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With the presidential race in its final lap, the campaigning has become more strategic, and for all political parties, their sights as of recent have been closely focused on minority voters—particularly on Latinos. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of registered Hispanic voters are estimated to being approximately 27.3 million in 2016. And, if famed journalist and host of Univision’s Noticiero Univision, Jorge Ramos, is correct in his statement, Latino voters seem to be the deciding factor as to who will be the next president of the United States.

With this in mind, Ramos, along with a number of Latino entertainers, artists and activists were brought together for a special edition of HBO Latino’s popular Habla series, appropriately retitled Habla y Vota. The special, which will premiere on September 16, 2016, will also feature Prince Royce, George Lopez, María Celeste Arrarás, Adrienne Bailon and many others, who will all talk about their unique experiences as Latinos in the U.S. and address the importance of voting in hopes of motivating Latino viewers to get out and cast their ballots on November 8th.

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One of the talents featured on Habla y Vota, Brooklyn-born and raised MTAPD officer-turned-actor-singer-activist, J.W. Cortés, recognizes the importance of Latinos’ participation in the upcoming election. For Cortés—who some might recognize as Detective Carlos Alvarez from Fox’s hit primetime series Gotham—the issues he wishes will be addressed in the next administration are manifold. Cortés is also a Marine veteran, and so not only does he feel responsible for speaking to—and for—Latinos, but veterans’ rights are also a top priority for the Puerto Rican-rooted actor.

“Many of the people that I served with were people of color. I understand the plight of the veteran who serves and leaves behind his family, and who really relies on the government to do the right thing—but that doesn’t happen,” Cortés told ‘LLERO. “Therefore, it’s important that I use my platform to speak on their behalf. That’s who I represent. I’m talking more specifically about Latinos who every single day raise their right hands to enlist and protect this country,” he added.

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Julissa Arce, activist for immigrant rights and education, will also be one of the speakers on Habla y Vota. Arce—whose memoirs titled My Underground American Dream, out on September 13, and details her rise to wealth and status as an employee of Goldman Sachs, all while hiding the fact that she was an undocumented Mexican immigrant—will actually be voting in a U.S. presidential election for the first time since becoming a U.S. citizen, and she hopes that this accomplishment in itself is something relatable and hopefully inspiring enough to elicit Latino participation in the voting process.

“For me to be able to cast a vote and encouraging other Latinos to get involved, to register to vote, and go and vote is so important to me,” Arce shared with ‘LLERO about her participation in Habla y Vota, adding, “I think [Habla y Vota] is very important because you’ll see very diverse voices in this film—people who are very high-profile and have a lot of celebrity, and then you have people like myself who are everyday people just trying to make a difference.”

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About The Author

Emmanuel Ureña

Born to Dominican parents in NYC and raised in Passaic, NJ, in nearly a decade as an entertainment writer, Emmanuel Ureña has written for numerous publications including, AllHipHop.com, VIBE/VIBE.com, ‘LLERO, Latina.com, BET.com, Skin&Ink, Rebel Ink and Urban Ink. When he’s not typing away on his MacBook, Ureña is reading fictional novels and comic books while enjoying ice-cold Blue Moon beers. You might also find him at a local tattoo shop getting some fresh ink!

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