Is This the New America?

It's been difficult to follow the news during the past several months. Each night, Americans are painted a picture of a country plagued by xenophobic anxieties and narrow-minded potential leaders.

What we have seen is an America much different from the one I migrated to years ago, one less welcoming and more intolerant. The America I remember is one full of opportunity, where any and all dreams had the potential to come true. A country where I felt protected and safe.

I refuse to believe that the America we are living in today is one filled with bigotry and hate. It's true that we're bombarded everyday by words meant to divide our country. These incendiary words, used by even those running for the highest office in America, ignite hatred and suspicion and they've even led some of us to question our very own neighbors.

But hate has never led to progress. As a nation, I know we are far better than this.

Recent events we've witnessed should serve as a reminder that words have consequences. We have lost far too many lives because of senseless violence. It is disheartening when we are no longer safe at work in San Bernardino, seeking medical care at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado or practicing our faith in Charleston, S.C.

These incidents serve as a chilling foreshadowing for our country if we sit idly by as dangerous voices try to drag us backwards.

This is why I'm challenging candidates, the media, and all Americans to put a stop to the hateful rhetoric that has recently become part of our country's vernacular. I challenge us all to speak out against hate and words meant to dehumanize any community, regardless of immigration status, religion, or race.

As the GOP's presidential contenders prepare for today's debate, I hope that all candidates standing on that stage remember that there is no room in this great nation for hateful rhetoric, and young American Latinos will be listening closely.

Voto Latino will join local and national leaders on the ground in Las Vegas to unite against hate and register voters online, reminding them of the importance of our American ideals. We must elect leaders that advance policies that unite our country rather than divide it. We must elect leaders to Congress and a future president who promote inclusivity. This is what our country needs.

We are a country built on hope and opportunity. Hurtful and hateful words do not deserve our vote. I believe in the country that gave me and my family the opportunity to pursue the American dream. And I still believe in that vision of America.

Join me, fellow Americans, to come out and stand against hate. It's up to each of us to move our country forward and keep it safe.