Meet Selene - one of our youth organizers from Wake Forest, NC. Selene is 18 years old and her family is of indigenous roots from La Sierra de Hidalgo in Mexico. Not only did Selene graduate high school in the middle of a pandemic, but she also started organizing for the first time with the NC Mijente team to get Latinxs to register to vote.
Why do you want to register our gente to vote in NC?
There are over 200,000 Latinxs who are unregistered to vote. If we could get those people registered to vote - my community would look so different. Everyone would feel like they were in a real community, like there would be a change happening. We would see the laws that we’ve been advocating for and have been rejected have more of a chance of becoming reality: some of those policies pass and it would improve our lives. Personally I would feel much safer being here in North Carolina, I would feel less afraid when saying bye to my mom when she goes to work. I know too many of the youth don’t feel like they’re part of a community; they don’t feel welcome in North Carolina. If we can get nuestra gente registered and out there, it would really just create a safe environment for our people.
What encouragement do you have for Latinxs who feel overwhelmed but want to get involved?
If someone comes to me and says ‘I want to get involved pero I just feel overwhelmed with all of these things happening’....Y’all people power can come in so many different forms, so many different shapes. You don’t have to be super involved and spend a majority of your time doing this, but you could do little small actions.
What gets you excited about voter registration work in NC?
I’m very excited about political education. I love watching our gente grow, asking questions about issues they didn’t know we’re actual issues, like voter suppression. I love seeing them be like “oh yo nunca supe de eso”, that they never knew about this or that. I enjoy seeing people intrigued and wanting to help out in a different way. I love inviting people to an event and hearing them say, “Yes I’ll come to these meetings, pero can I do something else too?”
What is one small way people can get involved in the work?
Textbanking & Phonebanking. Y'all, we have our phones with us 24/7 and taking out 1-2 hours of our time to check in on our gente really creates an impact because our people aren’t being contacted. We directly call nuestra gente - and even if you can’t see them through the screen, they will send that text or say something on that phone that’s like “Thank you/Gracias a Dios/Que Dios te bendiga.” To me, it just shows you that you were really creating something. It’s satisfying to hear those words from nuestra gente; they feel really grateful to have someone who is a stranger care about what’s happening to them.
Why should youth get involved with the work you’re doing?
I want youth to get more involved with voting and helping us out through volunteering porque in the end, everything is going to be left to the youth -- Nosotrxs. We’re going to be the ones who end up with the consequences si nada cambia. I don’t want the next generation to go through the pain and the suffering that our older familia has gone through. That has to change. I don’t want my younger sisters to continue feeling ashamed of who they are. I don’t want them to be scared to talk in our language.
Come and help us out! Let’s see where this political poder takes us, let’s see how we all grow together and become badass.