The Norman Transcript

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June 16, 2013

Hollywood helps spark awareness of political power in Latino community

Immigration reform at forefront

NORMAN — Rosario Dawson couldn’t have been more excited Jan. 20, the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The New York City-born actress and activist was decked out in a sequined party dress and surrounded by fans at one of the many galas hosted over the weekend. It would have been easy for her to just enjoy the atmosphere that comes along with a Hollywood lifestyle.

However, Dawson (“Men in Black II,” “25th Hour,” “Sin City,” “Clerks II”) was still focused on what the re-election of President Obama meant and the tidal wave of change she saw on the horizon.

“It means the culmination of a lot of work, a lot of incredible people,” Dawson said. “I think it means more work to come. These four years went by very quickly. We have another four years to get a lot of stuff done. People voted across the board for a lot of issues. I think the great thing about this administration, as we have seen, is they can multi-task.”

On that night, Dawson was one of several celebrities who were already talking about passing an immigration bill during Obama’s second term. It seemed like the only way it would get done was if Hollywood made a movie about it.

But now, five months later, the prospect of passing an immigration bill has become a definite reality.

It’s something Wilmer Valderrama of “That ’70s Show” saw coming as a record number of Latinos (71 percent) turned out to vote for Obama.

“I think it’s exciting to celebrate the turnout of the Latino community,” Valderrama said. “I think that, for us, we mobilized a lot of Latinos this election. The fact that we showed up in record numbers is a big tribute, not just the agenda, but it’s time for everyone to get involved. It’s a tribute to a community really wanting him to finish his agenda.”

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