When someone asks me about my vote decision

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By Caonabo Mercado

When someone asks me who I am going to vote for in this election, my answer is quick and precise: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

It has been 17 years since a humanitarian visa brought me to the United States from the Dominican Republic. Although my arrival was not pleasant, nor happy; I soon understood that life had given me the opportunity to start over in this great nation.

At that moment I did not imagine the turns my life would take, nor the events that would change everyone’s lives. Although I knew about Donald Trump from his television show, I never contemplated that he could be president, nor did I consider the possibility of a global pandemic. However, I always understood the importance of organizing, of participating in the electoral process and of exhorting my Latino and Latin American countrymen to get involved.

I have been one of the lucky few who has not gotten sick and has been able to keep his job. As a cleaning supervision assistant in the night shift, I have had to see about 40 employees, now we only have 14. As a leader in my union, SEIU 32BJ, I have received calls from my colleagues who dejectedly hope that the cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey to be rehired. But there are no guarantees.

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Trump and his henchmen have been unable to deal with this pandemic in a responsible and effective manner. We are already going for 214,000 dead. All this while the president boasts of having defeated the virus without any kind of regard or empathy for those who have lost a loved one. In our union, we lost 138 brothers and sisters. Would it be possible for us citizens to have access to the same treatment as the president?

And finally, the hate speech and division of the White House is full of racism, xenophobia, intolerance and violence. Our communities are at risk. Whether we have benefited from TPS, or DACA, this can all end with Trump at the helm. And that hatred also spills over into injustices of a racial and gender level for both women and the LGBTQ + community. We must end this situation.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris propose that we work together to move forward with viable alternatives that not only contemplate our basic rights as human beings and American citizens, but also provide us with the possibility of health care at affordable prices for all. By controlling the pandemic, the resurgence of the economy would follow. All within an environment of fairness and respect for the other.

If you can vote, do it! We must be part of the process. We cannot allow the indolence of the current administration to continue to affect our lives to the point of plunging us into poverty and hopelessness.

Mail in your ballot, take it to collection centers, or vote in person on November 3. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the only option.

Caonabo Mercado is a resident of Bayonne, New Jersey. Member of the Executive Board at SEIU 32BJ