Women of color are emerging as the true victors of our country in what might be the most important turning point in checking Trump-style politics of today’s era. One of the best examples of this lies in historic surge of Latina, Black and Indigenous women who have kicked off political campaigns in the 2018 midterm-election seasons. Latinas like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julia Salazar have mobilized voters in and outside of heir community to head to the voting polls and disrupt some of the most certain political seats in their home states.
Catalina Cruz, a Latina aiming to take up another political torch, just made an equally impressive stride for the Latinx community with a major win and a story about life as a DREAMer.
On Thursday, Cruz took home a massive victory when she won the Democratic primary for a New York State Assembly seat in Queens’ District 39.
The Colombian-born lawyer grew up as an undocumented immigrant in Queens, New York and only obtained her legal status nine years ago in 2009 when she married her American-born high school sweetheart. Running on a platform that advocated for tenant, immigrant and workers’ rights, Cruz championed to give immigrants a voice in today’s political climate where the White House has put a literal target on the backs of undocumented Latinos. Throughout her campaign, Cruz underlined her agenda to focus on immigration rights in the Queen’s district where more than half of its residents are immigrants.
Speaking about her desire to represent all immigrants, Cruz told The Nation that “Immigration is huge [in my district] because most of the people live in mixed-status families, where someone might be undocumented, another person might be a citizen… We need to make sure that we have protections for all of them, as well as programs to help them thrive.”
In a caption about her victory posted to her personal Instagram account, Cruz thanked her supporters for heading to the polls to cast their votes writing “This campaign was never about me. It was about our whole community and fighting for the people… Together, we stood up for working families, immigrants, tenants, seniors, and our LGBT neighbors. We said no to corporate funding and we rejected negative campaigning. We embraced a real plan of action with a vision for a better future.”
Cruz’s run for an assembly seat is far from over but if she does win the general election this November, it will make her the first Dreamer to hold office in New York.