS - Unidos Con Bernie
Photo courtesy of PBS

One group supported Bernie Sanders in the 2020 presidential race, a candidate who showed up for them early on and did so consistently – and in both English and Spanish.

The Hispanic Evangelicals may be politically homeless. If you are a Hispanic Evangelical are you progressive or conservative? “No political Party has a monopoly on gospel values or Hispanic priorities,” says Dr. Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.

Throwback: Identity Crisis in Faith and Politics No More – Get Real

Yet, a different Hispanic preacher has been to the White House more than 10 times. Pasqual Urrabazo, Associate Pastor, International Church of Las Vegas has advised the current president how to win the Latino vote. His biggest piece of advice was to stop using the word Mexican. He says that it’s offensive to Latinos but suggests that as Christians, they will forgive what offends them.

Jessica Fernandez, Chair, Florida Federation of Young Republicans, doesn’t want the country to slip in to socialism or communism as their family had experienced in Cuba. She is a first-generation American. However, a Cuban-American immigrant, Daniela Ferrera who is volunteering for the Biden campaign, is more concerned of the similarities of authoritarianism she sees today in the U.S.

The Latino Vote Outreach in 2020

So many Latinos with similarities and extreme differences. How can we still be considered one voting bloc?

Latinos will be the largest non-white voting block in 2020. And, we won’t all vote the same. We’ve heard it before but let me remind you that Latino stories are American stories. Our differences are just like any other group of Americans. We come from different places, families, neighborhoods, schools, etc. Our priorities vary from family to family, even person to person.

“More campaigns are engaging us for the same reason Donald Trump is attacking us. There are more of us. We have the ability to sway this election,” says Laura Jiménez, Latino Engagement Director, Joe Biden Campaign.

How does anyone reach Latino/x voters? MOVE Texas meets them where they are. Alex Birnal,  Advocacy Manager, MOVE Texas, has been encouraged by his parents to continue to develop his political voice so he now registers young people all over Texas to vote.

“Registering voters is a critical form of self-defense for those voters against campaigns that may look at them in a one-dimensional way,” says Birnal.

It’s up to us as Latinos to determine which campaigns see us this way.

Producer and Director, Bernardo Ruiz explores how Hispanic/Latino/x voters are not monolithic and why in Latino Vote on PBS. I am encouraged that when people watch this, they may better understand why one message will not resonate with an entire group of Latinos. Reminder! We still can’t agree on a determiner – Hispanic, Latino, Latina, Latinx, or something else. That should be the first indication that we are not monolithic. But my hope is that we all adopt one label: VOTER.

“Optimism is our greatest tool”- A Mi Familia Vota Volunteer

Latino Vote Documentary on PBS - Mi Familia Vota
Photo courtesy of PBS

Latino Vote Documentary on PBS – October 6, 2020

“As one of the nation’s most trusted sources for news and public affairs programming, PBS is pleased to air ‘Latino Vote’ and shine a light on the important role this community will play in our upcoming democratic process,” said Perry Simon, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming. 

Major funding for“Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground” was provided by the Ford Foundation; PBS; ITVS,the leading documentary co-producer and distributor for public media; and Latino Public Broadcasting, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

Original content creator for ¿Qué Means What? Texas Latina mom blogger celebrating culture in education, entertainment and family life.

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