Multicultural votes make difference in upcoming election

By Austin Metz | 9/26/12 5:28pm


GVL / Austin Metz
Chair of West Michigan Cesar Chavez Celebration Committee, Lupe Ramos-Montigny, speaking to a group of GVSU students on Latino Votes for the upcoming election.

With the Nov. 6 presidential election around the corner, Grand Valley State University is doing what it can to encourage students to get out and vote.

Lupe Ramos-Montigny, chairperson on the committee to honor César Chávez, visited GVSU in conjunction with the National Latino American Heritage Month to encourage students to educate themselves about the candidates and make a difference by voting.

“The fact that we live in the United States of America and in Grand Rapids, whether affiliated with a party or not, makes us politically involved in some way,” Ramos-Montigny said. “Do you see what a responsibility you have just by being born in the U.S.? You must exercise your responsibility to vote.”

Ramos-Montigny said a lot of students don’t realize the importance of their vote, but explained that each vote is just as important as the next, even with how many votes are cast in the U.S.

“There are many who think that their vote doesn’t matter, that it’s too hard to go out and vote,” Ramos-Montigny said. “Everyone’s vote is just as important as any other persons… You (students) are going to be the leaders of the U.S. in the future, that is a huge responsibility.”

Students were also encouraged to get involved with different boards and committees so their voice can be heard. “With the increase in the population in the U.S. comes added responsibility for civil engagement,” Ramos-Montigny said. “We want people to get involved. To sit at the table and then sit at the head of the table.”

Along with talking about voter participation, Ramos-Montigny encouraged the Latino population, which is the largest minority group in the U.S. with high population numbers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, and California, to participate in the vote as well.

Because of the high number of Latino Americans in the U.S., political parties are beginning to do different things to get the Hispanic vote. One example was at the recent political conventions when both parties had Latino speakers show their support.

Carnelius Scott is a freshman at GVSU who attended Ramos-Montigny’s presentation. “I learned that voting is very important in the U.S,” Scott said. “A lot of people don’t use their right to vote even though it can make a difference.”

Scott also thought that there are a lot of excuses to not vote but that shouldn’t stop people. “There are a lot of ways that you can be held back from voting, so going out and finding these things are very important,” Scott said.

As for Ramos-Montigny, she encouraged students to get out of their bubble and experience the world while also educating the older generation.

“Don’t stay in your little world, expand your world and get involved,” Ramos-Montigny said. “You are going to be more global than I am because of all the people who are coming into the U.S.”
For more information about multicultural events happening at GVSU, visit

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