We are thrilled to announce the resounding success of our inaugural Hispanic Heritage event, hosted at the Lynnwood Library during Hispanic Heritage Month. With over 200 enthusiastic attendees, it was a vibrant and educational celebration of Hispanic culture and a prime opportunity to engage with our Hispanic neighbors.
The event featured invaluable resources, but perhaps the most crucial aspect was the conversations we initiated about civic engagement. One of the highlights of the event was providing essential resources to the Hispanic community. This was not just about handing out forms and brochures; it was about creating a safe and welcoming space for people to share their thoughts, concerns, and questions.
Our volunteers played a pivotal role in bridging the communication gap, offering guidance, and instilling confidence in attendees. The first-ever Hispanic Heritage event at Lynnwood Library was an inspiring success, and it set the stage for even more enriching and enlightening events in the future.
Here are just a few of the experiences we had at the Hispanic Heritage Festival held on October 7th at the Lynnwood Sno-Isle library:
Sharing a table with the Snohomish County Elections office means that all we need to provide are our posters and brochures (less preparation required!), and we have the accountable people from the Elections office right there with us to help us answer questions.
Listening to the questions and concerns about voting that folks have helps us learn to do better in later chats with anyone about the electoral process.
People are grateful that we are there, and they say so, which gives you the incomparably fulfilling feeling of accomplishment, that you are “empowering voters and defending democracy.”
But these experiences happen at every tabling event, which is why we always encourage League members to volunteer for tabling, to spend a few hours with people who are dedicated to the same mission, and to come away from the event knowing that you have done good for your community. You gain so much for so little!
Here’s what else we experienced at the Hispanic Heritage Festival:
We heard a panel of Hispanic/Latino leaders discuss what they understood their experience to be before immigrating here, how they prepared, how their actual circumstances compared to what they had anticipated, and what advice they would give anyone new to this country or still feeling a lack of belonging. It was enlightening. If you have any heart at all for immigrants and refugees, you couldn’t help but be touched by what they had to say.
Karina Gasparin, who leads the group Mujeres con Actitud Latina that sponsored the Hispanic Heritage Festival, gave an inspiring talk that urged Spanish speakers to take an active role in our democracy by voicing their concerns to elected officials at all levels, as is their right.
We made an important connection with many in the community, including with Mayor Christine Frizzell of Lynnwood and Representative Julio Cortes of the 38th legislative district. Notably, we established a connection with Tania Siler, the Center Manager of Evergreen Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Center in south Everett. We have expressed our interest in signing up new voters when they graduate from the Center’s Citizenship Preparation classes. Stay tuned for this developing story!
We gathered one new voter registration and one address update, and received four more new voter registrations from an event specifically for young voters conducted the evening before by League member Julieta Altamirano Crosby.
And finally, honoring the varied multinational Hispanic culture was all around, from the Aztec dancers that helped to open the festival to the delicious Mexican-Peruvian fusion plate that made an amazing lunch!
Many thanks to the Snohomish County Elections office, and to board member Suleiny Altamirano, and League friends Betty Palomino and Marvin Perez for staffing the table, engaging with people, and answering their questions in their own language. We also want to express our gratitude to all who attended, volunteered, and shared their stories. Let's continue these essential conversations and build a more inclusive future together.
The League is receiving more invitations all the time to reach out with electoral information and voter education – please consider joining us to fulfill the mission that we are all dedicated to achieving.