Youth from across California gathered at Bakersfield College last week for Kern’s first Voto Latino Power Summit — a conference for emerging leaders to receive inspiration from groundbreakers across media, tech and advocacy to discuss issues impacting their community.
At the power summit at the Levan Center, speakers such as Norberto Briceño, co-founder of Buzzfeed’s Pero Like, and host of Latin-X VICE Paola Ramos encouraged the audience.
“For me, Voto Latino is a great place where we can find the marriage between politics and civic engagement with entertainment,” said Briceño. “We don’t have to be only one thing. we can be a kaleidoscope of things.”
“We can really get people to be more engaged in politics if we made it more accessible to them,” Briceño said. “And to me, Voto Latino is a great place where we can create content that breaks outside the eco-chamber of politics, and really gets people to engage in their communities.”
Voto Latino is a national civic media organization seeking to transform America by recognizing Latino leadership. Through campaigns, grassroots voices, and pop culture they provide programs that educate and empower Latinos to be change makers.
The purpose of the event was to inform, inspire and get Latinx youth to network with one another.
“I’m excited that there are a lot of young faces here because they are our future,” said Julie Otero, who attended the event. “We need to encourage and empower the future through them.”
For Laura Pineda, she traveled all the way from Los Angeles with her friends to attend the event.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this,” said Pineda. “I’ve never really been introduced to something like this.”
Pineda learned at the event she can get involved in her community in many different ways.
“Through here I feel like you can network so much and become a part of something you want to become a part of,” she said.
Because of Voto Latino, Pineda said she’s going to reach out to family and friends to inform them and work her way up to reaching out to others about issues facing the community.
Alexis Arellano, a Cesar E. Chavez high school student, attended the event, and now he plans to go to more events like Voto Latino to become more informed.
He said, “I think it’s very informative on Latinos and the community.”
South Kern Sol is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, youth reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.