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Jaslene Gonzalez wants people to get involved

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Updated: November 27, 2012 10:54AM



Back in 2009, I played the lead girl in the music video “Por un Segundo” by Aventura. To me they’re like the Spanish Beatles — I grew up listening to them; I idolized them.

The reason I bring that up is that I recently ran into band member Max Agende at Dyckman Bar in New York. We were both there to support Voto Latino, an organization that empowers American Latinos to claim a better future through voting. We’re a group dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices into the political process by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to shake up the political process.

There were such great vibes that night: People were sharing their opinions on the debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney and, of course, debating among themselves about who they’d be voting for. People from around the block came out to check out what was going on, and just like that, a party on the sidewalk turned into an opportunity to get people registered to vote.

My earliest memory about voting is from when I was a kid passing out flyers for an alderman in Chicago my family was supporting. I remember how cold it was and waking up at 5 a.m. every day. To be honest, it was not a good experience! But I think that this year it’s crucial to get involved, and to vote. As a community, we need to understand that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues.

Nothing intrigues me more than community service. I’m not God’s solution to society; I don’t want to put myself on that platform. But it all starts with you and me. Bureaucracy exists, but if we can all just be leaders in our communities, our group can make a change.

If you don’t see that Latinos have power, look at our celebrities, ambassadors and politicians. Most of them make an attempt to educate themselves and others on issues that we as a community face, like immigration and the economy. Being a majority of the minority, we Latinos can have a huge impact on the world.

With Voto Latino, I’ve found such an authentic and enthusiastic way to get people involved and to change our hearts, minds and future. I’ve always said being part of a diverse community is a way to share valuable information. We must seek out opportunities to engage each other in a conversation about our future.

Start now, Latinos! Make your vote count in 2012.

Jaslene Gonzalez donated her fee for writing this piece to Voto Latino, Votolatino.org.



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