Educating oneself about voting matters, a local county commissioner said Feb. 23 at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
“When my mom was your age…she wouldn’t have been able to vote as a woman or as a Mexican,” said Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca-Clay Flores of Precinct 1. “Yet we sit here — you can just walk to the voting site, and we choose not to vote — yet we complain when they pass laws that keep us from having access to vote. And when you go to vote, you really need to educate yourselves on who this person is really about.”
Clay-Flores spoke to a crowd of about 60 students, parents and staff in the auditorium as a part of the university’s Speaker Series.
Clay-Flores explained how the lack of diversity in government positions fueled her to take action and that citizens should do the same by exercising their right to vote.
“I was always talking about ‘we need more women of color to run for office, we need more women to run for office, we need more people of color to run for office’ and I was like — well here I am, woman of color, educated,” Clay-Flores said. “So I can’t complain about the things that are going on in our community if I’m not willing to step up and do something about it.”
The commissioner also described how important it is as a government official, and as a citizen, to connect with strangers in the community. She spoke about engaging with the community and approaching people from all walks of life.
“When you have that mentality of how can I learn from this stranger, you first treat them with respect, and you try to find something in common with them,” she said.
Clay-Flores encouraged participation and asked attendees to stand if they held something in common with one another. Topics ranged from a favorite color, to experiences of domestic abuse.
“Everyone deserves respect because they are worth just as much as you’re worth,” Clay-Flores said.
The commissioner reflected on overcoming her own struggles with childhood poverty and advised attendees to maintain hope through trying times.
“As long as there’s a little hope left, there’s a little fight, and if there’s a little fight, there’s a possibility of winning,” Clay-Flores said.