This will be my first chance to vote in a Presidential election, and I feel as if my whole world is at stake. With health care, immigration reform, cost of higher education, and our job market, I believe my future and that of my entire generation lies in the balance. The path to becoming an adult is daunting enough, and now I worry that this college degree I am struggling to get will be useless in this economy. I also worry about what the outcome of this election will mean for my Eastern Coachella Valley community. You can barely locate it on the map, but it is full of people striving to protect their health and dignity.


A predominantly Latino community, the Eastern Coachella Valley knows the price of hope. Our families have labored and toiled to provide opportunities. We have a huge immigrant population, some of whom are young undocumented students who have grown up as “American,” but who have been in danger of being deported to home country they do not know. Our community is made up of people with limited access to health care and farm workers with limited access to healthy food.

I don’t want a government that will leave my community behind in the dust, or advocate policies to push my neighbors to self-deport. That is not the United States that I know.

Speakers at both the Democratic and Republican conventions spoke about the American Dream, but it’s hard to talk about dreams when we are tripping over the realties.

The issues at the DNC weren’t just personal for the First Lady and me. It got personal for Jacqueline Lopez, a delegate from the Eastern Coachella Valley, when she heard San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s speech. She was reminded of her own mother, her children, her own family’s experiences. I am sure she was not alone. Millions of people across the country saw themselves, their struggles, their dreams, on that stage in Charlotte.

This election when I go to the ballot box to cast my vote for president, it will not be a question of party politics or affiliation but rather my attempt to answer this question: What kind of country will I be able to build a life in?

Aurora Saldivar is a student at College of the Desert in Thermal and a reporter with Coachella Unincorporated, where you can read her full report on the DNC convention, which she attended as a guest of New America Media funder The California Endowment.