politics

10 Latinas On How They Plan To Continue Amplifying The Latinx Voice Post-Midterms

On November 6th, states across the U.S. made history in electing historical number of firsts for governors, representatives a, d senators that included representation from the LGBTQ community, those of Native American ancestry, the Muslim faith, and women of color. With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming the youngest woman elected to Congress and more than a hundred other women also have won their congressional races, among them Latinas, we are in a place never before seen in the sphere of American politics.

We’ve voted and supported women who look like us, sound like us, live like us, and understand our concerns regardless of what our paths towards citizenship, education, careers, and past political involvement have been. Leading up to the midterms, together we’ve made our voices heard regarding healthcare needs, women’s rights, immigration reform, education, and other issues affecting our communities across the country.  

After canvassing, protesting, donating time and in some cases money we’ve come to a point where Latinas in politics are on the uptick. Many of us hope those numbers will be strongly represented come 2020 for the presidential election, and the legislative years to follow. We asked Latinas who recently voted in the midterm elections what their plans are to keep up the momentum, energy, representation and amplification of Latinx voices following the results of the midterms, and leading into the 2020 elections.

Angelica Cruz, 23, Piscataway NJ

Angelica Cruz, photo courtesy of Angelica Cruz       

“I think watching the lead up to midterm elections has been so intense that I realized I didn’t have someone in my family to help me understand politics until recently. After midterm elections, I want to talk to the younger generation of girls in my family about how important it is to show up and show out for our community.”

Destiny Lopez, 24, Waterbury CT

Destiny Lopez in Waterbury, Connecticut, courtesy of Destiny Lopez

“My main goal beyond this election is to educate my family on the importance of their voice. More often than not, my relatives avoid political and social issues because they’ve never been properly educated when it comes to politics and their own roles in the community. I’m still learning a lot myself but, for now, I think I know enough to at least get more of my family on board so we can actively fight for change, rather than simply hope things work out for the best.”

Fabiana Melendez, 23, Austin TX

Fabiana Melendez, photo courtesy of Brandon Hill

I think one of the most important things to do is to acknowledge, support and accept a wide breadth of voices. Latinxs have a tendency to support celebrities or Latinxs who look like us, but as we consider the future of our nation we need to lift up voices that are otherwise ignored in our activism. We need to address our colorism and include afro-latinxs and indigenous persons as well as sex workers and part of the LGBT community (especially trans and non-binary folx). Their voices are just as important and they are parts of the community that are regularly ignored in political activism. If we want the Latinx community to succeed and truly gain momentum, we must also spend resources and energy including them in rallies, op-eds and more.”

Kathleen Encarnación, 24, Ridgewood NJ

Kathleen Encarnación, courtesy of Kathleen Encarnación

“As a Latina, it is imperative to use my voice to continue making change for my generation. I, myself, am fortunate to be able to grow up in a wonderful community, which lead me to attend University and graduate. However, there are many people that do not have a safe place to call home and attend school. I am a voice for immigrants, that want to start a new life. I will be a voice for those people that have to walk thousands of miles in search for better life. It is important to use this chance that we have to help others, rise above the injustice and move forward for our generation. It’s our well-being that we should have the last word of.”

Michelle Pantoja, 27, Chicago IL

Michelle Pantoja, photo courtesy of Michelle Pantoja

“I plan on keeping the momentum going by supporting, educating, and encouraging fellow Latinas and Latinx in the community. La lucha sigue. This is only the beginning for young Latinx. My fellow Latinas and I are so excited for the women and Latinx empowerment. It’s our time alongside Black women. Latinas and Black women are going to lead our government, corporations, and organizations. Latinas and Black women don’t get the same support as white women and men do. My goal is to provide resources, support, and encourage fellow Latinas and Black women to get it done!”

Nicole Ariza, 24, Queens NY

Nicole Ariza, courtesy of Nicole Ariza

“I plan to focus on education. Educating myself, my peers and my colleagues. Education and communication are powerful tools that are all too frequently overlooked. Positive conversations can bridge gaps and encourage even more dialogues about the issues that matter. Advocating for the Latino community, especially as it relates to my field of work is of utmost importance to me as a Latina in the U.S.As a Speech Language Pathologist I am constantly advocating for the cultural considerations needed when working with Spanish speakers. No family should ever feel they need to give up their language. Language is both identity and cultural, and being bilingual and culturally diverse is something that should always be celebrated!”

Rebecca E. Carvalho, 26, Haledon NJ

Rebecca E. Carvalho, courtesy of Rebecca E. Carvalho.

“I plan on keeping this momentum going by not shutting up. This is a pivotal moment for POC and QPOC, and I won’t let that momentum slow down. I’m having the important conversations with my family, even the more conservative members on why voting and exercising that right matters. I recently found out I have friends who aren’t registered to vote, and my patience has run really thin. How have you not been moved to do what you can in this climate? Personally, representation in my own passions is where I know I can talk about it best. There’s plenty of Latinx poets who don’t get a platform or recognition. Plenty of artists who don’t. I’m happy that some of my favorite mediums–tv and film–are doing more than they have before, but it’s not enough. To get people to change, you have to do it across the board. I want more directors, producers, and writers that are Latinx and POC and QPOC.”

