Your Voice, your Vote, Matters

Your Voice, your Vote, Matters

by Talia Rodriguez

Today, you started with a dream and a fresh Google page. Googling “it,” whatever “it” is, for you. At least you can say you did “it”…or your version of “it”.. But you have to try “it” and buy “it”. And YOU are more likely too, as Latinos are 33% more likely to buy products we see advertised on social media compared to 20% of non-Latinos.

Latinos share common platforms, but the way we define success is as diverse as our Amazon lists. Whether your daily goal is a dryer full of matching socks and you are one of the 58% of Latinos watching YouTube or you are one of the 60% of us on Facebook, boarding the perfectly timed departure flight, your scrolling in between means something.

Re-brands withstanding, according to the Pew Research Center, 73% of Latino adults ages 18 to 49, get their news on digital devices, including 27% who prefer social media specifically. Among Latinos ages 50 and older, 43% prefer digital devices and 5% prefer social media. This means that your political opinion, influenced by your prima’s social media posts or any other source, has a significant impact on your Latina vote. Your voice, your vote, matters. And it’s not just a saying, it’s a fact. More than 1 in 10 voters in November (11%) are expected to be Latino, according to NALEO — a 20.5% increase from 2016. That’s a powerful voice, and it’s yours.

Data is only impacted by one thing universally, your natural curiosity, hitting the search bar. If you are Latino, those search results will undoubtedly shape election results, as 36% of Latinos consider social media their primary news source. And our news informs our votes. Voting means you can have a say in the places that mean something. Like the library, and Pura Teresa Belpré y Nogueras, the first Puerto Rican librarian of the New York Public Library and author of the first bilingual book circulated in mainstream publication titled “Perez and Martinez,” who revolutionized library science utilizing her lived experience to craft welcoming literacy spaces for thousands of Puerto Rican from 1921 – 1943, would appreciate your participation. At least I’m betting on it. Genius, artist, poet, a prolific writer of inclusive and transformative children’s literature and civic American hero:

Pura provides our #latinaherstory feature quote.

“To appreciate the present, one must have a knowledge of the past…to know where we go, we must know from where we came…,”

Born in 1899, approximately 95 years before the first smartphone was sold, the need for bilingual communications has only increased, as in our connectivity to each other in different countries and places. And while our libraries, voting status, future diets, puppies and DIY home improvements may look different month to month thanks to algorithms, our individual characters shine through.

For Pura, as a college student of UPR Rio Piedras, she bet on New York and a career in public service, attending the Library School of the New York Public Library. No matter how many times your major, career, and life goals change, the doers in the arena leave their mark on the world.

For her, and for the other civic heroes who marched, forged, pushed, advocated, and made the way for us to participate meaningfully in civic and public space, Google “register to vote,” and if you aren’t already, make that your “it” today.

May is a month of abundance. Be generous to yourself and your phrase your google search terms well. And if you are registered, follow your local parties on social media. Increasingly our political leaders are altering the tune of their messages to echo within social media platforms and meet us where we are at. Online. It’s not just about being present, it’s about being engaged. Meet them back. Stay informed. The fun as a voter doesn’t end with registration, it begins there.

Photos of Talia with newspapers and Pura Teresa Belpré y Nogueras provided by Talia. Photo of American flags by Tara Winstead and photo of sign use your voice by Polina Kovaleva from

Talia Rodriguez is a bi-racial, bi-cultural, and bi-lingual Latina from Buffalo. Ms. Rodriguez’s mission is to write about Latina’s, who have shaped the face of our city and our region. It is Ms. Rodriguez’s believes that our own people should inspire us and in telling our collective stories, we push our community forward. Ms. Rodriguez is a community advocate and organizer. She is a 5th generation West Sider, a graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, and an avid baseball fan. She lives on the West Side with her young son A.J… Ms. Rodriguez sits on the board of several organizations including the Belle Center, where she attended daycare. Ms. Rodriguez loves art, music, food, and her neighbors.

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