HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Voting rights groups from across the nation sat down to talk about the importance of the voting rights movement happening here in Texas.
Equal access to voting is one of the cornerstones of democracy. That’s what community organizers from Mi Familia Vota, SEIU, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Victory Fund said the Texas House Democrats are trying to defend with their walkout.
Varun Nikore, who represented the AAPI Victory Fund, spoke about the importance of the Texas Democrats’ actions.
“We know that the promise of America is an America that we all have equal rights in this country,” he said.
In Texas, a group of over 50 Democrats is protesting voting restrictions that they believe Republicans aren’t compromising over. On the national level, Democrats are working to gather support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Civil Rights activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, Dolores Huerta, said the work being done now was historically important.
“What is happening right now in many ways is more severe, it’s broader, it’s bigger than what was going on in the ‘60s,” said Huerta.
Huerta called the actions of the Texas Democrats inspiring and said that the group is leading the charge for voting rights.
“You’re not fighting just for Texas, right,” said Huerta. “You’re fighting for the whole entire United States of America. You’re fighting for all of the states right now where the vote is trying to be suppressed.”
Around half of the registered voters in Hidalgo County voted in 2020, but voting groups hope a focus on recruiting local organizers would help bring the numbers up.
“That know their communities, that know from colonia to McAllen, understand the layout of the land and working together to build a plan of action for next year and all the elections to come,” said Angelica Razo, who represented Mi Familia Vota.
Another Mi Familia Vota representative said they hope to increase the number of Latino voters from the Rio Grande Valley for future elections.
The Texas Democrats that left the state maintain they won’t return until Republicans agree to a real compromise on voting bills.
They will be hosting a voting rights conference from Washington for the rest of this week.