As I write this, we still do not know who the president of the United States will be. It may take days. This is not something people want to hear, but this is a good thing. In spite of the pandemic and the Trump-Pence administration doing everything they could to undermine the process and make it harder to vote, people pushed through and waited in line for hours and they did everything they could to exercise their right even in the face of hardships and systemic barriers.
The Latinx community, young people and so many who have traditionally been ignored or pushed aside by our government turned out in record numbers to pick new leaders who will care and legislate for ALL of us – not just the white and the wealthy. We should celebrate this level of engagement in the process and ensure that every vote is counted.
What is also very clear to me is that the work continues long after the final ballot is counted. Power and safety and opportunity has never just been handed to the Latinx community. It has always come from us –from our resistance and commitment to fight for what is ours. We will need that kind of resilience in the coming days. We must make a commitment now in the midst of this uncertainty that no matter what we will never stop fighting for our right to exist as we are, to forge families that we love, and to make sure that we can all live in safe and liberated communities.
Even as we wait for the final tallies, we are seeing some very important wins here in Colorado. Voters saw Proposition 115 for exactly what it was — a cruel ban on abortion that would have harmed patients and families – and resoundingly defeated it. We also passed Prop 118 giving 2.6 million Coloradans access to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for themselves, a seriously ill loved one, or to welcome a new child. This is a HUGE victory, and one COLOR has been working hard on for years.
What is also very clear to me is that the work continues long after the final ballot is counted. Power and safety and opportunity has never just been handed to the Latinx community. It has always come from us –from our resistance and commitment to fight for what is ours.
Results matter, but for us this is bigger than the numbers. This election cycle is about the families who lost a loved one to the coronavirus who want to know that their leaders will defend their access to health care. This is about the people who will need an abortion who can now rest assured that in Colorado we respect the right and the need to access safe care. This is about our undocumented family and friends who we hope after all is said and done can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that soon the reign of terror on immigrants will come to an end.
So, as we wait there are still questions that remain, but what comes next is not one of them. For more than 20 years, COLOR has been a voice for our community to push the changes we need to live with dignity. That will never change. We will continue to do what we do best – lead from a place of love for our families and leverage the collective strength of our community to push for positive change.
Dusti Gurule is the Executive Director for the Colorado Organization Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) represents and advocates for all Latinxs communities living in Colorado.
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