Take a breath. Stay hydrated. Hug your loved ones. We are in for an exciting and challenging next few days and weeks.

We do not yet have complete election results, and that’s OK. Early Vote and vote-by-mail have allowed millions of Americans to vote safely during the pandemic. It takes time to count every vote.

Texas and the Rio Grande Valley came out to vote in record numbers, even as the pandemic and deep systemic inequalities steal away our loved ones. We voted to decide our future and build our power to win the services and care we need to thrive.

Even in the middle of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, voters have done our job and turned out in record numbers. And now our election officials are doing theirs, as they have in every previous election.

But already, our principle of one person, one vote is under attack by misinformation and politicians who are weaponizing it. It is not an understatement to say that our democracy is at stake.

Each and every one of our votes must be counted. Any attempt to stop votes from being counted past Election Day is an attack on the people’s ability to decide how we live and thrive.

In this moment, we must stand up for the will of the people to decide our future. We pick our leaders – our leaders do not pick their voters.

Our votes must be counted. We demand that the person who we have chosen is sworn in as our president.

Over the next days and weeks, we will be called to show up in challenging ways. Stay connected with LUPE and our social media for ways you can take action.

In community,

Juanita Valdez-Cox.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of La Unión del Pueblo, a nonprofit community group in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. To reach Valdez-Cox email: [email protected].

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