In covid-ravaged Rio Grande Valley, unity across zip code and background in 2020 General Elections can shift power and resources to community needs.
SAN JUAN, TX, Sept 11, 2020 —
As the pandemic exposes deep inequalities ravaging South Texas communities, residents of the Rio Grande Valley are uniting across zip code and immigration status to mobilize their high-potential voter neighbors to the polls this November. La Unión del Pueblo Entero today launched it’s 2020 General Elections get out the vote campaign to boost turnout of colonia residents, new Citizens, new voters, and high-potential voters.
It is a united effort to shift power and resources away from the small set of hands who have deepened the crisis by squandering public resources and put decision-making power back where it belongs: with the people.
“When RGV communities have united across background and zip code, we have won electricity and water for rural neighborhoods, streetlights for colonias, and county-wide flooding protections,” said Daniel Diaz, Get Out The Vote Coordinator for LUPE. “Together, we have the power to win representation that will govern by, for, and with the people so that we can recover from the pandemic with dignity and direct the resources we pitch in together to the things that make our communities thrive.”
At the core of the effort will be animating high-potential voters: those voters who may not always vote, but when they choose to participate in an election can change the course of races and determine outcomes.
About the power of high-potential voters to make a difference, LUPE member and GOTV canvasser Tomás Martinez said, “The people have the power, don’t forget it, to change the course of history. Right now with these elections they can make this system work for real.”
The devastation of the pandemic in the RGV has revealed the danger of an approach to governance that cares more about wielding power than sharing it. Elected officials say “no se puede” to using the resources we all contribute for schools, services, and care and then turn around and hand millions to corporations to militarize the police and the border region.
This style of governance was a disaster well before the pandemic hit and fueled Covid’s devastation of our region. The RGV has some of the highest rates of people who are uninsured in the entire country, and along with it, some of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other underlying chronic conditions that put people at greater risk of hospitalization and death from the virus. Yet the region has no public hospital and state leadership has chosen not to expand Medicaid.
Maria Romero, community health outreacher with LUPE, shared how people with and without health insurance have struggled to access covid care, sharing the story of an undocumented construction worker without health insurance who road out the course of the virus at home without medical attention and an office worker with insurance whose copay was so expensive that she had to visit Mexico to receive the care she needed.
“I saw the difference between the people who had and didn’t have health insurance,” Maria said. “It’s very important to have medical coverage that is equal for all people, regardless of immigration status because I believe health is a right that we all deserve to have.”
View the campaign kickoff event video on Facebook: Facebook.com/LUPErgv/videos
To reach high-potential voters, LUPE is inviting the community to volunteer from the safety of their homes during regular phone bank and text bank volunteer sessions. Sign up to volunteer here.