It's Complicated: Latino Voters in the 2020 Elections

It's Complicated: Latino Voters in the 2020 Elections

This exciting panel was designed to promote a critical and complex conversation on the role and impact of Latinos in the last electoral cycle and consider questions for the future. Professor of English and Comparative Literature Frances Negrón-Muntaner led the discussion with key leaders in the fields of law, politics, journalism and grassroots organizing. This event was a follow up to the post-2016 election panel entitled, “What Really Happened? Latinos and the 2016 Elections.”


  • Marisa Franco is a Phoenix-based organizer, writer and strategist. She is the Director and co-Founder of Mijente, a hub for Latinx/Chicanx organizing and movement building. In her over 10 years of work, Marisa has helped lead key campaigns rooted in low-income and communities of color, characterized by their innovation and effectiveness. Most recently she led the #Not1More Deportation campaign and co-authored How We Make Change is Changing. She is a trusted collaborator with grassroots leaders across the country spanning immigrant rights, racial justice, feminist, LGBTQ and labor movements.
  • Manuel Natal Albelo is a Puerto Rican attorney and a member of Puerto Rico's House of Representatives since 2013. During 2016’s General Election, Manuel was reelected as Representative At-Large of the Popular Democratic Party, securing the largest number of votes by any elected official within his party. Two years later, Manuel became an independent member of Puerto Rico's House of Representatives, after leaving the Popular Democratic Party due to differences of principles and values with the party's leadership. Representative Natal is currently part of a new political movement that seeks to end corruption, overturn austerity, and move beyond historic stalemates.  In 2020, he ran for Mayor of San Juan representing the relatively new party Victoria Ciudadana, which translates to "Citizen's Victory”, and the voting outcome is still in progress.

  • Frances Negrón-Muntaner is one of the world’s leading scholars of Latino studies, groundbreaking artist and professor at Columbia University.  Her scholarship and artistry span a wide range of forms, such as film, public art, and essay, with a focus on the Caribbean, the African diaspora, and Latinos in the United States. Her publications include, Puerto Rican Jam: Rethinking Colonialism and Nationalism (1997), Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture (2004), The Latino Media Gap: The State of Latinos in US Media (2014), Sovereign Acts (2017),  and many articles in academic journals. Among her films and arts works are: AIDS in the Barrio (1989), Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican (1997), Small City, Big Change (2013), War in Guam (2015), and Valor y Cambio (2019). Negrón-Muntaner has also founded transformative programs and institutions, including the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and the Latino Arts and Activism Collection at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which aims to preserve and make accessible materials about the Latino experience.  She has published op-eds in The New York Times, Pacific Standard, The Conversation, Huffington Post, Nueva Sociedad, O Globo, El Diario/La Prensa, and 80grados, and appeared in multiple venues, including NPR, BBC, CBS, HBO, O Globo, and Univision.
  • Yamil Velez is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at Stony Brook University and holds B.A.s in Political Science and Psychology from Florida State University. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection between racial and ethnic politics, political psychology, and political geography, with a focus on immigration. Prior to coming to Columbia, he was an Assistant Professor at George Washington University and Wesleyan University.
  • Julio Ricardo Varela is the Founder/Publisher Latino Rebels and Co-Host, In The Thick podcast.