Things That Matter

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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The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

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The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

Things That Matter

Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

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Two Democratic members of Congress have just been barred from visiting Israel next week in a move that many fear will deepen the injured relationship between Democrats and the Jewish state and strengthen the bond between Trump and Israeli leaders. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from embarking on a planned trip to the country. 

Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed the ban in a statement to CNN. 

“The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The decision came after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing “great weakness” if they allowed the women of color legislators, who have both been very critical of the country, to visit. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people,” the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “There is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

The private trip was organized by a Palestinian-led nonprofit. The women were expected to visit Israel and the West Bank, where Tlaib has family, as well as Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. In the latter Middle Eastern city, they were to join members of the Palestinian Authority at the Temple Mount (called Haram al-Sharif by Muslims), a major holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The decision to block the trip comes one month after Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said that the women would be allowed to visit Israel, noting at the time that barring them would be impertinent.

“Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer, who is close to Netanyahu, said

For some on the left, the Israeli government’s decision to go back on their word is proof that the decision was made in spite of the women. 

Even more, they see it as potentially damaging to an already strained relationship.

“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”

In a separate statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the decision a “sign of weakness, not strength,” adding that “it will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America … Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”

Netanyahu’s main grievance with the women is that they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Both Omar and Tlaib voted for legislation that would have made it US policy to boycott Israel; the measure was thwarted 398-17 in the House.

Since about 2005, the BDS movement has attempted to force Israel to change its approach to the Palestinians through external pressure, like demanding companies to halt business with Israel, asking consumers to stop buying Israeli products and calling on scholars and cultural leaders to stop collaborating with colleagues in the country. For supporters, the mission is much like the boycotts that targeted apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. 

For opponents, however, the movement, and its followers are deemed anti-Semitic.

Democratic presidential candidates have chimed in on the matter as well, with some recognizing that difference in views does not equate to anti-Semitism and others directly placing their anger with Trump, who they believe helped stir up Isreali leaders with his damaging remarks against Reps. Tlaib and Omar.

“Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. “This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.”

Speaking to Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) called the president a bigot and told him, “opposing Netanyahu’s policies is not ‘hating the Jewish people.”

Former US representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) added: “President Trump, you show great weakness every single day—when you attack women of color when you degrade the office of the president, and when you ask our allies to stoop to your level.”

In July, Trump told Omar and Tlaib, among other members of their “squad” — which also includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — to “go back” to their countries. Tlaib was born in the United States, and Omar was born in Somalia and is a naturalized US citizen.

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