Lin-Manuel Miranda, Frankie Negrón Talk 'Respeta Mi Gente' Latinx Voter Mobilization Campaign

Lin-Manuel Miranda wants to get out the vote for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

The Hamilton mastermind has teamed with salsero Frankie Negrón to support the voter mobilization coalition Respeta Mi Gente (Respect My People), which is focusing on inspiring voters in Puerto Rican communities in Central Florida to get out to the polls in less than two weeks. 

“There was such a massive influx of Puerto Ricans to the mainland after Hurricane Maria,” Miranda said during a media call on Monday (Oct. 22), according to a statement announcing the effort. “One of the most important things they can do is vote for the candidates [who] have been paying attention to what’s been happening on the island.” That's why Miranda and Negrón joined the drive spearheaded by the non-profits Alianza for Progressand Hispanic Federation to get Latinx voters to the polls with a series of TV and radio ads as well as Negrón's song "Respecta Mi Gente." 

The remix take on Hector Lavoe and the Fania All Stars' 1975 hit "Mi Gente" is an attempt to lift spirits after a difficult 12 months. "We’re using Hector Lavoe’s song and voice to address what a difficult year this has been for Puerto Ricans, and for all Latinos in general,” said Negrón in a statement.

Respeta Mi Gente has a few key goals, some of which include helping Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and encouraging Puerto Ricans in Florida to vote in order to give a voice to their family and friends on the island -- who are American citizens, but are not allowed to vote in national elections. The organization has a full calendar of events planned over the next few weeks, from a senior voting drive on Friday (Oct. 26), to a Scary Phone Bank event on Halloween (Oct. 31) and a Boricua Vota auto show on Nov. 3.

An estimated 5.4 million Puerto Ricans live in the United States, including 30,000 who moved to the mainland after being displaced by Maria in 2017. Florida has the highest concentration of Puerto Rican residents in the country, concentrated in Central Florida, one of the key battleground spots in this year's midterms, according to the organization. 

Kara Watkins