William Velásquez Fought For You To Vote So Vote

@CarlosUresti / Twitter / @lifewjess / Twenty20

Mexican-American William Velásquez is truly one of the unsung heroes of the Latino civil rights movement. Not only did he work alongside Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez with the United Farm Workers, Velásquez also dedicated much of his short life to ensure that Latinos were politically active and able to vote. As the elections inch closer and closer, it is important to remember not just the man, but his legacy. There is even a new documentary on PBS, “Willie Velásquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice,” telling his story.

William Velásquez dedicated his life to making sure Latinos could participate in the political process.

Velásquez worked tirelessly with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta for farm worker rights before moving on to establish the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP).  At the time of its founding, Velásquez was fighting against poll taxes, gerrymandering and pure intimidation being used to block Latinos from using their voice in elections.

“Willie Velasquez’s work brought millions of Latinos into the political process, both as voters and as candidates,” filmmaker Hector Galán told KPBS about his documentary on Velásquez. “As we go through this current election cycle, it’s important to look back at how far the Latino electorate has come and how our vote continues to truly be our voice.”

Velásquez is the founder of both the Mexican American Youth Organization (1968) and Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (1974).

He went even further than just starting two organizations to get young Latinos mobilized to vote. Velásquez helped found La Raza Unida Party to further give Latinos a chance to join in the political system to enact change from within. In the 1970s, his activism was taking off. Having just left the UFW, Velásquez became one of the first people to use a computer to electronically collect voter registration information.

In 1988, as his career as a political activist for Latinos was reaching its peak, he died of kidney cancer.

Velásquez’s work was not unnoticed by national politicians. In 1995, Velásquez was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor — by then-President Bill Clinton.

“His name was William C. Velasquez, but everyone knew him as Willie,” President Clinton said at the time, according to KPBS. “Willie was and is now a name synonymous with democracy in America. From the farm fields of California, where he organized workers with Cesar Chavez, to the halls of Harvard, where he taught politics, Willie Velasquez was driven by an unwavering belief that every American should have a role in our democracy and a share in the opportunities of our great nation.”

So, in this political season when you hear some politicians demonize the Latino community, remember your role.

Election 2016 / GIPHY
CREDIT: Election 2016 / GIPHY

Do what Rosie Perez says, and millions have fought so hard for, and vote!

Election 2016 / GIPHY
CREDIT: Election 2016 / GIPHY

Countless Latinos have fought hard in the past for your right to vote. Don’t squander it by sitting at home this November.

READ: The ‘Alicia Machado Effect’: This Is How Former Miss Universe Impacted Voter Registration

Register to vote today by downloading the Latinos Vote app for iOS and Android. Our voice matters. #WeAreAmerica

Rare: This Latina Mom Is Proud Of Her Son Who Isn't A Doctor


Rare: This Latina Mom Is Proud Of Her Son Who Isn’t A Doctor

NBC Latino / Facebook

No one makes us laugh more about our dear Latina moms than Lejuan James.

As part of our series “One Heritage, Two Generations” for Hispanic Heritage Month, the social media star and his mami Ingrid talk about their strong relationship and their Latino heritage, which is a source of pride — and many laughs.

Their full story here: http://nbcnews.to/2cRin84

Posted by NBC Latino on Friday, September 30, 2016

His mom is just like every Latino mom ever.

We have all seen Lejuan James’ genius Instagram, Vine and Twitter posts about what it truly means to grow up in a Latino household. The videos usually show the main character of all of our lives: mami. James’ mom totally owns and embodies the role of mami, whether she is chasing him though the house with a chancla or telling him not to cry when she dies because he wouldn’t help her with the groceries.

NBC Latino was able to get James to sit down with his mom and talk about the videos. The interview is everything. Get ready to feel all the feels. James credits his mom for all the inspiration for the videos he has created and the character he plays. During the interview, they talk about how she knows just what to say to make him feel guilty with just one sentence. It is clear to see from the video that James’ mom is so proud of her baby boy for doing what he loves and excelling in it. Bravo, dude! Now go call your mother. She would love to hear from you.

READ: This Dominican/Puerto Rican Viner Is Showing 15 Ways Latino Parents Slay The Parenting Game

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