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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Creating political change in the nation means placing value on people as much as votes

Creating political change in the nation means placing value on people as much as votes

LatinaLista — Low-income women of color have been marginalized by Washington to the point where little value was placed on voting in minority communities. Yet, it is time for change and it starts with both sides reaching out to one another.
If there is one lesson that has been learned in this election, it’s the fact that people don’t just want their voices heard but they want to be included in the process.
Some groups are better at doing that than others. Yet, low-income women of color have always had a much harder time in getting both heard and having a seat at the proverbial table. These women have been overlooked and marginalized when it comes to Washington recognizing and responding to their specific needs. It’s an ironic situation since it’s these women and their children who bear the burden of failed federal economic policies.
In turn, this group has historically felt so disconnected from politics that they see little value in their votes. As the economy plunges deeper and these households are hit the hardest, talk of “Six-pack Joe” or “Joe the Plumber” aren’t resonating with these voters, and it’s time Washington understands that.
It’s documented that in the 2004 presidential election, 40 percent of all African American women, 69 percent of Latinas and 70 percent of Asian American women who were eligible to vote did not go to the polls. Engage Her, a new online organization dedicated to educating and “activating” women of color to get involved with those issues that affect their lives and their communities, released a short documentary online exploring the reasons why women of color have a poor voting track record.
The reasons offered by the women interviewed in the film were varied but the common thread among the different speakers is that their voice/vote would have had little impact on the final outcome of the election and so why bother.
It’s a feeling shared among lower-income women of color that is only exacerbated by the current economic crisis.
According to the US Census, the highest percentage of family groups that live in poverty are those households headed by a female. With poverty rising among Latinos and remaining statistically high for blacks and Asians, it’s obvious that the economic crisis is taking a silent toll on those who can least afford it, and it’s getting worse.
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