politics

Latinas Came Together With Women Across The Country To Protest Trump’s State Of The Union Address — And It Was Great

While President Donald Trump addressed the nation from Capitol Hill for his first State of the Union speech Tuesday night, less than three miles away women from all over the country gathered for the historic State of OUR Union, a counter-event addressing gender inequality in the nation and offering an alternative view for the U.S.

Hosted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Girls for Gender Equity, National Farmworker Women’s Alliance (NFWA), Planned Parenthood, MomsRising and Color of Change, the historic gathering provided a women’s vision for the country, something the organizers believe has never been offered as a woman has yet to become president.

“The State of OUR Union allowed us to name some of the ways in which we have been held back, to state our hopes for the future and to articulate a plan for achieving what is required to move our country forward,” Mónica Ramirez, the co-founder and president of NFWA and one of the night’s hosts, told FIERCE.

The evening included speeches by several women of color who discussed the ways in which their movements, from reproductive justice and trans rights to economic justice and immigrant rights, intersect and become stronger when they are unified.

“I’m an undocumented, unapologetic transgender colombiana working various roles in different, yet interconnected spaces — because we are all one movement,” Catalina Velasquez, a Washington, D.C.-based activist and communications professional who helped kick off the evening, said to the crowd of almost 900 attendees at the National Press Club.

Several Latina activists participated in the nearly three-hour event, covering a range of topics, like labor, equal pay, DACA, sexual violence and modern-day slavery, and each pledging to take a specific action in 2018 to move every woman forward.

Dr. Natalicia Tracy, the Afro-Latina executive director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Boston, pledged to “speak out against systemic exclusions and restore our faith in this country as a place open to everyone who dares to dream.”

For Tracy, the commitment is deeply personal. As a teen, she moved to the U.S. from South America for a better education and future. Instead, the family that offered to house her and provide her with the opportunity enslaved her, forcing her to work 80-to-90 hour weeks for $25 pay and without the ability to communicate with her family or renew her visa. When the family moved away, Tracy decided to stay, teaching herself English, obtaining her GED and zooming through academia with associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.

“I believe in the power of the union. … this country has given me the opportunity to grow and change my immigration status, but we have a long way to go,” Tracy said. “We shouldn’t be denying this opportunity to others. We must fight to keep our ability to dream, to struggle to survive and to succeed.”

Following her speech was Katalina, a 10-year-old Latina from Colorado whose mother, a Dreamer, is at risk of deportation following the Trump administration’s termination of DACA.

“I still remember when I heard that Donald Trump was going to be president. My heart cracked. And last September, when I heard he was planning to get rid of DACA and planning to deport millions of people like my mom, my heart broke,” the child, who in December delivered a letter to Congress asking them to pass the Dream Act before the holidays, said.

“Everywhere I look, I see families like mine, kids with parents that have been taken away just because they don’t have papers. How would you feel if this happened to your family? We have to stop this,” she added, pledging to use her voice to make Trump “open his heart and stop deporting people.”

The State of OUR Union also included speeches from U.S. Congresswomen Pramila Jayapa (D-WA), Judy Chu (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Ilhan Omar, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, #MeToo creator Tarana Burke, National Domestic Workers Alliance executive director Ai-jen Poo, Dreamer and Planned Parenthood organizer Victoria Ruiz, national strategic organizing coordinator at International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Neidi Dominguez and co-founder of NFWA Milly Trevino-Sauceda, among so many other activists and leaders, as well as a performance by the grammy-nominated singer Ledisi.

“Despite the fact that many of our communities have been under attack by Trump and his administration, last night demonstrated that we are strong, united and more committed than ever before to putting in the work that is required to beat his divisive agenda,” Ramirez, who described the energy in the room as one of excitement, hope, determination and mutual respect, told us.

She added: “We intend to flex our muscle by holding political leaders accountable, continuing to mobilize our communities and by defending the rights of all of those whose who are suffering because of Trump’s actions.”

Read: Afro-Latinas Are Kicking Down Doors And Stepping Into Political Office Ready To Fight For Us

Watch a streaming of the event, sign the State of OUR Union pledge and/or let us know your thoughts on it all in the comments below.

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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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