Culture

Some Texas Teens Are About To Get Very Political At Their Quinces and Here’s Why

There is nothing more quintessential and omnipresent in Latino culture quite like quinceañeras. These traditional celebrations are typically marked by a mass followed by food and drink, music, and choreographed dances – and soon, in Texas, voter registration.

No matter where you live, what your family is like, or who your friends are, quinceañeras are opportunities for everyone to come to together and celebrate. So, one organization is using the celebration as a way to get Latinos registered to vote.

Texas non-profit Jolt Initiative is looking to take advantage of quinces to increase civic participation of Latinos across Texas.

They’ve made it their mission to reach as many Latinos as possible and get them registered to vote. Obviously, this means that would take a look at quinceañeras because of how important they are to the community.

Jolt estimates that nearly 50,000 quinceañeras take place across Texas each year.

We all know how many people show up to quinceañeras, so this campaign has the potential to reach tens of thousands of Latinos. In addition to getting Latinos registered to vote, Jolt will also inform them about potential candidates and policies that are affecting the community.

“For us, this is about community, not just politics,” Cristina Tzintzún Ramírez , founder and executive director of Jolt, told NBC News. “We want to defend and honor the community and what better way than to lift up the power of our vote in the community, particularly with half of all those turning 18 in our state (being) Latino?”

People are all about this new initiative to register voters.

Credit: @VillescazAngela / Twitter

The campaign by Jolt is called Poder Quince and they’re looking to partner with hundreds of young Latina women so that their quinceañeras can be fun and impactful.

Historically, the Latino community has been underrepresented and even victim of voter suppression campaigns. We witnessed this last year in Kansas when officials moved the only polling station outside of the city of Dodge. The move made it almost impossible for the largely-Latino city to cast their votes.

However, since the quince is supposed to be all about the birthday girl, what does a civic-minded quinceañera look like exactly?

“Poder Quince participants will receive a free photo booth at their event, free Snapchat filters geotagged to their venue and – for one lucky winner – a celebrity guest appearance,” and of course, voter registration cards, reads a statement about the initiative.

The group is fighting for the dignity and respect the Latino community deserves.

In a press release, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, Jolt’s founder and executive director, said: “When we use the power of Latino culture, we can shape the narrative, reach millions of Latinos and build long-term voting power to win our community the dignity and respect we deserve.”

The Jolt Initiative goes on to say, “In Texas, where Latinos make up 40% of the state’s population and by 2030 will be the majority, quinceañeras are not an underground cultural tradition, they are part of the mainstream that touches the lives of millions of Texans.”

The slogan for the initiative: Brown, beautiful, and unstoppable.

Jolt Initiative has ambitious goals to register 5,000 new voters. The group is betting that it will have better luck by linking voting to the quinceañera tradition, one part cultural institution, one part rite of passage, and one big fiesta.

It’s one place where those trying to enlist new voters can find all the generations, from children to grandparents. The parties are a particularly good spot to find young voters, who have traditionally lagged their elders in terms of turnout.

According to the group, they plan to attend 15 quinceañeras per week across Texas (including the cities of Austin, Dallas, and Houston) and have set a target to register 5,000 new voters in the first eight months of their campaign.

All of this has people wondering when the group will come to their state.

Credit: @Carmen50 / Twitter

Quinceañeras are a beautiful tradition and it’s so exciting for them to be used as a platform to help the community. Most young Latinas have a quince party and even more Latinos have attended a friend’s quinces. Seems like a good place to start registering young Latino voters.

READ: 20 Quinceañera Themes To Copy And Paste

St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

Things That Matter

St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

Michael B. Thomas / Getty

In another display of a peaceful protests, activists returned the site of a St. Louis mansion owned by the white couple who drew out their guns during a calm demonstration last month. On Friday, chanting protesters returned to the home of Patricia and Mark McClosky, stopping just outside of their gate to protest for nearly 15 minutes.

During the peaceful protest over a dozen men in plain clothes walked the area inside of the gate.

According to Time Magazine, “One protester briefly straddled an iron gate as if he was going to jump over, but did not. No one threw anything and no one behind the gates showed aggression. One man on the McCloskeys’ balcony clapped along with the chanting protesters.” The crowd of protesters included a racially diverse crowd carrying signs calling to “Defund the Police” and underlining that “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Chants included calls like “when Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

According to reports, it is unknown if the McCloskeys were home. Soon after, the protestors left and marched to Interstate 64. Police had closed off the roads to traffic in both directions to allow protestors to march onto the highway. There the protestors sat on the highway for several minutes to honor the life of George Floyd who died on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for over eight minutes.

The recent rally was organized by the group Expect Us and is among various demonstrations in St. Louis that have taken place in the weeks since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

The McCloskeys first came to national attention in mid-June after they had been spotted aiming guns at protesters outside their home in St. Louis. Soon after the images of them began circulating Twitter dubbed them “Ken and Karen” and the stars of the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” remake no one asked for. The incident occurred as protesters marched their way towards the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson who declared in a Facebook post that she would not support rising calls to defund the police. She also reportedly shared activists’ full names and addresses while reading off suggestions on how to better spend the city’s funds. After users ridiculed her online, Krewson apologized for her actions saying “Never did I intend to harm anyone or cause distress,” Krewson tweeted. “The update is removed and again, I apologize.”

The Supreme Court Just Decided To Allow Religious Employers To Deny Workers Birth Control

Entertainment

The Supreme Court Just Decided To Allow Religious Employers To Deny Workers Birth Control

Tim Matsui / Getty

In another battle about birth control, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration has the right to allow employers to refuse coverage for workers seeking to obtain birth control through work insurance plans. Giving employers with religious or moral objections a pass, the Supreme Court made the ruling which is deeply concerning considering how much it infringes on women’s rights.

The decision which had a 7:2 vote marks the end of years of lawsuits over the Affordable Care Act’s “birth control mandate.”

Over a decade ago, the Obama administration made employers offer employees birth control coverage. Since the decision, religious liberty proponents and reproductive rights advocates squared off over which employers should be excluded from that requirement. According to Vice, “Over the years, the government has given churches and other houses of worship, as well as some other employers, ways to skirt that requirement.”

In 2017, the Trump administration issued a set of new rules that increased the number of organizations to refuse birth control coverage.

The change in rules gives private employers with sincerely held religious and moral objections to be exempt.

After Pennsylvania and New Jersey pursued lawsuits over the change and won in a lower court, the Trump administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor appealed to the Supreme Court for an overturned ruling. Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury had the right to create such exemptions ruling “The only question we face today is what the plain language of the statute authorizes. And the plain language of the statute clearly allows the Departments to create the preventive care standards as well as the religious and moral exemptions.”

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh agreed with Thomas’ opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sided with the liberals in various recent cases, also ruled in their favor.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor ruled against the measure.

In her dissent, Ginsburg underlined that the government has an estimated number of 70,500 to 126,400 women who could lose their “no-cost contraceptive services” should additional employers be exempt. “This court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets,” Ginsburg wrote.

In May, Ginsburg made history when she called into the arguments over the case from the hospital due to the coronavirus pandemic and her recovery from “non-surgical treatment.”

“You are shifting the employer’s religious beliefs — the cost of them — onto the employees,” Ginsburg told then-Solicitor General Noel Francisco. She also added that women who lose birth control coverage will most likely be forced to find coverage through government programs like Medicaid or pay for their health care out of pocket. “The women end up getting nothing.”