Cristina Tzintzun, executive director of the Workers Defense Project in Austin, makes the case for voting as part of a holistic approach to political organizing and activism. In an essay on Al Jazeera English, she states:
I realise that voting isn’t the most important thing I do to make a difference, but to honour those who struggled to get into the voting booth, to prevent the Republican party from undermining the needs of my community, and to advance a more progressive agenda, I vote.
Tzintzun points out that voting is an important first step, but only one step in the process of deepening democracy:
I vote because while I don’t believe that voting alone can solve our problems, I have seen the real difference it does make. The undocumented students that pushed President Obama to grant them work permits allowing their open participation in building our nation, proved this. This action was in direct response to community pressure by undocumented students that occupied Obama campaign offices. I have seen that there are people in government who care, but it also requires us as an organised community making its demands heard. This election I’ll be voting, and encouraging everyone in my community to do the same. After the election, I will continue to pressure whichever elected officials end up winning, to remind them that they are accountable, and we are the ones they must answer to. As Latinos, it’s important that we go to the polls this election cycle and fulfill our duty to our community.
The Workers Defense Project is one of the organizations helping to build a progressive community in Austin at 5604 Manor.