We are more than half way into Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month and less than a month away from elections. I felt it appropriate and timely to add some love to my website. So I devoted my annual photo shoot with my sobrinas and sobrino to encourage the Latino community to VOTE. Every summer we look forward to time together to what has become a tradition. I always have a theme in mind that influences the styling and meaning behind the shoot. This year, without sounding too political, I wanted to shed some light on what it means to be a Mexican-American. In full transparency, this shoot took place last year, 2019. For whatever reason I kept putting off this article. With Covid-19 holding 2020 hostage and not being able to plan my time with my nieces and nephew to include planning our annual photo shoot I deemed it perfect timing to use these images. As they say, things happen for a reason.
Now, let’s focus on the the title of this article. If you look closely at the photographs used in this article, I incorporated the colors of the American and Mexican flags. Being bi-cultural in this current political climate is a bit disheartening. When we have someone who is sitting in the White House spewing hateful rhetoric about Latinos and other marginalized communities, its hard to stay objective. We live in a different world than when I was a kid. I want my kids to never be fearful of the future and instill in them that being Mexican/Bi-Cultural is a privilege. The kids live in Roma, Texas a small town outside of McAllen which is primarily Hispanic. When they visit us here in Kansas City over the summer I can tell there is a bit of a culture shock for them every time. I make it a priority to teach them that they are also entitled to all the resources that the United States of America has to offer, in order for them to live the American Dream.
As election day approaches it is super important for Latinos to vote this year. Did you know that approximately 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in this next presidential election? There is no doubt that the Covid-19 outbreak has put a damper on voter enthusiasm since people really don’t want to get out as their health takes priority. Luckily, mail-in and absentee ballots are an option! Voting is our civic duty. If you have ever thought that your vote will not make a difference in a sea of votes, then stop thinking that. To be fair, your vote may not directly elect the president when we are speaking electoral votes. Yet, your vote along with others in your district or county combined together will undoubtedly make a huge difference!
Let’s make our voices heard, especially our Latino voices. Before we do, let’s do our due diligence. I had to read up on political issues to see where I stand, as we all should. It is important to do this on your own so you have all the facts from reputable outlets. Get out and talk to people and ask questions. However, be prepared to hear others voice their opinions that may not align with yours, and that’s ok. That is the beauty of our country. We are all entitled to our opinions. If you support a particular candidate, go and volunteer on their campaign. There is no better way to really get into the thick of it all. At the end of the day, the future is in your hands. No matter your nationality, no matter who you support, it is crucial to exercise your voting rights.
Photography by: Kelby Reck