politics

Ivanka Trump’s Dominican Republic Weekend Getaway Cost U.S. Taxpayers $58,000

With round-the-year sunshine and breathtaking beaches, it’s no wonder why any family, including the Trumps, would want to enjoy a weekend getaway in the Dominican Republic. But when first daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump took her family to the Caribbean paradise in August, it was partially on the taxpayers’ dime. The cost: more than $58,000, according to Quartz.

During a mid-August weekend vacation, the Trump-Kushner family stayed at the northern five-star luxury Amanera Resort, where a room for two adults cost upwards of $1,600 per night. While the first daughter and her husband paid for their personal expenses during their travel, the government funded the cost of Secret Service security detail, which can include hotel reservations, car rentals and various other expenses for a protection team.

According to Quartz, the State Department approved more than $32,000 for a “VIP visit” to Amanera a week before the Kushners’ vacation as well as $26,280 for a “hotel reservation” that was connected to the trip.

“The Kushners were on a personal trip and followed all ethics guidelines and rules for White House officials,” a White House official said in a statement. “The only expenses incurred by the government were due to USSS protection, which they are required to have. They personally covered all other expenses incurred as related to the trip.”

This is true. The Secret Service, which keeps the first family out of harm’s way, often joins them on vacations. They have under the Trump administration and those, including the Obamas, that preceded it. The difference: the price tag. In Obama’s eight years in office, for instance, his administration spent $97 million on vacation travel, which President Trump criticized as a waste of taxpayer money. But in Trump’s just first 80 days in office, his administration had already spent $20 million on personal trips, including frequent visits to the president’s resorts in Florida and New Jersey.

Also, in September 2017, just eight months into Trump’s term, the Secret Service requested an additional $60 million in its budget for 2018, citing that they were running low on funds used to protect the first family.

Read: An Undocumented Housekeeper At Trump’s New Jersey Golf Club Is Speaking Out Against Mistreatment

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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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The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education Fired An Educator For Speaking Positively About Black Hair

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The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education Fired An Educator For Speaking Positively About Black Hair

On Tuesday, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education released a campaign video directed at youth that shattered harmful attitudes surrounding “pelo bueno, pelo malo” — the idea that thin, straight hair is beautiful and afro-textured coils aren’t.

“In the Ministry of Education, no little girl, little boy or grown adult should be discriminated because of their physical appearance. We are committed to guaranteeing the equality in identity,” Marianela Pinales, then director of Gender Equality and Development at the Ministry of Education on the island, said in the video, as young Black and brown boys and girls send similar messages about loving their hair as it is.

The 52-second PSA is long-overdue in the Dominican Republic, one of many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that has held tightly to the white supremacist belief that skin and hair texture that aligns closer to European standards of beauty are both more attractive and deserving of better treatment than those with hues and locks that are darker and thicker.

For that, many on the island and diaspora celebrated the video, including Edith Febles, a respected journalist and natural hair advocate, who aired it on her show, La cosa como es. However, just after the video debut, Febles said Pinales was discharged.

While the Ministry of Education said that Pinales was fired because she missed several recent events — a claim the educator denies — and not because of the video, which some have considered controversial, many find the timing around her termination questionable.

“The timing is very *very* suspicious to say the least,” Amanda Alcántara, the digital media editor at Futuro Media Group, wrote in an article for Latino Rebels.  “Much like the roots of anti-blackness in the country itself, the people in power seem to stop at no cost to maintain white supremacy. This confirms that even as consciousness grows, the problem is systemic.”

On social media, many others have shared similar sentiments.

The campaign, however, is reaching audiences in and outside of the Dominican Republic, where it has the power to challenge beauty ideals and young people’s relationships with their hair.

Read: 6 Afro-Latinas Open Up About What Headwraps Mean To Them

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