Coming to PBS tonight, Monday, October 3: WILLIE VELASQUEZ: YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE
Hector Galan’s profile of a community organizer has been shown at community screenings around the country and makes its debut on PBS stations this week.
Timed as a reminder of the considerable voting power of Latino/as in America, Galan introduces audiences to a largely unsung champion of voting rights, Mexican-American activist Willie Velasquez. Velasquez, realizing the only way for Latinos to gain any kind of advancement was through participating in the political process, founded Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, a grassroots, nonpartisan nonprofit that registered Latinos in 200 cities across several states, using the slogan “su voto es su voz,” which doubles as the film’s subtitle. He became the go-to contact for politicians on both sides of the aisle to seek an audience with Latino voters as both Republicans, and, more slowly, Democrats, realized their growing importance. While the film is conventionally constructed with an excess of narration, talking heads, and unnecessary re-enactments, Velasquez’s story offers historical and political interest.