Latino Victory Project is a national nonprofit organization working to build Latino political power. We sat down with Mia Arreguín, Digital Manager for LVP, to hear about the inspiring work they do.
What kind of work does Latino Victory Project do?
Mia Arreguín: Latino Victory Project (LVP) is a relatively new organization, founded in 2014 by Eva Longoria and Henry R. Muñoz III. Our founding was rooted in the fact that Latinos make up around 17% of the US population, but only 1% of elected officials are Latino. Eva and Henry saw the need for an organization that would really grow Latino political power, bridging the gap between our political system and the Latino community that it is meant to serve. We do that in three ways:
First, we want to ensure Latinos are an informed and engaged force that turns out to vote on Election Day. More importantly, we want our community to remain civically active in between major elections. We do this through naturalization campaigns, voter mobilization, issue awareness, and making election accessible to our community. We are a uniquely intersectional community and care deeply on issues across the spectrum from climate action to reproductive rights to immigration reform. We do a lot of work to distill the legislative jargon around these issues and present it clearly and transparently so our community is informed and knows what's at stake.
Next, to help build a democracy where our community is equally represented, we support strong candidates who advocate for our values in government. When we don’t have people in office who understand our needs and will fight alongside us, we run the risk of becoming marginalized and reversing progress we’ve made over the past few decades. Our political arm Latino Victory Fund, supports and endorses candidates who are outstanding progressive leaders across the country and at all levels of government.
Lastly, we build a donor pipeline. Our cofounder Henry likes to say that people speak with their feet when they walk to the polls, and they speak with their pocketbooks to invest in these candidates who are going to fight for us. The Latino community is still young, and we do not have a history of political giving, so a lot of our work goes to building this network of people who are going to financially invest in political infrastructure for our community.
How is technology and the digital space important to your work?
MA: We’re a small staff, so digital and technology gives us the platform and tools respectively to work effectively on a national scale to share stories, inform voters, build a network of Latino leaders and donors, and build Latino political power.
Latinos are online; we’re connected. We're mobile. This creates both a challenge and opportunity to meet our community where they are. We have to think creatively about how we engage with them. The digital space is a powerful storytelling medium, and we use it to tell our community's stories and create transparency about why our work is important: We want our values represented in government, and how do we do that? Strong candidates. Let's identify and support them. How do we do that? Money. We must fundraise and build our donor network. And once we've got strong leaders on the ballot we've got to get out and vote for them.
We use social media, graphics, videos, and targeted emails to build a relationship between our social media following and email programs. And we've been building our online small donor fundraising program through EveryAction and these various digital tools.
What specific digital tools & tactics do you use?
MA: We rely pretty heavily on social media campaigns, online widgets, we use EveryAction for our email engagement program, and for one of our new campaigns we're beginning to use P2P text messaging, which is a really innovative approach to reaching folks individually via text.
We've also found that petitions are an effective way to unify Latino voices this cycle and build solidarity within and with our community. We've worked on three separate petitions recently harnessing energy around the anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric of Donald Trump. In general, we've found that petitions are a really great way to engage and make folks feel that their voice does matter and that they can contribute.
What campaigns are on the horizon that you're excited about?
MA: We have a couple of big campaigns coming up. We just launched a new voter mobilization campaign with the band Maná, which is really exciting. We’re partnering with the band’s "Latino Power" tour in the coming months - we decided if we joined forces, we’d be really able to spread the message that Latinos have to get out to vote this election, and that we can’t stay home.
We also use digital to do a lot of independent expenditure work. One of our endorsed candidates is Darren Soto running for Congress in Central Florida, so during the primary, we ran GOTV “find your polling place” ads and, in just a few days, we had several thousand clicks. He ended up winning the primary by 3,000 votes, so it just demonstrates that quick, effective digital campaigns really can make the difference.
For Hispanic Heritage Month, we're launching an educational social media campaign meant to clear up many misconceptions about where Latinos stand on different issues. We want to set the record straight about common conservative media myths around our community.
Overall, our community has a lot of very powerful stories. And as an organization we're fortunate to have a platform to help tell them. Using digital and technology allows us to reach people individually and say, "We're here. We're fighting with you and this is how you can be a part of it."
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