This election season, there’s a new coalition of activists leaving their mark on politics in Calexico, a border city in California’s Imperial Valley. Helping to fuel the movement are young people, many who left Calexico for jobs or education elsewhere but who have returned home with a desire to make things better in their community.
Gilberto Manzanarez, 29, and Raúl Ureña, 25, are taking center stage in the effort. They came back to Calexico during the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly became involved in a growing grassroots movement of community advocates that included groups such as the Imperial Valley Equity and Justice Coalition and Calexico Needs Change. In 2020, Ureña, with the backing of fellow activists, won a seat on Calexico’s city council at the age of 23.
In this year’s election, seven candidates are competing to fill two seats on Calexico’s city council. Ureña and Manzanarez have largely campaigned as a team. They’ve pitched themselves as newcomers and changemakers, alternatives to other candidates who are older and some who have already served on or run for City Council before.
More information about all of the candidates can be found in this recent Calexico Chronicle article covering a campaign forum.
Photojournalist Zoe Meyers photographed the two candidates over a weekend of campaigning to get an inside look at what’s motivating them to run for office. Read her written story for more information about each candidate and details from the weekend.
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News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
Zoë Meyers is a photo and video journalist at inewsource. Zoë loves working as a visual journalist because it gives her the privilege of witnessing moments in people's personal lives and in our community that can enhance our understanding of important stories. When she's not behind the camera,...
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