Guest column:

To uphold dignity and respect, Nevadans must caucus

If voters don’t get involved in the electoral process, changes won’t happen. That’s why I will take part in the upcoming Nevada caucuses, which begin Saturday through Tuesday with early voting and end Feb. 22 with in-person participation.

For residents of our state, this is the opportunity to let our voices shape the presidential race. Nevada is the first Western state to participate and will be the most diverse state to vote thus far.

Turnout has been disappointing in previous caucuses here, but I’m confident this year will be different. Many immigrant rights groups like Make the Road Nevada, which I am part of, have been informing our community on the importance of caucusing, and the responses have been great.

An advantage we have this year is the opportunity to caucus early. I urge the Latino community to vote, not just for themselves but also to represent their family members who can’t vote.

We simply can’t let this election year be riddled with apathy.

From the campaign trail, we’ve heard numerous plans for immigration reform from each of the candidates, some progressive, some safe and mindful of preserving the status quo from before the current administration.

We must make our voices heard on this and other issues.

Immigration isn’t just a political issue to me. These are our families being separated — our moms, our dads and our siblings. By caucusing, this is my opportunity to vote for a candidate who will champion the issues that matter to me and my community.

It is important for me to vote because everyone else in my family can’t vote. I am a first-generation American whose parents are immigrants, and if I don’t vote for my community, they will continue to be forgotten.

I know many who have been living in the United States for decades, paid taxes and worked tirelessly in this country and are still denied the opportunity to adjust their immigration status. If not me, the child of an undocumented immigrant, then who will vote for their dignity and respect, for a candidate with a compassionate immigration plan, one that also looks into supporting issues like affordable housing, health care and climate change, among others?

Nevada’s diversity makes our caucus especially important, because the first states to participate will have a huge impact on the votes that follow. Nevada is the first opportunity to show the country how Latinos will vote and what our community needs. Through the caucus, we ensure that we lay the foundation for a successful general election in which our community will be heard.

Ulises Romero lives in Las Vegas.