¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? 2: Cilantro and the 2016 Elections

Nov 14, 2016

Since 2012, the number of Hispanic eligible voters has increased by 4 million, nationwide. An increased attributed to more Latinas registering to vote, according to the Pew Research Center. To better understand the impact this can have on this election, we go through a bilingual journey of politics in the kitchen and the many definitions of the American dream. 

A recent study by the City University of New York shows that the growing trend among the nation's estimated 27 million eligible Hispanic voters is the increasing number of Latina women stepping up to the ballot box.

"I think as Mexican Americans, as young people, I guess just as youth in general to step up and say ‘you know what’ if we don’t like what we’re hearing then let’s do something about it. This is a great opportunity to show that. When going either to vote or to events like these and making your voice known. Showing the general populous that we are here. We are positively here and hopefully that plays out in a positive way.” Suzana Solorza, Evansville Resident

Suzana Solorza (Left) and her sister Stefanía Solorza (Right) at Fiesta Evansville selling their mother's Mexican Tres Leches cakes.
Credit Mareea Thomas / WNIN

Even those who are not elegible to vote, are voicing their opinions. Marisa Caballo, from Peru, is not eligible to cast her vote this election year but she feels strongly who should win this presidential race.

“Ah sí ahorita están los candidatos, ¿no? Hillary Clinton y Donald Trump que bueno para mi parecer tienen muchas contradicciones, ¿no? Y a lo mejor sería Hillary Clinton porque ella no discrimina a los Latinos. Entonces me parece que no va a ver tanto problema con ella.”  Marisa Caballo - Evansville Resident 

Marisa Caballo and her daughter from Perú caught up with us after their cooking shift to chat about Perú.
Credit Samantha Horton / WNIN

Y aunque Latinas express strong favorable feelings for the Democratic Party, others believe Donald Trump has more to offer. Chicago-born with a German Hispanic background Republican Kitty Merkley is running for Dubois County Treasurer. She believes the Republican party has a responsive approach to can make a difference among all communities. 

"I feel like Republicans are very concerned with tax payer’s dollars and how to use to benefit everyone in the most effective and efficient way. They’re also responsive and willing to work with all to make a difference and to help everyone to live in a much safer better country.” Kitty Merkley - Dubois County Resident 

Kitty Merkley (Center) and her family.
Credit Kitty Merkley

Thirteen percent of Latinas support building a fence along the border with Mexico while strong majorities favor policies that would not only allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and gain legal resident status, but also provide a path to citizenship. Latinas like Arcea Zapata believes voting is a privilege  and she plans to exercise it in hopes of creating new goals for girls

"So for me, I don’t have any doubts. I’m doing the right thing. And I also believe that there are historical things in life that are important and in my case because I decided to vote for a woman I think it would be a good example for women and for girls.” Arcea Zapata.

Arcea Zapata, founder of L.A.C.I.A.; Spanish language and Latino culture immersion.

Besides the many political opinions among immigrants the American dream continues to bond the borderless. 

“When you have a dream, America is the best place where you can fulfill your dream because is the country where everything is possible. This is why America is great. Because you can receive you papers saying you’re an American but if you don’t share the values, which are the building of this nation by the founders, I think you’re not an American.”  Serge Pacore Pre from Africa about what it means to be an American. 

Serge Pacore Pre from Africa.
Credit Paola Marizan / WNIN