“Orange is the New Black” star, Selenis Leyva, aged 43 is a Latina who has seen a great level of hardship and struggle before making it big in the entertainment industry. This woman of Cuban-American-Dominican nationality knows how it feels to be cast in stereotypical roles as Afro Latina. And talking about the deep divisions with the Latino community, this talented actress has started finally voicing her opinions against such discriminations. Selenis is now actively advocating to the youths from Latino communities to utilize their voting rights.
It is a known fact that every month, around 70,000 American Latinos step into adulthood. But despite the ever increasing number, their voting registration numbers is extremely low, which is why OITNB star Leyva collaborated with Rock the Vote to bring out effective change in the aforementioned stats.
The actress recently sat for an interview with Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane about her campaign on the occasion of National Voter Registration Day, where she talked about the importance of the Hispanic vote.
Before talking about the interview, let us tell you about the National Voter Registration Day. It is a national holiday in the America where people celebrate their right to vote and young people above 18 are encouraged to register for voting on that day.
Spillane asked Selenis about her involvement with the NVRD and her reason behind being part of this campaign. The actress replied that to voice one’s opinion in the nation’s policies, one needs to vote. She said: “The people who represent us literally make decisions for us – and you have to vote if you want those people to be making those decisions on your behalf.”
She added: “You can’t show up to vote in most states without being registered. That’s why I am celebrating National Voter Registration Day — because registering to vote is the first and most necessary step we take to making your voice heard at the ballot box.”
The actress who is famous for her role as Gloria Mendoza in OITNB, stressed on the importance of registering to vote, especially for young Latinos. She said: “Change in this country is made one of two ways: money or masses.”
“Right now, Latinos make up the largest growing constituency in this country. We have the masses. There are 70,000 eligible Latinos turning 18 every month and one in every four school children in this country is Latino. I am speaking out to tell all the Latinos in this country: you have got to register to vote and get out there in 2016. When we vote, politicians listen – and we cannot afford for our next President, Senator, Congressman, State legislature, City Councilor – whatever office — to make them listen to us.”
The actress is a supporter of the LGBT community and her sister Marizol is a transgender woman. She opened about the biggest reason why she plans to vote. She said that she wanted to be a positive role model for her young daughter, who is not yet eligible to vote. She stated: “I have a daughter that isn’t old enough to vote yet. I want to set a positive example for her and teach her how important it is to participate in our democracy. Some people say the political system is broken – I think it’s actually working the way it’s supposed to. When people don’t vote, they give their power away.”
She added: “If we want the politicians to work for us, we have to show up. I want my daughter to know I will always show up and I expect her to do the same.”
She also requested all those Latinos to never underestimate his/her votes because every vote matters.
“Voting is literally the only thing that makes us all completely equal,” she said.
“My vote counts as much as your vote counts – no more, no less. And whether you like my opinion or not, you have to listen to it when I voice it by casting a ballot.”
And when asked what could be done to help young people get registered and ready to vote, she replied: “We have got to create a more fun culture around voting in this country. Yes, voting is our responsibility as US citizens but is also a powerful, fun, patriotic thing we can do together. It’s really not about the Democratic Party or the Republican Party – VOTING is the party!”
She added: “So today, I’m asking you to grab a friend and get registered to vote. Do it together on your phones at RocktheVote.com or promote it online to your social network with the hashtag #CelebrateNVRD.”
So, if you are an American and haven’t registered yet, then you can follow her instructions and promote it online on Twitter and Instagram.