It's Election Day. Have You Voted Yet? These Young Angelenos Think You Should.
The big day is finally here. It’s Election Day. I’ve just enjoyed my warm horchata latte from Tierra Mia. I am piped up. This morning, I’m heading to my polling location, filling out my ballot and voting for the candidates I think would make Los Angeles a better place.
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As I reiterate time and time again, my heart always goes out first to the young folks. They are indeed our future. We should teach them well, let them lead the way and show them all the beauty they possess inside (fun fact: Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” was my kindergarten graduation song!).
But in all seriousness, we are all voting for the future we want, right? Recently, we spoke to a couple of Gen Zers and folks who work with them about this fact and why their vote matters.
Irene Rivera works with the ACLU’s Youth Liberty Squad where she helps high school students get informed about voting and how to stay civically engaged throughout their life. These young people, she said, care about the same issues that any other voter would care about.
A lot of the major political movements that we've seen, young people are at the forefront of it. They're the ones really leading these actions, sharing what is happening in their communities and their schools, in their families. Whatever we vote on and decide right now is gonna have an impact on them and their future.
Clara Castronovo is a student at UCLA. She cast her first vote in November 2020 and helps lead an organization on campus that registers students to vote. They are running a campaign called The New Voters Project. She said she wanted to get involved because oftentimes as a young person, it feels like you can’t.
The 2016 election happened during my first year of high school, and that brought a lot of people that previously had not paid attention to politics into paying attention. I think a lot of times there's a narrative that young people don't vote at all or at high rates. But we are a very large group, so if we all turn out the vote, we can make a really big impact.
Lastly, is Catherine Estrada, who is also a UCLA student and organizer. Last year, I interviewed her for a story I wrote about Southern California students who were advocating for government funding for more mental health support in their schools.
Estrada said she’s heard from peers who don’t think their vote will matter. She says she gets that. With what seems like bad news all the time, it’s easy to get jaded. But this is her response to the folks on the fence:
There's two options in front of you. You either take the route that makes it better or you just leave it as is. And if you ask me, I'd rather try to at least. At least I did something to make the issues that I see in my community less prevalent. If we can't fix it today, it's probably gonna get fixed tomorrow or maybe the next day if we just keep trying.
I don’t know about you but I find that pretty inspiring. Listen to more of these voters’ thoughts on the latest podcast episode of How To LA.
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To shift gears a little, we are nearing the end of our fundraiser this week. If you’ve used the Voter Game Plan at all to help you prep for the polls, you know how useful it can be. Karen from L.A. found LAist resources crucial.
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As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.
The Other News You Need To Know
*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding!
- I hope you’re not sick of the rain, because guess what? You can expect to see this stormy weather through tomorrow, as Los Angeles is expected to get anywhere between 1 to 3 inches of rain, with potential flooding in some areas. The upside is that this extra drenching could help the most parched parts of our communities.
- As of Monday morning, about 18% of registered Angeleno voters in L.A. County turned in their ballots. Here’s what we know so far about Southern California voter turnout. Polls close at 8 p.m. today.
- There’s a history of mudslinging between L.A. Unified school board candidates. However, this year there’s been a shift towards positive advertising.
- The message to potential Latino voters in California this year is to go vote for your health. That’s how some canvassers are trying to persuade folks to cast their ballot because of a belief among some medical professionals that an engaged community is a healthy one.
- For Orange County voters, the OC bus strike will pause for the midterm election. It’s important to note that the pause is temporary and could resume as early as Wednesday.
- The Republican Party is favored to take back control of the house and needs to pick up 5 seats to do so. Here’s a guide to the key bellwether districts to keep an eye on.
- Antisemitism has reached an all-time high in the U.S. and it’s increasingly common to see hateful antisemitic rhetoric in politics and in public discourse. Here’s what communities are doing about it.
One More Story: Getting Land Back With No Strings Attached
Tuesday is the day I like to highlight interesting stories I’ve come across. This next one I almost missed. My colleague Jessica P. Ogilvie last month wrote about an Altadena property worth millions that was returned back to the Tongva people who are indigenous to the area and the greater Los Angeles Basin.
Native people have struggled to get some of the land back that was taken from tribes during the period of Spanish colonization. But this property is one of the first pieces of private land given back to Native Americans living in the L.A. area. Sharon Alexander’s grandparents had purchased the land years ago. It wasn’t until Alexander’s grandmother told her about the property’s fire pit, which used to be a tribe’s fire circle, that she realized this land would be served best cared for by the Tongva.
So how will the space be used in the future?
It would include a ceremonial space, indigenous plants to the area and educational programs for the public, but particularly for young members of the tribe who may not know their history.
Read Jessica’s story to learn more about the complications in making this land donation and what it means to the Native people of L.A.