LatinaLista — Today was supposed to be a day where people, who want immigration reform, an end to work site raids, deportations and a more humane consideration of the undocumented, were to take to the streets en masse and recreate the massive protests of two years ago.
Yet, city after city has reported low turnouts. It wasn’t unexpected. The day of the week and the stepped-up enforcement by Department of Homeland Security and local police and sheriffs came together in a perfect storm to keep the turnout from mirroring those of years past.
But this isn’t an indication that the Latino community has become complacent about an issue that is accelerating discrimination and racism directed towards all Latinos. On the contrary, the reduced turnout should send another signal that the fight is far from over.
What most people forget about those early marches is that while people were encouraged to wear white, wave the flag and walk a winding route in their city, they were also encouraged to become citizens and register to vote.
What transpired was a response that created a backlog for the federal government to process citizenship applications and voter registrations.
Latinos may not have been at the marches like in years past but our presence is being felt at the voting booths already.
The US Census released news this week that Hispanics are now 15.1 percent of the total population. The percentage translates to 45.1 million Hispanics — the largest minority group in the nation.
With such numbers and finally realizing that the only way for effective change is through the vote and contacting congressional representatives, Latinos don’t need to show strength in the streets to be heard.
(Update: The total number of Hispanics was corrected to read 45.1 million)