These simple but profound words – I count! – carried a special significance for Edwin Gil when he spoke them to the crowd gathered at his gallery in the historic South End of Charlotte this week. The victim of a traumatic childhood in Colombia, Edwin emigrated to the United States as a young man and moved in with an uncle in Charlotte, where he discovered his calling in the world of art. He is now a successful artist, small business owner, and social entrepreneur whose paintings emphasize diversity and social solidarity.
This November, Edwin will cast his ballot for the first time as a United States citizen. And he is proud to be casting it for President Barack Obama.
“President Obama stands behind me by believing that we prosper when we are all in this together and we stand united as a nation. Estamos unidos – because together, we will make this country greater.”
Edwin wasn’t alone. The event, which was organized in partnership with Hispanic American Democrats of North Carolina and its local Mecklenburg County and Union County chapters, was well attended by local elected officials and other leaders of the Latino community. A large crowd from the Charlotte community filled his gallery on Thursday to celebrate the official North Carolina launch of Latinos for Obama, a grassroots movement of Latino and Hispanic voters who are standing together with the President as he works for progress on jobs, education, health care, and immigration reform. Among them was OFA National Political Director Katherine Archuleta, who, as the first Latina to serve in this capacity for a major presidential candidate, emphasized the critical role that Latino voters will play in the 2012 election.
North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country, and Latinos for Obama will give this growing community an opportunity to stand together and make its voice heard. In Edwin’s words:
“Latinos for Obama is about fighting for a future where everyone who works hard and does their fair share gets a chance at the American Dream – just as I had the chance.”
President Obama recognizes that America’s success is intricately tied to Latinos’ success, and he will continue fighting to restore economic security and advance educational opportunity for all of our state’s families.