Hispanic, Black Voters Reflect on Election Year

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In an election year that has seen record early voting turnout, many analysts are paying close attention to Hispanic and Black voters.

“You hear that often. I think we hear that every four years that the Black and the Hispanic vote is the game-changer and sometimes it is,” UT Dallas American Studies lecturer Jonathan Rosa said. “The Latino community has increased by over 2 million people. This year it is projected that it is going to be around 32 million projected to be able to vote in the Latino community.”

“I think for us as an Hispanic-owned business, I think we’ve really seen a lot more people in our community get more involved. I think more than in past years,” CocoAndre Chocolatier owner Cindy Pedraza said.

Pedraza lists the economy, immigration and COVID-19 as issues facing the Hispanic community.

“I see a lot of our customers going through a lot,” Pedraza said. “There’s a lot of conversation going on right now about loss. I think it is loss of family, loss of employment, loss of stability. I think those are the big conversations that I hear.”

In Dallas County, the Hispanic community has been hard hit by COVID-19.

“You see how many people are losing family and loved ones and are going through a hard time,” Pedraza said.

“This year the country has been going through crisis. We’re going through an economic recession,” Rosa said. “We’ve lost more than 20 million jobs. Half them have come back, but that has been disproportionately affecting the Black and the Hispanic communities.”

Dwight Harvey opened his restaurant, Off the Bone Barbecue, during the last large economic downturn in 2008.

“It was just a good old-fashioned recession and now this is just totally different. Something we’ve never experienced,” Harvey said.

Harvey counts the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and police reform as issues facing Black voters.

“We need some kind of reform. Too many things are happening to too many black males,” Harvey said. “Too many things are going on in the court system and everywhere else that’s not right and we know it’s not right and haven’t been right for a while.”

“We need to change. We need to quit fooling ourselves that this is working when it’s not,” Harvey said. “ We’re looking for some answers. We’re looking for some truth.”

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