We Decide- As a family and as a Nation.

This summer Olivia travelled to Medellin, Colombia with her aunt and cousins. Olivia had the chance to visit the town where her grandmother grew up, and she met many family members for the first time. It was Olivia’s first time to Colombia and she loved it. Juan and I wanted her to go for many reasons, one of which was to learn about the country where her grandparents were born, and lived. It was a chance to connect with her history, her roots. It was also a chance for her to be exposed to a different way of life. She had a fantastic experience.

After four weeks in Colombia, Olivia came home and immediately left again. Two hours after her flight landed, she boarded another flight to our state capitol, Sacramento. Olivia was selected to participate in a week long conference called the Chicano Youth Leadership Project. There she had another kind of experience putting her in touch with her culture as a Latina in the U.S. Olivia is interested in politics, policy and social justice, and will be going to college next year to study international relations. Her week in Sacramento exposed her to some of the political and social issues that Latinos face today, and have overcome in the past. Through this dynamic program, and perhaps her month in Colombia Olivia has gained a deeper appreciation about what it means to be an American of Colombian ancestry–and what it means to be a Latina. She came home after 5 weeks away on fire!

Olivia was inspired and motivated to begin working in politics and social justice issues. She wasted no time. A few days after she returned from her travels, she began interning at a US congresswoman’s office, a Latino organization and a grass-roots organizing group. I am so proud of her and excited for her future. She is interested in poitics and as the election draws closer, we discuss the issues more frequently. As a Latino family we have been discussing those issues which are personal to us–immigration, education, voter disenfranchisement, and of course, the economy and health care.

That’s why I was so excited to read about the launch of a new program on nuvoTV. We Decideis Latino town hall program moderated by Natalie Morales, and premiering on Sunday, August 19 at 8 pm. The program will feature a panel of high-panel experts who will engage with a live audience and other virtual particpants engaging through social media platforms. The program will cover how the presidential candidates are addressing issues specific to America’s Latino population. Not only will Latino celebrities and political figures be appearing on the show and tuning in, but our family will be tuning in too. As a social network savvy teen, I hope Olivia will be able to contribute to the discussion by accessing the Facebook site. Even though Olivia is still to young to vote, she’s not too young to follow the discussion and stay informed on the issues we face as Latinos, and as Americans.

Click here for a preview of We Decide on nuvoTV.

 

This is a compensated post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and nuvoTv.

Vote

Today is Election Day. Two years ago, on Election Day, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada with my long-time friend Julie. We had voted absentee and traveled from California to be  poll monitors in the swing state of Nevada. We spent the entire day, beginning at 6:00 a.m., outside a polling place to ensure that people were exercising their constitutional right to vote unimpaired. As the day progressed and the polls closed around the country, we used our smart phones to watch voting returns and eagerly waited with excitement for our candidate to be forecasted the winner. By the time the election was called for our candidate, Julie and I were too exhausted to celebrate with all the other poll monitors. It was a historic day and one I will not forget. I was so glad to be a part of it, supporting the election, participating in the process. Throughout the 2008 campaign, Juan, my news junkie, politico fanatic husband, was completely in his element. I learned a lot from him. Our kids did too. All my kids knew about the candidates and engaged in our political discussions.  Even Diego, who was 4 at the time, knew the candidates. When he saw a dollar bill, he said the picture on it was John McCain. On Election Day 2008, Diego’s pre-school teacher asked all the kids, “What is the president?” The teacher had a large paper taped to the classroom door, and wrote the kids’ responses to the question on the paper. Most kids said a president was what you get for your birthday, at Christmas, etc.  Next to Diego’s name, it showed his response:

“A lot of people vote for the president. Me and my sisters and brother and Mom and Dad are voting for Rockobama.”

No doubt, you know that this year’s election is just as important as the election in 2008. I wish I were as engaged as I was before. Still, it’s hard not to feel that we are living in a historic time right now. So, even though, I will not be monitoring polls this year, or Diego may not be able to say who is running for the Governor of California, I will vote today. Will you?