Read the original story in Spanish at El Diario
Translated and condensed by Carlos Rodríguez Martorell
A contingent of local Latino activists joined the march for immigrant and housing rights held last Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, in support of Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic candidates aspiring to the party’s nomination.
“I support Bernie Sanders because he wants to fight for Medicare for all. He has made a difference, while other candidates have submitted proposals that will leave many members of our community behind,” said Nilda Báez, who lives in Brooklyn. An activist with Make the Road Action, a New York-based organization behind the presence of dozens of Latinos at the Nevada march. “Access to health must be a right, and we will get there with Sanders as president,” Báez added.
Thousands of followers of the Democratic candidate chanted in Spanish and carried signs reading messages such as “Nuestro poder, nuestro voto” (“Our power, our vote”), “¡Se vive, se siente, Bernie Presidente!” (“We live it, we feel it. Bernie for president”), “Vamos, sí se puede. Latinos unidos jamás serán vencidos” (“Let’s do it. Yes, we can. Latinos united will never be defeated”). They marched down the streets of Clark County in Las Vegas, signaling the beginning of the much-anticipated contest set for February 22.
Make the Road Action, which recently made its support for Sanders official, brought their members to the group’s Nevada branch offices in time for the first day of early voting. Daniel Altschuler, managing director for the organization, said their efforts include canvassing 10,000 homes in Latino neighborhoods to ensure a large turnout in support of Bernie Sanders, both during the early voting period and the caucus itself.
“As the undocumented mother of a son with DACA, I support Bernie Sanders because he is fighting for citizenship for all and to put a moratorium on deportations. Of all the candidates, he is the one with the best immigration plan, and we are in Nevada to ensure that everyone in the Las Vegas community knows it,” said one Make the Road Action activist, who traveled from Long Island.
Eliana Fernández, coordinator for Make the Road Action, stressed the significance of winning this caucus. “We know that he has strong support among the Latino community and communities of color, and we are confident that he will win in Nevada. We will then go back home to make sure he also wins in New York,” she said.
Latinos in Nevada total 790,083, or 28 percent of the population, of which 328,000 are eligible to vote. There are nearly 1.6 million active registered voters in the state. Analysts have pointed out that Nevada, the state where the third contest of the cycle will be held (after Iowa and New Hampshire), is the first one with a significant Latino population.
Sanders, who is leading in general polls, scored points by attending the Saturday march, in which racial diversity was evident with Latinos taking center stage.
“We need you to bring your grandmother, we need you to bring your uncle, we need you to bring your best friend, we need you to bring your neighbor,” said New York State Senator Jessica Ramos during a rally held following the march.