John Leguizamo Pens Op-Ed Asking Latinos to Vote Against Donald Trump
"We are victims of neglect, discrimination and ignorance. We have grown up amid an entrenched disrespect for Latin culture, and we have often internalized that disrespect."
John Leguizamo urged for a "Latino Spring" at the voting polls in a New York Times op-ed published on Friday.
"Donald J. Trump has done one good thing. He has galvanized a conflicted and diverse community. For years, activists and politicians have struggled to get Latinos to vote and show their power. But not until Mr. Trump's racist rhetoric shone a light on anti-Latino sentiment did we feel the need to make our voices heard on the issues that matter to us," wrote the actor, highlighting the issues of school funding, community infrastructure and health care.
"We are victims of neglect, discrimination and ignorance. We have grown up amid an entrenched disrespect for Latin culture, and we have often internalized that disrespect," continued Leguizamo, who previously slammed Saturday Night Live for showcasing "hate-mongering" Trump as a guest host.
As for why Latinos are often perceived as "illegal" immigrants and are left out of American history (including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War and the two World Wars), he reflected, "It's as if our heroism and sacrifice somehow counted less, as if we didn't exist in history at all. Without a past to glorify and uplift you, how do you propel yourself into an unknown, tenuous future?"
Leguizamo also noted that Latinos hit roadblocks when applying for jobs and even trying to rent from Airbnb, adding that Hispanics are underrepresented in film and television and that such "exclusion sends a painful message to every Latino child about how he is seen and judged. Latino people face a double challenge: to create our own positive self-image while battling against the way the broader society portrays us. ... We are vulnerable to a demagogue like Mr. Trump claiming that we are all 'drug dealers,' 'rapists' and criminals."
"We must demand an equal share of the American dream, and not accept a downgraded version of it," he concluded. "We need to stop accepting exclusion over persecution."