During mid-term elections, it can be hard for Spanish-speaking populations in the United States to be informed on the issues in order to vote knowingly and in their best interest. Often times, informational materials are not in Spanish or culturally aware. “I wanted to use my experience as a Spanish-speaking Dominican-American/Latina in the U.S. to ensure these communities understood affordable housing state propositions so they could vote in their best interest. Which in this case meant voting “yes” on these propositions, because Latinxs and other communities of color have been disproportionately pushed out of an ever-more-expensive San Francisco.”
Elaine worked with the non-profit, Causa Justa: Just Cause (CJJC) and helped to develop of a culturally-aware Spanish-language educational campaign for Propositions 10 and C. Proposition 10 would make it possible for cities in California to expand rent control and Proposition C would tax businesses creating over $50 million in revenue in San Francisco to raise money to address homelessness, including permanent supportive housing and other services. Since Spanish-speaking Latinx voters are disproportionately impacted in San Francisco by a lack of affordable housing (considering their wealth is significantly less than White and Asian Americans in the area) voting “yes” on these propositions would allow more of these households to stay in the city they call home. By helping to develop campaign materials that are in Spanish and culturally relevant, these voters were able to vote in their best interest.
The lack of Spanish-language and culturally aware informational materials around affordable housing propositions on the ballot in the 2018 mid-term elections in California inspired Fellow Elaine Vilorio’s to take action.
Elaine worked tirelessly translating campaign material from English to Spanish, translating scripts for volunteers to use when calling voters, making posters, flyers, and door-hangers as well as hanging them around town while canvassing from neighborhood to neighborhood. Through this demanding work, Elaine filled a major need. “There aren’t enough Spanish-proficient people that have the capacity to do the grunt work of translation needed for adequate voter education.” Through the work done by CJJC, other organizations and ultimately the voters of the community, Proposition C passed, but unfortunately not Proposition 10. Though, not an entire win, the work done to help give Spanish-speakers informational materials in order to make an informed vote was a victory in it of itself.
“I wanted to use my experience as a Spanish-speaking Dominican-American/Latina in the U.S. to ensure these communities… could vote in their best interest.”