"It is my desire that this will be an inspiration for our Latina women in Tennessee, in the whole country and the world. Yes, we count!" ---Vilma Cueva
Photo: Vilma Cueva and Chip Forrester, chairman of Tennessee Democratic Party, after she was chosen to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention beginning Sept. 3 in Charlotte, NC
"Para leer en espanol"
Williamson County is in the spotlight this presidential election year as social justice activist Ashley Judd of Franklin and Hispanic activist Vilma Cueva of Spring Hill have been selected to represent Tennessee at the Democratic National Convention.
While Ashley, more widely known as an actor than activist, will be a delegate for the first time, she has been a long-time worker for human rights. Ashley recently has been speaking out for American women, who are under siege from extremist Republicans who seem to long for the days before women could vote or own property.
Vilma has worked as an activist for Hispanic families. She has registered numerous Latino Americans to vote, and she conducts workshops on citizenship. Vilma is involved in issues that affect women, children's health, poverty and educational opportunities and fair treatment for disabled persons.
The Democratic National Convention begins Sept. 3 in Charlotte, NC.
Vilma's rallying cry to Latinos in Tennessee is this: "If you are a resident, become a citizen. If you are a citizen, register to vote. If you are registered to vote, vote Democratic."
Attorney Gerard Stranch of Franklin and Franklin's Elisa Parker, who is vice chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, are other Williamson Countians who will be convention delegates.
"For me this is historic," said Cueva, the day after she was chosen and after she wrapped up a Sunday afternoon workshop she conducted on citizenship at a local church. "This is huge as a woman and a Hispanic. I am vibrating from the experience. I am doing this for thousands of women in Tennessee.
"Hispanic women need to understand there is a purpose for being in this country besides our regular duties at home," Cueva said. "We need to wake up and be involved and take action.
"We have a great value as mothers. We count," said Cueva. "We are raising the next generation of Americans. In our hands is the future of our children and our world. Hispanic mothers need to be active in their community and vote and participate in politics so people can respect you for who you are and what you do.
"For the entire Hispanic community, this message needs to be heard loud and clear: We need to participate in democracy and vote and get involved. The Democratic Party is willing to embrace us so that we can participate in politics and shape the future of this country."
Cueva, who was born in Peru, has been an American citizen 14 years. She moved in 2003 to Spring Hill, where she lives with her husband Victor and two American-born sons. Cueva is a member of the Thompson Station Baptist Church, and she works as a bilingual specialist for an insurance company.
Right: Ashley Judd with "Irene," whom Ashley met while on a humanitarian mission in Rwanda.