Yanet Limon-Amado: Uplifting Voters Of Color

Story by Belen Dumont

Latino News Network produces and amplifies stories focused on the responses to the social determinants of health and democracy with the lens of solutions-based journalism. Solutions Journalism analyzes community efforts to address public issues and how effective strategies in some communities can be replicated in others. 

Care In Action Virginia Director Yanet Limon-Amado moved from Mexico at a young age with her mother, who quickly found employment as a housekeeper. Limon-Amado recalls cleaning houses with her mother, witnessing the demands—and risks—within domestic care work.

“One of the things that has motivated me the most is my mother…I see her body deteriorating every single day—her hands, her back—because she’s constantly cleaning houses every day,” Limon-Amado said. “I have witnessed her experience wage theft, I have seen her having bosses that don’t respect the work that she does,” explained Limon-Amado. “I knew that I needed to be a part of a field that can somehow protect my mother, an undocumented immigrant woman.”

As a DACA recipient, Limon-Amado is unable to vote in elections, but she has dedicated her career to uplifting voters of color and increasing women of color representation across the state through Care In Action’s work as a nonpartisan, nonprofit.

“I saw that this was going to be a perfect opportunity to be the only DACA recipient…in the room that understands the lived experience of Latino voters or undocumented immigrants,” she said.

The national nonprofit works alongside like-minded advocacy groups to diversify political representation across the country and push for equitable policy work that addresses the needs of historically underrepresented communities. Care In Action is particularly involved in domestic worker rights—a workforce that is predominantly made of immigrant women and women of color, which continues to be largely unprotected by the law.

“Knowing that there are so little resources for Latino voters in Virginia has also made me motivated to push the program of Spanish voters in Care In Action and push me to be in this position as a young Latina DACA recipient,” Limon-Amado said. “In 2025, a lot of young Latino voters will become first-time voters and they will vote how they see their families and how they will need to have policies that protect women of color and undocumented immigrants.”

Care In Action has strategically located itself within swing states—Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—and focuses its outreach efforts within underrepresented communities, Limon-Amado explained. 

“All of us have the same mission of identifying women of color, getting them out to go, usually first-time voters or voters that only vote in the presidential elections…” she said.

As the Virginia State Director of Care In Action, Limon-Amado works alongside a completely bilingual team to civically inform and motivate Latinos across the state as well as endorse women of color candidates in state and local elections.

In 2019, Care In Action endorsed 19 women of color—all but one of these candidates won their elections that year. In 2023, the nonprofit endorsed about 25 women of color with only two of those individuals having lost their primary elections.

“So, it’s pretty big because Black and Brown voters are the ones that have been pushing to have [more] inclusive policies…when you center marginalized communities like Latino voters, everybody is uplifted, everybody benefits from the policies…” Limon-Amado said.

Care In Action has endorsed nearly 30 Virginian candidates this year, including Jennifer McClellan for U.S. Congress, 19 candidates for the State of Representatives races, along with nine candidates for the Senate. Virginia has the highest number of women of color candidates running for office this year in the state’s entire history, according to Limon-Amado.

“We had an event with Delegate Michelle Maldonado, who is running for reelection in Prince William, where we have our bilingual team knocking on doors,” Limon-Amado said. “Seeing domestic workers come down, knock on doors, and talk to the candidate was very powerful.  Because the candidate gets to hear the direct stories of our workers and they get to hear their struggles. I think that, for us, is the most powerful thing because when we endorse a candidate we’re not just endorsing them to give a logo. We’re endorsing them because we’re looking for candidates that represent our mission and that will also become our champions.”

Limon-Amado emphasized the importance of having bilingual canvassers and informational materials, along with giving residents direct access to running candidates. She explained that these efforts have shown to make domestic workers and voters of color feel included and empowered within democratic processes.

“We are one of two organizations in Virginia that are uplifting Latino voters, especially first-time Latino voters. We have—for approximately two years—been building out a system or an identification of Latino voters,” Limon-Amado said. “Last year, Care In Action actually ran the largest primary election program in the organization’s history.”

The organization continues to grow its database of Virginian Latino voters as these individuals have been overlooked and resultantly excluded in past elections due to a lack of accessible and culturally relevant resources, Limon-Amado explained.

“Care in Action has come in and was like ‘we will build this out, we will give them resources, we will give them access to the candidates and make sure that they feel that they’re included,” Limon-Amado told MA Latino News.  

Starting each January, Care In Action runs an annual door-to-door canvassing program with the assistance of dedicated volunteers. Through these efforts, the organization is able to identify potential Latino voters across the state and collect data on these communities—such as what issues are most important to them, which has been housing and the economy, according to Limon-Amado.

“We have deployed domestic workers to come and knock on doors in the neighborhoods that we are trying to motivate to vote. So, we have been deploying approximately 10 to 20 domestic workers each election cycle and they actually help us have better contact rates with these voters because one, they look like them, they speak the same language, and they can resonate on the same issues,” Limon-Amado said. “That is something that is very powerful that we have seen over the years and our contact rate has doubled every time domestic workers come onto the ground and make those get-out-the-vote efforts…we train the domestic workers, we empower the domestic workers, [and] we make sure that they are leading these efforts. 

Limon-Amado explained that the organization intentionally targets its civic engagement efforts to towns and cities with extensive communities of color to mobilize these underrepresented populations. 

“There’s different barriers,” Limon-Amado said. “The Democratic party doesn’t even translate materials so we are the supplement to making sure that these folks have access to those materials and are able to vote not just in the presidential elections, but in every election cycle that we have in Virginia.” 

Care In Action has seen increases in Latino voter turnout in these communities—such as in Petersburg where the turnout rate for early voting has doubled this year compared to participation numbers from the entire general election in 2021. Latino voter turnout has also increased in Manassas where Latino residents made up about 0.34 percent of the 2021 general election vote while their participation is currently at 0.63 of the early vote this year, according to Limon-Amado. 

“Virginia is always one of the states that defines how 2025 or every presidential election will look like so it’s just something really powerful that Care In Action has been building out in Virginia.”

The nonprofit has worked alongside community partners to pass a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in 2021, make 2.49 million voter contact attempts in 2020, and help flip the state legislature in 2019. Learn more about Care In Action’s work within Virginia at: https://careinaction.us/state-and-national-campaigns/virginia/