Are you ready to get your carcajada on? You are not going to believe some of the ridiculously clever Facebook profile names people have come up with, and they range from hilarious to naughty. They have to be made up because if anyone really has these names “que Dios los ayude” as abuela would say.
You’ve heard of #ICEBae, now get ready to meet #ICEQueen. On July, 24th, the head of the U.S. Border Patrol, Chief Carla Provost, appeared before a Congressional subcommittee hearing in Washington DC to answer questions about her involvement in that secret, racist Facebook group that was recently exposed.
As it turns out, she was in on it too.
At the beginning of July 2019, ProPublica broke the story about a secret Facebook page made up of active and former members of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Twitter / @MarshallProj
In the group, members shared disgusting pictures, memes, and messages about government officials and the same migrant detainees they were ordered to guard. In some posts, graphic threats were made against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of Congress. Other reports say that one particular post was dedicated to disputing the authenticity of a photo of a drowned man, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, and his young daughter.
Shortly after the discovery of the Facebook group, Chief Carla Provost publicly denounced the group and its sexist and racist content. In a public statement to the press, Provost declared:
“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”
However, in a wild twist, we probably should have seen coming, Provost has now admitted that she was also part of the 9,500 member group.
Twitter / @Never270
Provost testified in front of the Congressional committee that though she was a member of the group, she rarely ever logged on to the social media site. She also claimed that she immediately reported herself to an oversight division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection after she realized she was a member of the same group she had condemned just weeks ago.
During the hearing, Provost claimed that she gave her login and password to Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility. She went on to add that she hardly ever used her Facebook account — only using it to stay in touch with friends and colleagues whom she doesn’t often see.
Recent reports had already claimed that the ICE Queen was a member of this Facebook group. However, the Border Patrol Chief did not deny or confirm her membership before yesterday’s Congressional hearing.
The ICE Queen admitted that she only joined the group after being told that agents were talking about her.
Twitter / @christiansarkar
According to Provost, she accepted an invitation to the group back in 2017 when it was sent by a colleague. The colleague had told the Border Patrol Chief that her agents were discussing her performance as she was then the organization’s acting chief. Provost claimed that she would periodically search her name on Facebook and read the posts that she would find. The ICE Queen further went on to explain that she never noticed any of the specific groups that the posts came from.
The Border Patrol Chief also admitted to answering one specific post in the Facebook group. The post was supposedly about a question from the TV show “Jeopardy” and she saw that her agents were talking about her. The ICE Queen says that she was the subject of a Jeopardy question and that’s why the conversation mentioned her name.
The Border Patrol Chief still committed to her denunciation of the Facebook group and the members who participated in the sexist and racist posts.
Twitter / @Fogfaaja
“Let me be clear, on July 1 was the first time that I saw those highly offensive and highly unacceptable posts when I saw them in the ProPublica report,” Provost told lawmakers during the session. “I am as outraged as everyone else when it comes to the statements that were made on that page.”
Despite her condemnation of those who participated in the group, the ICE Queen insisted that, for the most part, Border Patrol guards are good people.
Twitter / @Archerlady1
When suggestions were made that this Facebook page was indicative of a racist subculture within the Border Patrol agency, Provost pushed back.
“I would still not call it a subculture,” she insisted. “The vast majority — 99-point-whatever percent — of our men and women are good hardworking American citizens who are doing the best they can in a very difficult crisis.”
Of the about 9,500 members of the group, only 62 current members and 8 former Border patrol agents are being investigated for posts and comments made. Provost used this fact to insist on the overall good of her agency.
“A few bad apples are not representative of the organization,” Provost said. “There are bad doctors, there are bad nurses, there are bad teachers, but we don’t vilify the entire group.”
It should never be forgotten that these other professions do not house children in cages or separate families as part of their jobs like U.S. Border Patrol workers do. These agents are being investigated for a reason and their bad rap has more than been earned.
For Latinos, the power of storytelling has a unique value. For us, stories are often used to instill a greater sense of culture and understanding of our current circumstances. Stories are told not just around the table at dinner, they’re told in car rides, during lectures, in the kitchen to supplement a recipe. But nothing quite stands the test of time as the stories told at our bedsides while we’re children. Delaware Sisters Zaria, 13, and Hailey Willard,8, know the power of this tradition well and are using the practice of reading books to help children that are younger than themselves.
The two sisters love books and reading so much that they read bedtime stories to American children on Facebook live, every night.
The Willard sisters’ primary goal is to pick out books with characters that look like them.
Once every Sunday, the two sisters, whose love for literacy was passed on to them by their mom, Victoria, head off to their local Dover, Delaware library to pick out a week’s worth of books for their growing audience of young children online. Of course, in an age where online bullying is not only rampant but severe, their mother had hesitations. Still, the sisters were able to convince her that reading and streaming live would be worth it.
For their part, the sisters’ main goal is reaching children whose parents might not have time to read to their children at night. In a post to their Facebook page, the two girls state that “Parents sometimes work late or are too tired for stories. We are not only helping children, we are giving parents a nice break after a long day of work.”
Their love for reading is not uncommon among African American women. According to a Pew Research study, College-educated Black women in the US are the most likely people to read. They even read a bit more than educated white women. The same study, which was originally focused on the types of media formats that people read, also found that black women read more of any type of media, women from all backgrounds read more than men, and people who went to college read more than those who didn’t.
According to reports, African American women and girls are leading the way when it comes to reading and making changes for literacy and representation in literature.
In January 2018, Marley Dias, organizer of the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign, published her first book Marley Dias Gets It Done: So Can You, a book about social justice activism for kids. Dias, fourteen, won Smithsonian Magazine’s American Ingenuity Award in the Youth category in 2017, became known for her #1000blackgirlbooks campaign which she launched in 2015 when she was in sixth grade. The campaign brought attention to the startling lack of representation in children’s literature, to which children’s book literature agents have since responded.
This year its Delaware sisters, Zaria and Hailey, who have taken up the campaign for spreading a love for books, reading, learning, helping others, and representation. And Twitter users agree. Several gave well-deserved props to Zaria and Hailey in response to David Muir’s July 17, ABC news feature on them and their literacy project.
This Twitter user congratulated Zaria and Hailey’s parents.