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“We need to be represented” | Memphis Spanish-only forum hopes to bridge gap between politicians and Latinx community

ABC24 is profiling Memphis mayoral candidates, which can be found at ABC24.com/politics

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Political candidates attempted to bridge the gap to the Latinx community with a Spanish-only forum, organized Sunday afternoon in Raleigh by several community organizations that said the event was a first of its kind.

While Memphis is less than one month away from deciding its next mayor, Hilda Galleus, one of the several organizers for the city’s Spanish speaking forum, told ABC24 that she and many others have been waiting for decades to feel represented.

“They need to know that we need to be represented,” Galleus said.

Since moving to Memphis in 1999, Galleus said those seeking political power have failed to connect with Hispanic voters.

“I’ve never seen any of the political system reaching out to the Hispanic community, and we want that to change,” Galleus  said.

Aided by translators, the audience saw where Memphis City Council and mayoral candidates stood on key issues in the Latinx community. In addition, Galleus hopes this will also expose candidates to the struggle many in the Latinx community experience on a daily basis.

“We want the candidates to experiment what we feel when we go to any office and we don’t got nobody that speaks our language,” Galleus said.

“The English language is not the only language that is spoken in the home,” said Andrea Jacobo, forum moderator. “We are all living under Shelby County and Memphis, and we want to be a part of the process.”

Five mayoral candidates were present Sunday: Paul Young, Van Turner, Floyd Bonner, Michelle McKissack, and Brandon Price. While notable front runners JW Gibson, Karen Camper, and Willie Herenton were not present, Jacobo said the door is always open to them and future candidates.

“This shows that there is a new future for our mayor, and it shows that we matter in this community,” Jacobo said. “It’s OK that they don’t know the Spanish language. We will be here with open arms to welcome them to enter the conversation that matters the most to the Latino community.”

Election Day in Memphis is Oct. 5, but early voting is underway. Information on where and when you can vote can be found here.

ABC24 has also been profiling Memphis Mayoral candidates, which can be found here.

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