Interview of Mary Janet Ramos, TOLA 7
Q: Tell us about your involvement with the Hillary Clinton campaign in Nevada?
A: As a field organizer, I was responsible for daily voter contact outreach including attending community events, doing door to door work, and organizing daily phone banks. Every day I had conversations with people in the community. I also helped organize outreach events in the Latino community, promoting the importance of participating in the caucus and the general election. Our Latino team held several informational sessions called “Caucus Conmingo,” an effort to educate the Latino community about the Caucus process. Many Spanish speaking Latino voters did not know that the Caucus is a physical presence vote that gives them the opportunity to choose their presidential democratic candidate. The majority only participate in the general election.
Q: What inspired you to work on a presidential campaign?
A: As a first generation Latina, I understand the importance of voting and in electing candidates who will protect and advocate for basic rights such as the right to vote, to an education, access to health care, and workers’ rights.
Immigration reform also is a very important issue for me. I want to make sure that this issue is not forgotten, and that we continue to build on the success of current policies advanced by President Obama (eg., Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Work Permit Program for children who arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, and providing a path for citizenship for undocumented individuals).
Latinos will definitely be playing a pivotal role in this presidential election. This is a great opportunity for our community to send a message to our political representatives that our voice matters and that immigration reform continues to be a top priority for many of us.
Q: What is the most valuable takeaway form your TOLA experience? How are you applying this to your current position?
A: I have so many! The two most valuable lessons I learned are the importance of the personal story and making the “ask.” Sharing your personal story and being able to relate to others is very important in organizing. I did this everyday as I talked to voters in Nevada. You can always share the facts, but connecting with a person and telling them why you’re personally invested takes the connection to a different level. If you’re able to connect, then the power of the “ask” becomes that much more powerful.
Q: What impact would you like to have on the world?
A: In addition to comprehensive and humanitarian immigration reform, I’m very passionate about workers’ rights. The impact that I’d like to have on the world is to make sure that all workers have the rights to bargain without being afraid of retaliation from their employer, and that they receive fair wages for their work and benefits such as medical insurance and paid sick days. Last but not least making sure there is equal pay and that women are not underpaid just because of their gender.