Reflection on the Obama presidency
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered his farewell address to the nation in Chicago, Illinois. For Mi Familia Vota (MFV), a leading Latino advocacy and civic engagement organization the moment marked a time for reflection on the strides made and the business left unfinished.
As advocates for accessible healthcare, MFV celebrates that since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented four million Latinos have found coverage. Not only did Latinos benefit from enrollment, the program created jobs and inspired lawmakers in California to expand coverage to children regardless of immigration status. MFV’s roots are in the fight for immigration reform and in 2012 President Obama delivered on his commitment to the the immigrant community through the DACA program. More than 741,000 people who arrived to the U.S. as children have been able to come out of the shadows, study, strengthen our economy, and thrive in the only country they know as home. Many of them worked during the last election, ensuring that those that were eligible to vote exercised their right.
As Latinos look toward the Trump Administration, the business left unfinished looms large and there will be many challenges to overcome, but MFV’s commitment to building political power and ensuring Latinos and immigrants are treated with dignity and respect has not wavered.
The following is a statement from Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota:
“In President Obama, we had an advocate in the Oval Office who we may not have always agreed with, but who often times wanted to deliver on the promise of ensuring the lives of all Americans were better. For the Latino community, who is so often courted for our vote, but not always offered a seat at the table, the eight years were transformative.
For eight years, we fought for accessible healthcare, education reform, protections for our nation’s workers, and environmental protections alongside Obama. With Latino students graduating high school and college more than ever before, the future is bright.
However, we cannot forget the unfinished business. Efforts to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform stalled and there continues to be an urgent need to restore the Voting Rights Act to protect the cornerstone of our democracy, the right to vote.
With a little more than a week until President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Latinos must not forget their important role in making the victories accomplished during Obama’s Administration possible. We cast our votes decisively, held our elected officials accountable fiercely, marched on the streets proudly - our political participation made a difference. Obama knows it and Trump will know it.
Mi Familia Vota will continue the business of building Latino political power in communities across the country. This week we’re saying thank you and farewell to Obama, but next week we will welcome an era of Latino political participation the country has never seen before.”