politics

Her Juvenile Parole Officer Gave Her The Second Chance She Needed, And She Went On To Become The First Latina Legislator For Nevada

Courtesy of Lucy Flores

Lucy Flores likes to call herself an accidental politician. Why? Flores says that, statistically speaking, her troubled past and run-ins with the law mean that she was never supposed to become a politician. Yet despite that, she used her time as a troubled youth to drive her life through law school and, eventually, into the political spotlight. Since her first election, she has worked tirelessly to keep helping her community and other disenfranchised communities around the country. Lucy Flores currently works at mitú as the vice president of public affairs.

“It really was a series of fortune and good luck and a lot of hard work,” Lucy Flores told mitú about her path to becoming a politician.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

Flores opened up to mitú about the experiences that led her to career in politics and it all started with the tragic, gang and drug-related murders of two of her brothers in east Los Angeles.

“That’s what led my dad to try and start over in Las Vegas. Heading to Vegas, we did struggle but we made do like so many low-income immigrants and families struggling in this country,” Flores told mitú. “That was primarily what inspired my run for public office. And what still inspires my work every day is that the challenges that I experienced growing up are still very much what people are experiencing, even more so now under the economic conditions that we live in.”

But it wasn’t all good fortune for Flores. She said that her family struggled a lot when she was younger. When her mother left, that’s when things started to spiral downward.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“When I was 9 that was a really hard experience for me,” Flores said about her mother leaving. “I was doing really well in school. I was in gifted and talented education and I loved learning and I loved everything about school.”

But the family dynamic was so grueling that her father was working at all hours and when she started to suffer academically, no one noticed.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“I didn’t have any support. I didn’t understand what was happening. I started doing poorly in school and not a single person intervened,” Flores recalled to mitú. “I went from this gifted and talented education student to really failing every single one of my placement exams and doing poorly in school – almost overnight, and not a single person noticed. So, I didn’t have that support structure there and I fell through the cracks like so many people do and I didn’t have a whole lot of positive role models and people to aspire to, but I did have a lot of negative ones.”

Things went from bad to worse when Flores was a teenager. Starting at 12, Flores had run-ins with the law and found herself in juvenile centers starting with statutory infractions like ditching and running away, up to grand theft auto.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“Just going through that system, it was really traumatic and partially explains why, statistically speaking, I should have ended up in that system,” Flores told mitú when recalling being strip-searched at just 12 years old. “But, eventually I ended up on juvenile parole at 15 because all of that seriousness quickly escalated and was sent away for grand theft auto and a couple of other major, more serious, crimes. When I got out I was expected to do better given the same circumstances, the same resources, the same everything because there also isn’t enough of a support structure when you are released out of the correctional facility.”

Thanks to the second chance given to her by her parole officer, Flores began to see that a positive life for herself was possible.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“I successfully got off of parole, I still ended up dropping out of high school at 17 because, again, that’s just kind of what people in my community do. Everybody in my family except for one of my brothers had dropped out of high school and then I just started working” Flores told mitú. “It was through a series of mentors and role models that came into my life over the years that I finally started to believe that I could do something different. I started to see that people were successful and going to school and doing all these things. People would tell me that I was smart and that I should study and that I could go to college. So finally at 21 I got my GED and enrolled in community college and did everything that I possibly could to make into a regular four-year college.”

Eventually, Flores made her way to law school and began to work to help her community, a common theme in Flores’ public service career.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

It was during her second year in law school, after completing an externship in the Nevada capitol of Carson City and passing some wrongful conviction reform legislation, that Flores decided she would run to be the first ever Latina legislator elected in the state of Nevada, and she won.?

“In my third year of law school, I went to school full-time, I campaigned full-time, ultimately graduated, was elected, and then sat for my bar during my first legislative session. That has kind of brought me to here,” Flores told mitú. “For me, it is very critical to be very open and transparent about my story and the various challenges I have gone through and the decisions that I’ve had to make. To me, that’s always been the impatience that I’ve had around my approach to public policy. And when people call me courageous, I just call myself on a mission.”

Since serving as the first ever Latina state legislator for Nevada, Flores has also run for lieutenant governor and, most recently, to represent Nevada’s 4th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

Flores, who was supported by Bernie Sanders, didn’t win her race but she’s not backing down from her public advocacy.


“I haven’t closed the door to elected office. I think that everything happens for a reason and I did my very best in my last election. I lost, but I’m incredibly proud of the campaign that I ran and the efforts that I made and the things that I achieved on behalf of others, like my policy accomplishments and everything that I’ve managed to do to help others,” Flores said about her political future. “While, I am temporarily doing other political work, I am on the board of [Sanders’] Our Revolution, after his primary loss. So, I’m still deeply involved with the trajectory of this new progressive country that we are trying to build and still doing strategic work around politics for major organizations, including mitú. I think that I am still able to have a voice in trying to improve the outcome of our communities.”

