As a new citizen of the United States, Leticia Ibarra voted for the first time in a presidential election. Despite voting for Hillary Clinton, Ibarra will be in Washington D.C. to watch Donald Trump be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States — and it all happened by luck and chance.
The 33-year-old, who works for a tech company in Chicago, was watching HITN-TV, a PBS-like Spanish-language network, and heard about a contest they were hosting titled “Vive Tu Momento.” The contest, a promotional campaign to help the Latino community learn about the presidential election process and encourage voter turnout, asked participants to predict which states each presidential candidate would win. The participant with the highest number correct would win a 3-day expense-paid trip to D.C. to attend the Presidential Inauguration.
Ibarra said the campaign sparked an interest in politics between her and her husband, Sergio, and thought she’d give the contest “a shot.”
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra with her husband.
While the election results surprised Ibarra, along with the majority of the country, she still figured out the states that Trump would win — and she said it wasn’t that difficult.
“When I entered the contest, I actually felt like I had a good chance of winning,” Ibarra tells mitú. “It wasn’t a guessing game. People who really wanted to win had to do their homework and do some research. Luckily, finding the information was fairly easy. In addition to HITN-TV providing helpful resources on their website, news articles covering the election were also really helpful.”
Ibarra tells mitú that when she found out she won the contest, she was beyond thrilled. However, we couldn’t help but wonder how she’d feel about attending an inauguration for a person that not only said hateful things about Latino immigrants but a candidate that she didn’t even vote for. Ibarra says she’s remaining positive about her upcoming, and monumental, experience.
Ibarra, who was born in Michoacán, Mexico, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 with her parents and seven siblings to work in the agriculture fields in Oregon.
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra’s dad working in the fields in Oregon.
She was also the first in her family to attend a 4-year university. Ibarra says her family is very excited that she will be able to witness this historical moment.
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra now and at 11 when she migrated to the U.S.
“We’ve watched the presidential inauguration on TV for years, but I never imagined I would be there in person,” Ibarra says. “As a first-generation Mexican-American, I am proud to be able to represent my family in Washington, and share this once in a lifetime experience with my husband, who will attend the event with me.”
Interestingly enough, Ibarra has a unique perspective on her odd predicament. Unlike other anti-Trump liberals, Ibarra tells mitú that she is respecting the election system and is supporting the outcome.
CREDIT: Leticia Ibarra with her family.
“I’m hopeful that we can come together as a country and continue to respect such an important part of our democracy,” Ibarra says. “The peaceful transition of political power is one of the many reasons I am proud to be part of this great nation. It is my genuine hope that the new president will work hard to serve the needs of the American people.”
We asked her if she’s nervous about attending the ceremony considering there will be protesting going on in D.C. that same day.
“I hope that the inauguration ceremony is carried out in peace and harmony because the safety of all who attend is the most important at this event,” Ibarra says. “The unity of all of us as a country is more important than our political differences. God is the most important and after God are all of us – the people. For this reason, I hope that this event takes place peacefully and that we can be a nation of blessings for all Americans and for people around the world.”
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