Reza Moreno, 22, Brooklyn NY

Reza Moreno, courtesy of Reza Moreno

“The fight doesn’t just stop here with voting, for all of us Latinx/WOC this is a greater time for us to join our together and help us raise our voices together. And I will do this by using my voice with the collective I am a part of called the Mujeristas.”

Sandra Pons, 26, Washington Heights NY

Sandra Pons, courtesy of Sandra Pons

“I’m not exactly a fan of capitalism, but as long as we’re bound to that structure, I think it makes sense to give money to support Latinx candidates, and there’s power in that. I didn’t think I’d be giving toward political campaigns anytime soon, but it has become a new area of my philanthropic giving that I want to explore. I do also plan to give my time to help campaign, and to do the personal work with friends and family to make sure they vote and have their voices heard. Giving money to political campaigns is a new area for me, though, and I don’t have a lot of it to give, but I want to build it into my overall philanthropic strategy.”

Tommie Brown, 25, Menifee CA

Tommie Brown, courtesy of Tommie Brown

“Yesterday we got to vote for a number count. But we get to vote every single day we wake up because it’s all the same – voting lets our government know where we stand as a people. I think the most important thing after voting is realizing your vote does not mean that you voted for a person to handle it all, but rather you voted for a person who can be the loudest voice for the things you’re fighting for. Voting doesn’t mean you just did your part and that’s where it ends. Our representatives are not gods. They are just reflections of their voters. But as we have seen greatly in the Trump regime, that mirroring doesn’t end at the polls. When a representative gets voted into office they are full awareness, whether they like it or not, that the people who voted them in are now watching and holding them accountable to stick to whatever agenda they pushed. And if the voters stop caring, so will our reps. Voting isn’t a quick fix. It’s just the greatest first step. And coming from Mexico, my heritage doesn’t take any day lightly that we get to use our freedoms to show our country where we stand. So we keep practicing kindness, mindfulness, equality. We keep being examples of what greatness can come from migrants. We educate ourselves constantly. Voting is just one part of it all. It’s the center stage moment. But far more important than center stage is the rehearsals. And so I believe that’s why my family and I are trying to implement.”


Read: A Little Over 27 Million Latinxs Are Eligible To Vote This Year, These Latinas Are Doing Their Best To Make Sure They Do Despite Poor Track Records

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

A 9-year-old U.S. citizen was separated from her mother for 36 hours after agents at the border accused her of lying about her citizenship.

Like thousands of students in our country, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina’s daily commute requires her to cross the U.S. border.

The fourth-grade student attends Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, California and was in a carpool to school from her home in Tijuana when she ran into traffic. Medina, was commuting to school in a car driven by her mother’s friend Michelle Cardena, Cardena’s two children and her own older 14-year-old brother, Oscar. When the long line to get into the U.S. seemed to be jampacked upon their 4 a.m arrival, Cardenas instructed the kids in her car to walk to the border. She assured them that when they reached it, she would call them an Uber to get them the rest of the way to their school.

But Medina and her never made it across the border or to school that day.

According to the New York Times who talked to a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, two Amparo and her brother arrived at one of the San Ysidro port of entry facilities for pedestrians at 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

Upon their arrival, Amparo and her brother presented their U.S. passports to a CBP officer who soon accused her of being someone else. Note: Amparo’s passport image which was taken years before so she did not look exactly like herself. They also accused her brother of smuggling.

A CBP spokesperson has said that Amparo “provided inconsistent information during her inspection, and CBP officers took the 9-year-old into custody to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

After CBP officers the confirmed that her brother was a U.S. citizen, he was permitted to enter the U.S while his sister stayed behind. It wasn’t until 6:30 pm on Tuesday, that Amparo was confirmed to be a U.S. citizen as well and was released and admitted to the U.S. to her mother.

Speaking to NBC7, Amparo said she was “scared” of her detention and that she was “sad because I didn’t have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself.”

According to Amparo’s mother Thelma Galaxia, her daughter claims that she was told by an officer that she and her brother would be released if she admitted to being her cousin. Galaxia claims that officers also convinced her son Oscar to sign a document that Amparo was his cousin and not his sister.

When Galaxia was alerted that her children had been detained she contacted the Mexican consulate.

After being notified by the consulate that her daughter would be released at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. While the family felt relieved to be grateful to be reunited with their daughter, Galaxia says the separation should never have happened.

Over the weekend, Twitter was swift to express their outrage over the incident.

Some even expressed their dismay of having a similar situation happen to them.

Many are using the incident as an example of the racial issues plaguing so many U.S. citizens like Amparo.

So many of the comments included outside opinions from those who have yet to experience the direct targetting of ICE.

Over all, nearly everyone was quick to point out the saddest aspect of Amparo’s experience.

Read: Preschool Students Are Doing Active Shooter Drills And I Guess This Is The New Normal Now

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