As Election Day approaches, the nation cannot hide from the growing political strength of Latino voters. We make up the second largest and fastest growing group of Americans. What’s most impressive is that nearly half of all eligible Latino voters are young people, helping to make Millennials the most diverse generation in history. But when politicians speak to our community, they seem to focus solely on immigration. While comprehensive immigration reform is a critical step toward building an inclusive democracy, there are many other issues that directly impact our lives.

The bigger picture

More young Latinos are going to college than ever before and graduating with crushing student loan debt. Borrowing is on the rise for all college students, but Latinos are burdened with some of the highest debt among young graduates. Traveling the nation with a presidential campaign and now Rock the Vote, I am reminded each time I speak with my peers that no one should be forced to take on massive debt just to earn a degree.

“Candidates who want our support should offer economic plans that provide ladders to the middle class and beyond.”

Our community is also spurring economic growth across the country and we are focused on building an economy that works for all of us. Yet Latinos still experience the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. Candidates who want our support should offer economic plans that provide ladders to the middle class and beyond.

Voting for change

One thing is clear: politicians know that young Latino voters matter. The issues we care about—access to education and an economy that supports a living wage—must be addressed for the entire nation to succeed. As a first generation American, I understand the opportunity this country presented to my parents and the growing potential it holds for my own children. But we must work together to fight back against the forces that threaten our progress by voting.

If the most diverse and inclusive generation in history turns out to vote, we can shape this nation from the president all the way down the ballot. For young Latinos, voting is the best opportunity to fight for a spot at the table, to elevate our issues and to speak our truth to power.