By Som Lisaius,
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - Headquartered out of a single room in a south side Chinese restaurant, there's a national push to make local change in Southern Arizona. Paz en Accion or Peace in Action comes to Tucson to help local Hispanics get out the vote. This election day, KOLD News 13 shadowed the effort from La Bella China Restaurant at 12th and Drexel.
"I'm a campaigner and I like to go where things are hot," says Jorge Neri, a national coordinator for Campaign for Change. Chicago, Illinois is home for Neri, but when he heard about Paz en Accion, he made his way to Tucson as fast as he could.
Election day is pretty big news everywhere, but considering some of the issues at stake in Southern Arizona--it seems even bigger here today.
"It's because Arizona's political climate right now is so polarized," says Seattle, Washington based volunteer Jessica Olivas. "And the Latino community, they need their voice uplifted."
Precisely why Paz en Accion is here. They're young political activists from all over the United States.
"I flew here from Seattle right after I graduated from the University of Washington," Olivas says.
Moises Hernandez has spent the last month in Arizona campaigning. "I've been to Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler," he says.
And now to Tucson, to make one last push...to get out the vote.
"It's promise Arizona," Hernandez says, pointing to his Paz en Accion shirt. "So you're promising Arizona your commitment to come out, help."
Hernandez comes to Tucson from Long Beach, California. With the help of nearly 200 volunteers, many of them from local high schools. The group is going door to door encouraging people to vote. In the last month and half, they've made nearly 10-thousand contacts in Tucson.
Volunteer Ed Booth on why that's so important.
"There's some 400 thousand Hispanics who could register to vote or are registered to vote and don't vote in the State of Arizona," Booth says.
"W try to break up those little things that hold up people from voting," Neri says.
As the deadline approaches Paz en Accion is willing to do just about anything to get people to the vote.
"They have a saying that's called knock and drag," Neri says, smiling. "It's you need a ride to the polls? you bring them out and no excuses. You don't have a car? "We'll drive you."
19 year old Moises Hernandez agrees. "We have a lot of people and a lot of them that are citizens that can vote--you know, they can make a huge difference in this," he says.
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