Latino Voters Have A LOT to Say


… and They Want to Be Heard

On Election Day and the day after, I spoke with everyone from Vice Presidents to valets, a Mexican-American originally from Topeka, Kansas to a first time voter from Puerto Rico. This is what they had to say: 1. “Que es lo que quiero? Yo quiero que los nuevos representantes y el nuevo alcalde nos traen trabajos en el area donde vivo, porque los unicos trabajos son de agencias temp. Con estos trabajos no tienes seguridad para el presente, no puedes tener metas para el futuro de horar dinero porque estas viviendo de cheque a cheque. Quiero companies en nuestro barrio que pagan bien para mantener una familia y que tienen entrenamientos para otras careras.” 2. “I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve seen a lot of change, but then I also think that there’s more that can be done for everyone who lives here. I hope that with my new Alderman things get done. I don’t want meetings or promises when it’s not going to happen.” 3. “What do I want from our new Mayor?” I want Tom Barrett to get good paying jobs and secure ones in our neighborhood for Mexicanos and all Latinos.” 4. “Yes, I think there’s power in the Latino vote, definitely. We need to get out there, register, vote and that’s how we show our power.” 5. “Este ano es mi primer tiempo de votar desde que llegue a Milwaukee. Creo que el hecho de que hay tanto Hispano y tambien tenemos representantes como Peggy West. Me gustaria ver que la gangas y las drogas se acaben. Eso me tiene bien preocupada especialmente en el area donde yo vivo ultimamente ya ni me siento segura. Hay mucha guerra entre ganga y todavia no hay llegado verano, incluso, ya se esta formando tiroteos. Esta dificil pero espero que los politicos se interesan en eso.” TRANSLATION: “This is my first time voting since I arrived in Milwaukee from New York. I believe that in our Latino vote and Latino representatives like Peggy West. I would like to see an end to the gangs and the drugs. That has me very worried especially in the area where I live, and ultimately, I don’t even feel secure here. The fighting and shooting has already begun and it’s not even summer. It’s hard I know, but I hope the politicians get involved in this. 6. “Estoy Encojonado! I listened to the talk radio show this morning and he was snapping on Pratt making these racist comments about how we can’t elect a Black Mayor, like it’s gonna be all torn up to hell. All the white folks estan todo’ en el papel como sifueran numero uno ellos. You got to think about all the races, you know. White people wasn’t ready for a Black Mayor, that’s what time it was! They just got afraid like, ‘Oh my God what’s going to happen to the city!’ But then again, the white people got their own little world and think their world is perfect and that’s what bothers me. Lo que me mas molesta es que los prietos no pueden llegar, tambien sifuera un Latino no dejen llegar. Esta cabron.” 7. “I’m very unhappy with the status quo in Milwaukee and nationally. It is not hopeful for people on the economic bracket, the sexual bracket, or the color bracket. I want to see more representation of people in those areas. I want equal opportunities for pay, education, ability to marry, jobs, health, you name virtually any social issue and we need equal opportunity for everyone!” 8. Alejandro Zamora arrived from Mexico in 1978. He said, “I was the first in line to vote at the fire station on 20th and Oklahoma. It is very important for everyone to exercise their civic duty, and voting is one of the best rights that we have. This is the only way we can get ahead by choosing who we want to represent us and who can help us. Without our vote, we can’t do that.”

LatinoVote.jpg Ricardo Perez

photographs and interviews conducted by Carmen Alicia Murguia