Voting Matters

There are a million reasons why we should vote. But rather than to state many of them, let me begin by noting that in the last presidential election, almost 80 million eligible voters did not bother to vote. This is not about promoting any one party, it is about keeping our democracy robust and keeping our elected officials responsible to the nation’s most vital needs. Given America’s poor voting performance in the last election, we must do more than just show up at the polls—important as that might be. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni said it well last week when he pleaded: “And from now until Nov. 6, we must stay fanatically focused on (voting)—on registering voters, turning them out, directing money to the right candidate, donating time in the right places.” In 2016, America reached a milestone with the registration of 200 million voters. That same year, however, only 58% bothered to vote, a total of 116 million eligible voters. By any standards that low number of voters going to the polls should be much higher. Even more troubling, the percent of Latinos going to the polls in recent years has been lower than that of Whites or Blacks. In the 2012 elections, only 48 percent of Latinos registered to vote went to the polls, compared to 67 percent for Blacks and 64 percent for Whites. The Pew Research Center estimated that more than 27.3 million Latinos were eligible to vote in 2016. No one understood the power and potential of the Latino vote better than Willie Velazquez, the founder of the influential Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP). A product of San Antonio’s Westside, Velasquez worked with La Raza Unida, Mayo, and the United Farm Workers before launching SVREP in 1974 to register Latino voters and recruit Latino candidates for political office. He accomplished much in a very short time. Over the period 1974-1988, Velasquez led a successful “get out the vote” drive which conducted 1,000 voter registration education campaigns in over 200 cities. By the time of his premature death in 1988, SVREP led all other similar organizations in America in registering new voters. The registration of voters had a significant impact on the Latino political representation. In just a span of ten years, SVREP efforts paid off with an 80 percent increase in the number of Latino elected officials. The work of Velasquez is being carried on by thousands of young people involved with organizations like Project Vote. Writing for Project Vote, Jean Alia Robles reminded us that Democracy works when “people are given the chance to vote, to choose their representatives, and (take) their stance on social and political issues.” Studies show that in the coming political campaigns, young people are most likely to stay away on election day.

Political science professor Adam Bonica of Stanford University wrote this week in the New York Times that the highest percent of non voters in 2018 will be from the Millennial generation, ages 22-37. Bonica estimates, based on past experiences, that nearly one in three, or 31 percent of Millennials will not vote this year. No one knows the major reasons for this poor voting behavior, but we can assume it is likely to hurt Latino communities which seek health care as well immigration reform. Professor Bonica reminds us that “This is not about weaponing electoral institutions for partisan gain; it is about delivering on the promise of American democracy. The nation is at its best when democracy is on the rise.” Cesar Chavez, Willie Velasquez and Martin Luther King were respected civil rights leaders because they believed that meaningful change came about not just through protest, but through the ballot box. The coming elections will test whether we want change and a better future for our children, or whether we will allow other active voters to make decisions for us. If you care about democracy, get informed, get involved, support candidates who will change our community for the better. And register and vote!

UTSA Professor Discusses the Resilience of San Antonio’s Cultural Heritage

Facebook Twitter Google+ Gmail Print Friendly Like 0 By R Eguia . Last month, scholars, community members and students gathered at the Southwest School of Art Coates Chapel to hear a conversation by the San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed Professor at UTSA, William Dupont, called A Resilient Heritage: Designing San Antonio’s Future to Preserve Our Past. The talk introduced Cultural Sustainability as the continuity of cultural systems of human existence. People have heritage identities and values that bind them to places and communities are essential for full sustainability. “Design with respect for Heritage,” was a key theme as Dupont...

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Computer and Internet Addiction is a Real Thing

Facebook Twitter Google+ Gmail Print Friendly Like 0 Are you dependent on technology to bring you satisfaction in life? Dependency can be playing video games to escape reality, posting to social media to get attention or validation, compulsive online spending when anxious or bored, or visiting dating sites with the hopes of meeting the love of your life. Are there noticeable negative patterns surrounding your computer or internet activities? Are they causing problems in your relationships or affecting your work performance? Most of the time, these addictions are just distractions to real issues that people are not yet ready to face. They may feel anxious, impulsive or unfulfilled in life. These activities produce a “high”, filling a void and bringing pleasure that lasts momentarily. Overtime, these addictions have negative consequences that outweigh the positive feelings experienced. They can also have long-term negative effects on many areas of our lives. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research has shown that certain people are more susceptible to computer or internet addiction. These individuals include; those who have had prior addictions to other behaviors or substances; a history of depression or anxiety; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; or Low self-esteem. Recovering computer addicts reported feelings of euphoria when using the computer and feelings of depression, unfulfillment and irritability when not using it. They also described feeling withdrawn or neglected by family and...

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S.A Performance Art Collective HoK

Facebook Twitter Google+ Gmail Print Friendly Like 0 On March 9, the local performance art collective, HoK (House of Kenzo) presented Permutations, a 20 minute production exploring systems, fluidity, work and cycles, at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston. The trio, Ledef (sound production), Brexxitt (choreography) and Grapefruit (concept design) embodied possibilities through splash choreography and projection mapping. Local carpenter company, Precision Woodworking Texas, assisted the group with an installation that included an indoor water trough, a 10 part pulley system and a network of clear bags filled with water tied onto natural rope. The performance was inspired by...

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Mariachi Girl Stars Lucero Garcia at the Magik Theatre

Facebook Twitter Google+ Gmail Print Friendly Like 1 Many women have made their mark in the performance arts. In San Antonio, girls go to places like the Magik theatre to begin their journey. Like 14-year-old San Antonio actress, Lucero Garcia. She began acting at the age of 7 during The Magik Theatre’s summer camps and classes. She plays the role of Carmencita in the new show called Mariachi girl at the Magik Theatre. “I fell in love with musical theatre. All I could think about was being on stage singing and dancing and performing for people and making them...

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Guadalupe Cultural Arts

Facebook Twitter Google+ Gmail Print Friendly Like 0 By Melinda Gonzalez There is a renewed energy in the air and the culmination of efforts to re-establish the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC) as the beacon of Chicano Art is paying off. Founded in 1980 and located in the heart of San Antonio’s historic Westside, the nonprofit organization serves over 100,000 people each year on a local, national and international scale through artistic, educational, and community programming. Jorge Piña who is a native San Antonian is back and fulfills a key leadership position for the GCAC after resigning from the...

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About The Author

Dr. Ricardo Romo

Ricardo Romo earned a B.S. degree from the The University of Texas Austin; a M.A. degree in American History from Loyola University Los Angeles; and a Ph.D in American History from the University of California Los Angeles. Romo currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Southwest Research Institute, Board of Directors for the Brackenridge Park Conservancy, and Board of Directors for Humanities Texas. He is a member and past Vice President for The Philosophical Society of Texas.

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