MILWAUKEE — With the political season ramping up, grassroots organizations are hoping to attract people to the polls, especially those communities that may make a big difference in next year’s elections.
One team that is planting new roots in Wisconsin aims to inspire Latino voters.
“When there's a thriving Latino community, there's a thriving America; when there's a thriving America, there's a thriving Latino community,” said Ramon Candelaria, Strategic Director, LIBRE Wisconsin.
Ramon Candelaria and Nataly Andrade both call southeast Wisconsin home.
For years, they have worked as community organizers, encouraging their fellow Latinos to become active members of the political process.
“Having more organization, more Latinos out there advocating for what our children deserve,” said Nataly Andrade, Director of Hispanics for School Choice.
They say that drive is a big part of why they wanted to work with the LIBRE Initiative.
This fall, the nonpartisan group reopened its chapter offices here in the Dairy State, with the goal of going into neighborhoods to reach undecided Latino voters.
“We engage, we educate and we mobilize folks around health care, education, economic prosperity, and immigration. I think if we create policies that push those agendas forward for folks, we have a better chance of achieving that American Dream for all, not just Latinos,” said Candelaria.
While not directly affiliated with any party, the organization has supported and stood for issues that lean center-right on the political spectrum.
Andrade says she was drawn to LIBRE’s interest in pushing for school choice across the country.
“Because they're advocating for the same thing, and specifically in the Hispanic community, it is very beneficial for me as a Latina to have more Latinos join our cause. There's very few Latinos in the state of Wisconsin that actually advocate for school choice,” said Andrade.
They use canvassing, door-knocking, phone calls, and emails, to spread their message.
Candelaria says those conversations allow his team to get to the heart of what voters are looking to get from their candidates.
“It's really engaging with folks at a ground level and allowing them to really tell us what they need and how they need it and to figure out ways to provide that for them,” said Candelaria.
Looking ahead, both say the work they do now means nothing if they can’t plant the seeds to continue the progress for the future and encourage people to speak up for what they believe in.
“Whatever they're advocating for, we need more representation; we need more people to be speaking out,” said Andrade.
LIBRE is still getting its footing in town but plans to hit the ground running in the new year.