Rosario Dawson and Maria Teresa Kumar could be called a dynamic duo for their efforts to get out the Latino vote… And, now they’re being recognized for their creative vision…
Dawson and Kumar, who launched Voto Latino in 2004, have been named to Fast Company’s list of “The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012,” an annual celebration of business innovators who dare to think differently.
Dawson and Kumar, who rank as the top Latino/as on the list at No. 12, were singled out for their mobile tech and grassroots savvy in encouraging voter participation from a growing constituency.
“Whenever we do voter registration, we ask, ‘Why haven’t you voted before?’ The response is often, ‘No one’s asked us,’” the 33-year-old Puerto Rican/Cuban actress and activist tells the magazine. “It’s not about telling people what to do–it’s about sharing what they can do.”
Voto Latino’s civic engagement campaigns have reached an estimated 55 million Latino households nationwide. The non-partisan organization has creatively and effectively used celebrity voices and the latest technology to register more than 120,000 young Latino voters, galvanize Latino youth and their families to be counted in the 2010 Census and mobilize them to speak out and take action on policies impacting their lives.
“By simply sending young Latinos texts on Election Day, participation increased close to 8%,” Kumar told the magazine. “We have to spend a lot of our time getting people to register to vote, which we do with technology, but what should be happening is secretaries of state should allow everyone to register online.”
But Dawson and Kumar weren’t the only Hispanic “creatives” to make the list…
Hollywood-starlet-turned-entrepreneur Jessica Alba, who came in at No. 17, was touted for “wooing the eco-conscious crowd.” The 31-year-old half-Mexican American actress co-founded The Honest Company, an e-commerce site for eco-friendly household products like baby products, cleaning supplies and body care items for a monthly subscription fee.
“I read a book called Healthy Child Healthy World when I was seven-and-a-half months pregnant, and my eyes were opened to all of the toxic chemicals that are in everyday household and baby products,” Alba tells the magazine. “So I went to the author of that book, Christopher Gavigan, and I hounded him for a year. I said, ‘I appreciate you’ve given me a handbook, but you haven’t given me a solution. Let’s make the solution.'”
Here’s a look at other Latinas making this year’s list:
No. 21: Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Manager of Social Innovation, Twitter
No. 48: Lourenço Bustani, Founder, CEO, Mandalah
No. 54: Flavio Pripas & Renato Steinberg, Cofounders, Fashion.me
Click here for Fast Company’s complete list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012.