The Hispanic Federation kicked off a statewide campaign to register Latino residents and encourage them to vote.
Advocacy groups throughout North Carolina are part of the effort. A press conference announcing “La Voz de mi Gente” was held Thursday outside Compare Foods in Charlotte, which is also participating.
North Carolina’s Latino population grew more than 40% from 2010 to 2020. The state has more than 1.1 million Latino residents. More than 60% of Latinos in North Carolina were born in the United States, according to Carolina Demography.
According to the state Board of Elections, a little more than 258,000 of the state’s 7.3 million registered voters are Hispanic.
The Hispanic Federation, a national nonprofit, said another 200,000 are eligible and the organization said in a news release that the aim is to register as many as possible before the November midterm elections. El Centro Hispano, the NC Congress of Latino Organizations, and Casa de Azul in Wilson are members of the coalition.
Though the Latino population is growing quickly, Latinos are underrepresented in elected office.
The General Assembly, for example, has one Latino member, Rep. Ricky Hurtado of Alamance County.
“The Latinos in Wilson have zero representation in local government. Zero,” said Elizabeth Herrera director of community advancement at Casa de Azul. It’s time to active the community so members can see themselves in leadership positions, she said.
The first steps are registering voters and “empowering young people who were born and raised in this country to create change,” Herrera said.
Ivan Parra, executive director of the NC Congress of Latino Organizations, said members of the congress are committed to registering Latinos using trusted community networks and to helping turn out the vote.
“We’re creating the future of North Carolina and the future of this country,” he said.