Protecting Democracy: Making Every Vote and Voice Matter

Posted in News Story

On September 30th, prominent voting rights’ leaders discussed the immediate actions underway to stop voter discrimination, address redistricting, and increase citizen involvement across the United States.

Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, said “True growth of Latinos and Latinas in elected office has to come from crossover candidates. From Latinos and Latina who are able to win a non-latino majority districts and jurisdictions, and that requires the investment of political party infrastructure.”

Janeen Comenote, Executive Director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, shared “What we are really looking at the NUIFC is how do we empower our nonprofits to really reach into communities and begin to work deeper than just voting. Voting is transactional, and it happens every two years.. But really the real work of civic engagement happens at the day-to-day level, And we all know that…  This work is on-going, it’s daily.”

The speakers were also asked what White allies could do to support their work.

Janeen commented, “I think we all need to know one another’s stories. I think stories are really important, and I think part of allyship, particularly when you talk about how White folks can interact with other communities of color wherever they are, is that we need to know one another’s stories, we need to know those narratives. I think we need to do that between our own communities of color as well.”

Arturo suggested, “We need allies across all communities… It can’t be a ‘fad’…It has to be sustained, it has to be incorporated in everything you do. In the investments you make of your time and of your money and of your talents, all have to be committed to change. And it can’t just be when the moment moves you.”

We would also like to share some resources with you related to the topics that were addressed during the discussion.

Protecting Democracy: Making Every Vote and Voice Matter is part of our year-long “Democracy at Risk” series of conversations, which we are hosting in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. These discussions will inform the next 25 years of the Center’s work with nonprofit, philanthropic and public sector leaders to strengthen our communities, nation and world.