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Schools, Weed, And Crime. Here’s Why Californians Should Register To Vote Beyond The Presidency

Today, Oct. 24, marks the last day you can register to vote for the upcoming Nov. 8 election in California. If you’re too lazy to fill out an application by hand, you can register to vote here. And while the state is already in the win column for Hillary Clinton (California hasn’t voted Republican since 1988 and that won’t change in 2016), that doesn’t mean that your vote doesn’t count. Quite the contrary. There’s a lot at stake on the ballot that directly impacts you. Here are some propositions that makes your vote more meaningful than you think.

Legal Weed

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Credit: “Black Sheep”/Giphy

In California (and in the rest of the country, technically), possession of marijuana for recreational use is illegal. If passed, Proposition 64 would make  California the fifth state behind Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Beyond legitimizing something that everyone already does anyway, the passing of Proposition 64 would be a big blow to the federal “war on drugs,” which has disproportionately wreaked havoc on communities of color.

Bilingual Education

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Credit: Voto Latino/Giphy

In 1998, California passed Proposition 227 and got rid of bilingual education. As the Los Angeles Times notes, part of the reason why that proposition passed was anti-immigrant sentiment. 18 years after that vote, Californians have the option of bringing bilingual education back. This is a good thing. Bilingual education has proven to be an effective way of getting kids who don’t speak English to pick up the language. There’s also a lot of research that suggests that bilingual people are likely smarter than those who only speak one language. Who wouldn’t want smarter kids?

Less Crowded Jails

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Proposition 57 might be the most consequential measure on the ballot. If passed, Prop 57 would do two things: 1) it would make it easier for those in prison for a non-violent crime to get parole, and 2) it would leave it up to judges to decide whether a minor gets tried for an adult. The first would make it easier for those who were convicted of a nonviolent offense to be paroled and go through rehabilitation instead of sitting in an overcrowded jail. The second, perhaps more importantly, is that it would prevent overzealous prosecutors from trying to make an example out of kids and try them as adults. Proposition 57 could have serious impact on the Latino community given that we are disproportionately jailed more than our white counterparts.

PLEASE PLEASE VOTE!

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Credit: “Lemonade”/Giphy

Your vote really does count. Plus, Beyonce is asking you to go do it, and you want to listen to Queen Bey on this.

READ: This Burrito Truck Will Bring You To Tears

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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Things That Matter

California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Brent Stirton / Getty Images

The world is racing to vaccinate everyone to put a stop to the relentless Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., states and counties are rolling out their own plans based on suggestions from health experts. California, home to the largest population of farmworkers, is making them a priority.

California has laid out their vaccination plan and farmworkers are being prioritized.

California is facing a relentless Covid-19 surge of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. According to The New York Times, California has the second-highest level of infections per capita in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have died of Covid in California and the vaccination effort has been severely lagging.

California’s vaccination plan has been criticized for its very slow roll out.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 816,000 doses of the virus have been given to residents. There have been more than 2 million vaccine doses shipped to California. Currently, California, the most populated state in the country, is still in Phase 1A. Phase 1A is for healthcare workers and long-term care residents. The Vaccinate All 58 campaign claims that there are 3 million people in California in Phase 1A. Almost 40 million people live in California.

Activists have been calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to make sure that farmworkers are prioritized.

California is home to the largest concentration of farmworkers in the U.S. The Center for Farmworker Families claims that 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, or about 1/3 to 1/2 of the farmworker populations, live in California. Seventy-five percent of farmworkers in California are undocumented.

As the rest of the state was able to shelter in place, farmworkers did not stop working. They provided a necessary lifeline to the nation in keeping the food supply running. Farmworkers are more likely to contract Covid because of their living conditions. Studies show that the low wages that farmworkers are paid means that many live in crowded conditions.

READ: As The U.S. Rolls Out The COVID-19 Vaccine, What’s The Future Of Vaccine Access In Latin America?

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Gavin Newsom Appoints Alex Padilla To Kamala Harris’ Vacant Senate Seat

Things That Matter

Gavin Newsom Appoints Alex Padilla To Kamala Harris’ Vacant Senate Seat

Credit: DNCC via Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is leaving behind a Senate seat representing California. Gov. Gavin Newsom was under pressure to appoint a person of color and he is coming through. Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State of California, will be filling the seat.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed the first Latino senator from California.

Alex Padilla has a spent more than a decade serving the people in California from Los Angeles City Council president to California Senate to secretary of state. Padilla was the favorite to take the seat and gives Southern California rare representation in the United States Senate. As Secretary of State of California, Padilla stood against President Trump and refused to turn over voter data to the administration in 2017.

Padilla was raised by hard working immigrants.

Padilla’s mother and father emigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles individually and eventually met and married. As a shortline cook and a housekeeper, Padilla’s parents instilled in him the value of hard work.

“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “He will be a Senator for all Californians.”

Padilla is going to the Senate keep fighting for the values he has defended.

As the country gets ready for a Biden administration, there is a lot of attention on the recovery effort. The Biden administration is going to be tasked with bringing the country back from the brink. Covid has wrecked the economy and upended the lives of millions of families. Biden and the current Senate and House will be responsible for distributing the vaccine and getting the American people back to where they were before the virus devastated the nation.

Congratulations, Sen. Alex Padilla.

California is happy to know that you will be representing us in the Senate.

READ: Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

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