Latino candidates for Boston City Council are joining together to encourage Latino voters to go to the polls ahead of the preliminary election next month.

At a party in Hyde Park on Sunday, several of the candidates for City Council led by current at-large Councilor Julia Mejia gathered with Latino residents to garner support for Latinos running for office.

For Mejia, the only Latina who is running citywide this election, it was a moment that just a few years ago was unimaginable.

“Well, you know, I was the first Latina to ever get elected to the Council. And I was the first non-Arroyo to get on to the council, right? And I’m the first immigrant woman of Latin descent to be on the council. And I didn’t want to be the last,” Mejia said.

“This really isn’t about me. It’s really about helping Latinos understand the potential that we have to build our political power.”

Mejia said this is a moment for Latinos, pointing to those who are running for the council and other offices across the state.

It’s a moment that may be made even more important by the growing number of Latinos in the state and country.

Census data shows that the percentage of the population of Massachusetts who identify as Latino or Hispanic grew from 9.6% to 12.6% over the last decade. Across the country, the number of Hispanic-Latinos increased by 23% from 2010 to 2020 compared to 7.4% population growth overall.

Angie Camacho, who’s running for the City Council’s District 7 seat, said building a coalition among Latinos is the lifeblood of their political success.

“The fact of the matter is that other communities of color are trying to have discussion among themselves and they’re trying to identify, who is the convenor of voices to represent them?” she said. “And what’s happening today is exactly that. That convening of those who represent our different cultures across the Latinx diaspora to come forward, be ready and be supported so that we can build that pipeline of power. So that representation is not just the first, but a continuum of representation.”

Jacob Ureña, who is running in District 4, said the actions of Mejia and District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo to push for other Latino candidates is the authentic model to increase voting in the community.

“Our communities don’t know what voting power is, especially the Latino community who feel that they, a lot of times, don’t have a right to be here,” he said. “And so it’s time to really equip them and let them understand that the decisions the politicians make are decisions that affect my family, that affects their family and they should have a say in it as well.”

As the preliminary nears in a historic election year for Boston, it’s an opportunity for Latinos in the city to see themselves represented in ways they never have been on the City Council. But for Mejia, it’s also a chance to let Latinos voices be heard by whoever becomes the next mayor of Boston.

“We’re gonna send a strong message to whoever sits in that corner office in that fifth floor that Latinos are here to stay, that we’re going to fight for the things we have been denied of and our political flex in this election is going to demonstrate that you can’t continue to ignore us,” she said. “And that is our hope. Our hope is to bring people together so that they can understand their power and then go demonstrate that power on election day.”