Building Impact and Power in the Bay Area
By Aide Rodriguez
As immigrant women and domestic workers, we use every available means to share our struggles and get our voices heard. “I began doing electoral work as a volunteer, knocking on doors in 2012. I became really motivated me when I realized how many people in our Latino community didn’t know how or where to go vote, while others simply did not vote because they were so disappointed in the political system,” Maria Morales, a domestic worker and Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) board member stated. “It was then that I realized how important it is that we get out to motivate people if they can vote to do so — only in that way will they be able to be heard. I hope to continue organizing and motivating our community so that together we can change the future for everyone!”
For over five years, MUA staff and members have worked in collaboration with San Francisco and Oakland Rising to inform and educate voters and build the political power of working class multiracial communities. Besides amplifying our voices and experiences, these collaborations help our members take pro-active positions around policy issues and develop their leadership. While door knocking and cold calling households across the Bay Area can be intimidating for almost anyone, it’s work that our organization and members have learned to embrace as being pivotal to securing ballot results that are in our collective interest. Neira Ortega, current Board MUA Board President expressed, “As a Latina immigrant woman it is very important to motivate people to vote in my community because it helps us to create and sustain laws that protect us as immigrants. For example, Proposition 55 helps young Latinos continue their studies at community college and help them secure adequate funding for school, while Proposition 57 reduces mass incarceration in the judicial system and would result in our youth not being tried as adults for crimes; it would help rehabilitate children and have them serve the community instead of being imprisoned in a jail,” Ortega further narrated.
In communities like ours, comprised of large groups of disenfranchised residents, it’s even more important to let our neighbors know that they can still be important stakeholders in the electoral process. “I cannot vote,” Ortega lamented, “but I can motivate others to cast a ballot. I met people who did not know about some proposals that benefit us as a community. I am proud to be part of future change, and I hope my political participation motivates others to become it, too! VOTE THIS NOVEMBER 8th!”
Aide Rodriguez is the Grants and Contract Manager at Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), a LIFT Grantee. MUA is a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a double mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice.
This blog is part of the LIFT Fund’s #workersvote series which highlights the impact that workers will have on elections across the country this Nov. 8th. Click here to see past blogs by Derrick Johnson of One Voice MS, Christine Neuman-Ortiz of Voces de la Frontera and Lucia Lin of Chinese Progressive Association. Follow us on Twitter and FB for future blogs, to see how and why LIFT grantees are educating and mobilizing their worker members around this year’s electoral cycle!