VA Latino Community To Politicians: Ignore Us At Your Own Peril | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

VA Latino Community To Politicians: Ignore Us At Your Own Peril

Play associated audio
Latino leaders and advocates say elected officials and candidates would be foolish to ignore the growing Latino influence in Northern Virginia.
Jonathan Wilson
Latino leaders and advocates say elected officials and candidates would be foolish to ignore the growing Latino influence in Northern Virginia.

By Jonathan Wilson

Leaders and advocates for northern Virginia's Latino community are sending a message to political candidates before the 2010 election season heats up.

From a conference of Latino community leaders in Arlington, the message to elected officials and candidates is a simple one: ignore us at your own peril.

Juan Marcos Vilar is the Board Chairman of Virginia New Majority, a non-partisan group focusing on issues concerning immigrants and the working class. He says Virginia's handling of its immigrant community will have a national impact.

"As we've seen in the last few years, Virginia has become the new battleground state, and it's a mistake, an outright mistake for people to take the Latino vote for granted," says Vilar.

The U.S. Census Bureau says 74,000 Latinos cast votes in Virginia in 2008: that's nearly a 6 percent jump from four years earlier.

But much of the debate centers on immigrants who can't vote because they're here illegally. Arlington County Board Member Walter Tejada says elected officials need to remember that could change with immigration reform.

"Who might be an undocumented immigrant today, might be a U.S. citizen tomorrow, and they're going to remember who treated them with dignity and respect, and wanted to include them, and who wanted to exclude them from the community," says Tejada.

There's one more reason this is a big year for the Latino community in Virginia and elsewhere: the 2010 U.S. Census. The number of Latinos taking part in the census will effect how congressional districts are redrawn, helping to decide elections for years to come.

NPR

The Dread Factor: Why Ebola And 'Contagion' Scare Us So Much

Even just the word Ebola is kind of terrifying. Why? Hollywood has a lot to do with it. But Ebola outbreaks also have all the ingredients for what one psychologist calls the "dread factor."
NPR

Nestle Nudges Its Suppliers To Improve Animal Welfare

The world's largest food company is requiring all of its suppliers of dairy, meat, poultry and egg products to comply with tighter animal welfare standards. Animal rights groups applaud the move.
NPR

Outside Group Mirrors Successful Strategies Of Political Parties

A U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs in Iowa, and the GOP has opened 11 field offices statewide. But there's also a new team working the state, the Virginia-based group Americans for Prosperity.
NPR

Coming Soon To A Pole Near You: A Bike That Locks Itself

Cyclists may soon have a convenient way to discourage bike thieves, thanks to new designs that use parts of the bikes themselves as locks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.