Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Saturday, Aug. 4 3:30 PM (Central)
Ends: Saturday, Aug. 4 4:45 PM (Central)
The devastating effects of Hurricane Maria had a diaspora effect on residents of Puerto Rico. The impact of this forced migration will reverberate in the state and national political landscape. Estimates indicate Florida has welcomed at least 300,000 Puerto Ricans so far. If just one third of that group had the ability to vote in 2016, Hillary Clinton would likely have won the state. The importance of harnessing the potential of a Puerto Rican voting block in a swing state like Florida cannot be overstated. But there needs to be strategic, concerted efforts to integrate and mobilize this powerful new group of voters. Hear from some of the players who are working to do just that, as they discuss the methods that are being employed towards the midterm.
Mayra Macías is a highly sought-after organizer, educator, and political operative, Mayra was named one of the American Association of Political Consultants’ top “2019 40 Under 40.”
Mayra grew up in Chicago’s southside, in the working-class family of Mexican immigrant parents and went on to attend Yale University, where she majored in American Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration. After graduating, Mayra moved to Miami to work for Teach for America as a middle school Language Arts teacher in Liberty City at Charles R. Drew Middle School.
She joined the Latino Victory Project in 2017, serving as national political director and vice president, she has served as the Executive Director since 2019. Mayra was the architect behind Latino Victory’s 74% win rate in the 2018 cycle — playing a critical role in electing the most diverse congressional class in history.
Mayra began her work in politics as a field organizer for the 2012 Obama campaign, working in the Little Havana office. After working in several issue-based campaigns, Mayra transitioned to the Florida Democratic Party, serving first as the Hispanic outreach director for South Florida and then as the deputy political director where she helped flip the Sarasota City Council. Mayra then transitioned from politics to policy by joining the Capitol Hill Fellowship, working for Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro, D-CT. Mayra returned to Florida the summer of 2016 and became the Florida Democratic Party’s political director — becoming the first Latina to hold this position.
Mayra’s media appearances include CNN, MSNBC, Telemundo, and Univision. She has been featured on The New York Times, Time magazine, The Miami Herald, NBC News, Vox, Business Insider, Politico, and The Hill.
Other sessions: Latinx Caucus
Melissa Mark-Viverito serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold citywide office. She represents the 8th District, which includes El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in Bayamon, she worked for over a decade in local activism, nonprofit organizations and grassroots labor organizing before being elected to the City Council in 2005.
Melissa Mark-Viverito was unanimously elected to serve as New York City Council Speaker in January 2014. As Speaker, she has focused on transparency in government and policies that generate socioeconomic opportunity and combat systemic inequality.
In May 2014, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito implemented sweeping rules reforms that increase transparency in city government and streamline the legislative process to better serve New Yorkers. Mark-Viverito also established budget reforms to ensure City Council resources are more equitably distributed across districts based on poverty levels.
Led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City has emerged as a national leader in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. In September 2014, Mark-Viverito announced a groundbreaking public -private partnership with The Robin Hood Foundation, New York Community Trust, and citywide legal service providers to fund legal representation for unaccompanied immigrant children facing deportation in New York City. While unaccompanied children across the nation unjustly face deportation proceedings without any legal assistance, this initiative guarantees a lawyer for all unaccompanied minors in New York City and also provides social, mental, and health services. Speaker Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council passed legislation in October 2014 limiting the City’s compliance with detention requests issued by United States immigration authorities without a warrant from a federal judge. This legislation ensures that individuals are not detained without sufficient cause or needlessly torn away from their families.
Amy Mercado is a working mom of 6, a caretaker to her ailing grandparents, and candidate for Florida’s House District 48.
As a former healthcare worker, she knows firsthand that people can’t afford to get sick. She understands doing what’s best for us means affordable healthcare so working families don’t have to choose between life-saving medication and paying for rent. And as a mother, she knows that doing what’s best for our children means teaching to a child’s potential not a test. Tallahassee is out of touch – it isn’t doing what’s best for us and it’s time we fix that.