In 2020, the world witnessed the United States navigate a presidential election amid growing tensions over white supremacy, structural racism, misinformation, and elected officials deliberately exacerbating ugly social divisions. At the same time, the raging COVID-19 virus revealed gross government negligence—shaped in part by institutional racism—in protecting and supporting disproportionately affected communities from the pandemic’s physical and economic impacts. Election Day saw the highest voter turnout rates since 1900, but the results highlighted the country’s deep-seated social and political divides. There was strong representation in support of both sides of the ballot, and most Americans voted strictly along party lines.

Today, the question is: How can we build a democracy that truly reflects and serves all Americans? First, we must not be afraid to name the failed systems of power that led to social division and inequity in the first place. Then we must begin to replace those systems with new ones that support a truly inclusive, multiracial democracy. Funders, nonprofits, and grassroots organizers all have important roles to play in achieving this goal, and each must look both inward and outward to determine how to take effective action.

In our work at Hispanics in Philanthropy, a Latinx-led and Latinx-serving philanthropic organization, we have confronted the impacts of white supremacy, anti-immigrant rhetoric, COVID-19, and a divisive election and census year at both the personal and professional levels.

We also looked at what we could learn about the Latinx electorate—including what motivated them to vote, or not—and how we could both create more meaningful connections with Latinx community members and help move the country toward a more inclusive democracy. Here are five of our biggest takeaways:

  • The Latinx Vote Is Growing
  • Ongoing Civic Engagement Is Key
  • Authenticity Can Overcome Fear and Misinformation
  • Less-Traditional Leaders Have an Important Political Role to Play
  • We Need to Invest in Research

Read the full article about inclusive democracy by Ana Marie Argilagos at Stanford Social Innovation Review.