She might have lost, but she does have some advice for the incoming Congressional class.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“We start making progress by empathizing and understanding other people’s experiences and that’s partially the reason why our government oftentimes experiences as many problems as it does in making good public policy because we have so many of the same kind of people running our government, old white people,” Flores shared with mitú. “Even though you might be black or white or Asian or anything else, you aren’t ever going to entirely know what the experience is to be somebody else but it’s your job to try to understand.”

And Flores really wants young Latinos to get involved in politics because it’s through involvement, sustained involvement, that real change can occur.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“Their voices matters every single day in their communities,” Flores told mitú about young Latino political involvement. “When you look at laws that have been passed or policy that affects them, it’s not just being done by the president. It’s being done by state legislators, it’s being done by city councils. People need to stop thinking that just because they voted in a presidential election and the outcome didn’t turn out in their favor that that somehow means that their voice isn’t valuable or that their time spent doing that doesn’t make a difference.”

“People can get involved in the smallest of ways and it truly does make an impact.”

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“It can be as simple as just informing yourself,” Flores recommends to Latinos looking to get involved. “By spending one extra hour a week instead of reading TMZ, by reading your local paper and figuring out what’s happening at your school board this week, what’s happening at your city council, what’s happening at your state legislature this week and just keep yourself informed. As you inform yourself about what’s happening in your community you start to find all of these opportunities to get involved in those issues.”


READ: We Didn’t Elect The First Woman President, But We Elected The First Latina Senator

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One Lucky Chicago Couple's Engagement Went Viral Thanks To An Unexpected Star

#mitúWORLD

One Lucky Chicago Couple’s Engagement Went Viral Thanks To An Unexpected Star

This viral proposal is melting hearts.

Over the weekend, Jessica Rodriguez proposed to her girlfriend at The Art Institute of Chicago and the moment was obviously caught on camera. While any proposal is heart-warming, the real story here is about a reaction captured in one of the engagement photos. The viral tweet, uploaded by Jessica’s brother Carlos, has received more than 109,000 retweets and more than 342,000 likes.

Jessica Rodriguez and Chelsea Miller are brand new fiancées.

@AreYouShook / Twitter
CREDIT: @AreYouShook / Twitter

“I had been suspecting there may be a proposal in the works but I didn’t think it would be so soon! Jessica threw me off by telling me we were going to an event to support a friend at the art museum,” Chelsea Miller told mitú via email. “She also kept making comments about having to get finals done at school before planning something and talked about doing it after the holidays. She really wanted it to be a surprise, and that it was! It was even more special; all the thought and detail she put into the proposal to make it so sweet and meaningful to us, which means so much to me because I’m a big sentimental baby.”

Here’s the photo after Miller told Rodriguez yes.

@AreYouShook / Twitter
CREDIT: @AreYouShook / Twitter

The couple met on Tumblr in 2012 and maintained a long-distance thing for a while. Eventually, they broke things off since the distance was too much but after some time the two moved to Chicago together and the rest is history.

“I first met Jessica on Tumblr, a blogging website with a large LGBTQ+ community. I saw her page and thought she was pretty and seemed like an interesting person so I sent her a message which sparked conversation,” Miller explained to mitú. “We talked for a while on email, texts, soon phone calls, and then decided to meet. The first time I saw her in person was my first visit to Texas and when I walked through the airport to her I was SUPER nervous. I made it through security and saw her for the first time and I was already in love. I was still a little nervous until she gave me a hug and melted it all away! It was a very special day in my life.”

While the proposal was super sweet, this little lady’s reaction is what made everyone’s heart just melt.

@AreYouShook / Twitter
CREDIT: @AreYouShook / Twitter

We did not, unfortunately, notice her in the moment,” Miller told mitú because, well, obvi. “I totally would’ve given her a hug if I had! We were just so caught up in the moment, everything else was like a blur! We noticed later on when going through the photos, and it made the picture even more special to us!”

People instantly fell in love with the visibly excited woman witnessing the engagement.


Amazing! ?

The lucky couple had no idea that their engagement would mean so much to the world.


“I was (and still am) completely shocked,” Miller said to mitú about the reaction the tweet has received. “And a little overwhelmed, but in a good way. We weren’t trying to go viral and never expected anything like this to happen. We’re just two girls in love!”

They’re getting some serious love from all around the world.


“We’ve been getting messages from people all over saying things like “this gives me hope,” “restores my faith in humanity,” “inspires me to be myself,” and so much more,” Miller explained to mitú. “I think it is so important to get positive messages out there about the LGBTQ+ community and I’m happy I can be a part of one small, positive message for so many people. We all need more positive things to focus on.”

One Twitter user did take a moment to compliment the girls on their flawless shoe choices.


#AMEN

Congratulations, Jessica and Chelsea!

GIPHY Originals / GIPHY
CREDIT: GIPHY Originals / GIPHY

READ: This Olympic Proposal Totally Stole The Show

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