In the past, John Leguizamo has championed the importance of voting in many ways, from dancing around in an Uncle Sam suit to a stern manner in Rock the Vote slots. Today (Oct. 21), the veteran actor used his past experiences as well as little known facts about Latinos to showcase how much voting can change the scope of the Latin narrative in America.
In the New York Times op-ed titled “Too Bad You’re Latin,” Leguizamo challenges the 56 million Latinx that reside in America to get out and vote. “We are victims of neglect, discrimination and ignorance,” he said. “We have grown up amid an entrenched disrespect for Latin culture, and we have often internalized that disrespect.” An avid critic of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, The Infiltrator actor, gave the businessman credit for uniting Latinos and pushing for rights in education and healthcare.
“Donald J. Trump has done one good thing,” the Colombian/Puerto Rican-American said. “He has galvanized a conflicted and diverse community. For years, activists and politicians have struggled to get Latinos to vote and show their power. But not until Mr. Trump’s racist rhetoric shone a light on anti-Latino sentiment did we feel the need to make our voices heard on the issues that matter to us.”
The actor questioned the pride and faith Latinos have in America by reminding us of how we played significant roles in its foundation. Spanish military leader Bernardo de Gálvez was given a shout out as well as the Cuban women who donated jewelry and other goods to fund gear for patriots in the Civil War. Latino contributions in America haven’t stopped and will continue to thrive in hopes of a Latino Spring–on social media and in the streets.
“We need a Latino Spring in this country, he said. “We must demand an equal share of the American dream, and not accept a downgraded version of it. We need to stop accepting exclusion over persecution. In this critical election, and in the future, I urge you all to register and vote, to be counted and heard.”
Read the rest of the op-ed, here.