Rosario Dawson tells EW about her efforts to get out the Latino vote

By Nisha Gopalan
Updated November 07, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
Rosario Dawson: Armando Gallo / Retna Ltd.

Before today’s midterm elections, EW’s Nisha Gopalan caught up with outspoken actress Rosario Dawson to pick the Sin City star’s brain about something very dear to her: — Voto Latino, the organization she co-founded in 2004 urging Latino voters to use technology (like texting and e-mail) to register and vote.

Why do you think so many Latinos are being quiet about the immigration issues right now?
There’s still a temperature of fear to some extent. And sometimes it’s appropriate: People don’t feel like they should be talking about politics…. That’s why we need artists [like Bono, and those affiliated with Voto Latino, like Jennifer Lopez and Dawson herself] to speak up. Because we need to change the politics. Not in the sense of people talking about it in a way that they don’t know what they’re talking about, just jumping on a bandwagon. But actually getting educated and talking to kids and being the right role models.

So is it safe to say on the immigration topic you…
I want rights for people. We can’t shut our doors. If we shut our doors, we’re not America. That’s how we were created. I think there has to be a lot of mutual respect. But I also understand the fear that people have, the issue. And that needs to be addressed as well. There needs to be a forum for discussion and not just people making decisions for each other. That’s why my whole point is getting people to vote [with Voto Latino]. People died for that right.

Do you ever worry that talking about this will impact your ability to get roles?
I haven’t had any issues. I think it’s really about your approach. I’m not going and being disrespectful of anyone. I think it’s important to respect people’s viewpoints, but I also understand a lot of people’s viewpoints also come from ignorance. If you educate people, you can change certain people’s minds and create conversation and communication.

It’s interesting how Bono is friendly with both Presidents Clinton and Bush.
That’s power right there. Because you cannot cut off people. You can’t just pick and choose who your allies are going to be based on your comfort zone.