I don’t usually lose sleep over presidential elections, but this one has me tossing and turning every night. What worries me most is that people won’t vote. This campaign has been more negative than any I have seen since I first got interested in politics in the 1960s. I try to put myself into the shoes of people who have just reached the age where they can vote for the first time in their lives. I don’t blame them for being horrified by what they are witnessing, and for not wanting to be part of the process.
But many younger voters and organizers have been able to see beyond the barrage of nasty rhetoric, attack advertising and political spinning to find ways to make a positive contribution to the democratic process. It is their stories that we are highlighting in this issue of the Feet in 2 Worlds online magazine, Democracy from the Ground Up: Young Immigrants and the 2016 Election.
This issue is part of our ongoing focus on younger voters this year which also includes the Unidos mobile app that offers resources for Latino millennials in the 2016 election.
In this issue you’ll meet young activists in Florida who are attempting to create a Puerto Rican voting bloc that will support the interests of communities on the mainland and on the island of Puerto Rico. They are using Florida’s pivotal role in the 2016 election as a jumping off point, but also looking toward the future.
From Minnesota we bring you the story of Ilhan Omar, poised to be the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature. Omar’s campaign has energized and inspired young people from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds to get involved in local politics.
A conversation with New York City Council member Ritchie Torres offers insights on how a young Latino from the projects found his way into electoral politics. Torres comes from a district with extremely low voter participation, and he talks about the challenges of turning around that trend.
We reached out to young voters and activists around the country for this issue. You’ll find conversations with a “DACAmented” Mexican-American woman from California who is working on voter registration, a Latino millennial Trump supporter from Florida, a Chinese-American who uses technology and music to engage Asian-American voters, and many others.
Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation an anonymous donor and readers like you.