The Latino Victory Project is a national organization created to engage the Latino community in democracy and the political process. The agenda is two fold--get more Latinos to the polls and directly support Hispanics running for public office. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the organization was founded by Henry Munoz and Eva Longoria.
Wait, did you say Eva Longoria?
Yes, I did. The Hollywood star is passionate about policy, political advocacy, and mobilizing the Hispanic population, especially women. She is using her fame and previous political involvement with organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) to educate the Latino community on the importance of civic participation. The Latino Victory Project hosted an announcement to discuss the future of the organization. I was able to ask Eva about her new political venture.
Haley's Q & A with Latino Victory Project Co-Founder, Eva Longoria
Interview conducted, condensed, and edited by Haley Fulford
TWLC’s Haley: Why start the Latino Victory Project, rather than stick with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) or the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)?
Eva Longoria: Before we created this project we spoke to all of the leading organizations, and we have all of their support. I do work with NCLR and I am on the board of MALDEF. There are a lot of organizations doing amazing things for our [Latino] community, but we needed a very focused approach to the political process (emphasis added). We found there was a big void in it. Every organization does its part but they also stretch their resources. It [politics] is just one part of their broad agenda. We want this organization to be super focused in identifying future Latino leaders and mobilizing support for them.
TWLC’s Haley: How are you setting an example for both women and Latino community?
Eva Longoria: I think by participating and saying this is important. As Latina women, we have to be present in the conversations. Latinas are the CEO’s of the household. We make the educational, financial, and health care decisions for the family. It is very important to have many Latina leaders. Only 1% of state and national elected officials are Latina, and we’re hoping to change that.
TWLC’s Haley: With historic low voter turnout, especially during the midterms, what will it take to mobilize Latino voter participation in the 2014 and 2016 elections?
Eva Longoria: This is a really, really important question. We’re brand new and six months out from the midterms. We’re hoping for a bigger turnout of Latinos in the midterms, because you can’t just be energized to vote for the President. You have to be energized enough to get out and vote for the midterms and vote for the people he [the President] has to work with. We’re hoping through grassroots organizing and outreach, we can reach the Latino community and let them know this is important. A big part of this process is education--educating Latinos on how politics work. Many young Latinos have not participated before. They have never been asked to participate and think politics don't affect people or don't affect them. So for us, it is our job to say it does affect you. Once they realize that, then they usually go, “OH! I should participate."
Eva Longoria is a motivating force for increased Latino participation in government at all levels. Through the Latino Victory Project, she is educating the Hispanic community in order to change the future of America's political landscape. Eva recognizes the importance of being involved in the political process, because when you participate and vote, your voice is heard.
A food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently working at the United States House of Representatives, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.
Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.
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