Only 1 percent of elected representatives are Latino, even though Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population. The representation gap is particularly stark in Pasco, Washington. Despite making up 60 percent of the city and 70 percent of the county population, Latinos have no representation except a long city council member—there’s not even a Latino member of the school board, despite the school district being overwhelmingly Latino.
For the most part, Pasco’s Latino residents didn’t try to change the status quo. But things changed after videos of local police shooting and killing an undocumented, mentally ill farm worker named Antonio Zambrano Montes started circulating online. Many Latinos in town felt frustrated with how local officials were handling the investigation, and several decided to run for city council. One of them was Bertha Alicia Coria, a 19-year-old college student and substitute teacher who suddenly found herself thrust into the world of politics. Latino USA producer Marlon Bishop followed her one-woman campaign.
Photo of Bertha Alicia Corea (Marlon Bishop/Latino USA)