Across all three states in the Southwest region, grantees are leading networks that focus collective advocacy on the multiple issues of importance to low-income families. The establishment of the Equal Voice Networks and participation by grantees and the regional allies has created a social and political space unique to the Southwest area.
Arizona: Arizona grantees and non-grantees continued to coalesce in the One Arizona network, collaborating in a robust civic engagement campaign that increased voter participation rates. One Arizona improved previous voter engagement campaigns into a data-driven and people effort to turn out the Latino vote. One Arizona registered more than 100,000 Latinos on the Permanent Early Voting list, increasing the chance of participation in all elections. The Latino voter turnout in Arizona has been steadily increasing and it is the only demographic that has seen such an increase since 2008.
New Mexico: Equal Voice New Mexico was an active participant in the Invest in Kids Now! Campaign, specifically in the Invest in Kids Now Day of Action at the state capital building during the 2014 New Mexico State legislative session. With the support of Equal Voice New Mexico, community members identified by network-member grantees from central and northern New Mexico, including Tewa Tribal communities, were able to come to the state legislature and advocate for investment in early childhood education.
Texas: The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network continues to work collaboratively on local and state- and federal-level advocacy issues. RGV EVN elected to work on six issue areas that families and community leaders selected during the 2008 national Equal Voice campaign: immigration, education, jobs, housing, health care, and civic engagement. The network’s working groups are led by grantees with expertise and experience in the area (for example, Proyecto Azteca, an affordable housing operation, heads up the housing working group). The working groups develop, evaluate and redevelop strategic plans, meet regularly and seek to increase the range of membership and the impact of their work. RGV EVN plans to add an LGBTQ working group, which will be led by grantees Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the ACLU Foundation of Texas.
The Paso Del Norte Equal Voice Network recently hired Cemelli de Aztlan to be its network weaver. Grantees in the network joined forces to improve the water quality for residents in colonias by successfully lobbying the county to install new filters in the water system. The network was also able to pressure the Department of Homeland Security to release a youth that had been detained by the Border Patrol despite being eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Paso del Norte Equal Voice Network will continue to collaborate on immigration reform efforts and will add education and integrated voter engagement to the Equal Voice platform for the region.