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Ohio Governor Ted Strickland Surprises Latino and Community Leaders at #LatinOHs March To The Polls

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Yesterday, Latino, labor and faith community leaders from Ohio’s Cuyahoga County–and beyond–joined voters in an early vote rally and candlelight march to the polls, under the banner “LatinOHs Votan.”  

Around 60 people attended the early voting rally in a restaurant below the offices of La Mega 87.7, the local Spanish language radio station which also participated in the event.  After the one-mile march to the polls, two dozen Cuyahoga County voters went inside and cast their ballots, while the rest of their allies and supporters remained outside to congratulate them.    

Among the groups participating were Hispanic Alliance, For Ohio’s Future, Cleveland Jobs With Justice, LULAC-Cleveland, Latino Voters Action Fund, Nueva Luz Urban Resource Center, Mamás Con Poder and Moms Rising, Marching into the Light, and Ohio’s Voice.

Community leaders Isabel Framer, Ivelisse Roig Sepúlveda, Claudia Agosto, and Justine Bernacet played key organizing roles. In addition, leaders from Franklin, Summit, and Lorain counties made the trip to Cleveland to show their solidarity and support.

Among the speakers were CWA District 4 Executive Vice President Linda Hinton, Hispanic Alliance’s Juan Molina Crespo, Minister Kyle Early, Pastor Omar Padilla, LULAC-Cleveland’s Hugo Urrizar, LOIRA’s Anabel Barron, Ohio Hispanic Coalition’s Josue Vicente, as well as surprise guests Cynthia Rice, a candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a candidate for US Senate.

The crowd was treated to a moving performance of social justice-themed songs from Andres Useche.

“I call on all of to make sure we don’t get tired of this fight for justice,” said Kyle Earley of Raise Up Cleveland before the group left for the march. He left the group off with a quote inspirational to him: “It’s not a moment, it’s a movement.”

Anabel Barron, Vice President of the Lorain Ohio Immigrant Rights Association, spoke about the importance of this election and how high the stakes are for her as an undocumented immigrant. She asked those who can vote this year in the Presidential election, to do so, for immigrants likes her.

Following Useche’s performance, Gov. Strickland joined the rallygoers on the march to the polls, chanting “El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido! (“The people united, will never be defeated!”).

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“The energy and commitment at this event were amazing,” said Lynn Tramonte of Ohio’s Voice, one of the event organizers.  “There is a really special group of people in Ohio who have made it their duty to expand political engagement among Latino, African American, immigrant, and allied Ohioans.  We were happy as we marched to the polls, and we vowed to come together again in the next election.”

Molina Crespo of Hispanic Alliance and Hinton of CWA District 4 stated that they were there to vote for politicians who reflect their values, recognizing that voting is just the first step.  

“After we elect our leaders to office, we have to work with them on policy change and hold them to their campaign promises,” Tramonte put it.