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This Nursing Student Sued Her College because Her Classmates Spoke Spanish

This is Terri Bennett, a former nursing student at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

Terry Bennett Pima Community College

Bennett says she was wrongly suspended from school in 2013 after she complained that her classmates were speaking Spanish.

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So Bennett sued Pima Community College for “violating her rights” as an English speaker.

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So what the hell happened?

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But Pima Community College officials had a completely different story.

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Credit: Pima Community College

PCC officials said the suspension wasn’t a matter of a simple complaint. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the college presented evidence during the trial that showed Bennett was harassing fellow students, calling them “spics, beaners and illegals.” Bennett also confronted another student and said: “This is America. You’re not in Mexico. Speak English.”

After hearing all the evidence, the jury in the case ruled in favor of Pima Community College, and Bennett was ordered to pay $110,000 in legal fees for PCC.

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How Latino Organizers in Arizona Helped Flip the State From Red to Blue

Entertainment

How Latino Organizers in Arizona Helped Flip the State From Red to Blue

Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

When Arizona was officially called for Joe Biden this year, a number of think pieces appeared on the internet that assigned the responsibility of Biden’s win to white Republicans. Headlines ran calling the victory “John McCain’s Revenge”–a reference to the late Arizona senator who had a contentious relationship with Donald Trump. Pundits hypothesized that white Republican voters cast their vote for Biden to spite Donald Trump, who had previously insulted the beloved Arizona Senator’s military record.

Soon after this narrative began to trend, Latinos quickly took to social media to set the record straight. “Hey @CNN,” wrote Julio Ricardo Varela on Twitter. “@CindyMcCain is not the only reason that Biden won Arizona. It wasn’t just that. Can you at least discuss the overwhelming Latino support and the organizing history of young Latinos in the time of SB1070?”

In the noise of election pontificating, the media largely ignored the efforts of Latino grassroots organizers. The efforts that ultimately helped flip Arizona. It is not a coincidence that Latinos now constitute the base of the Democratic party in Arizona.

It was no coincidence that so many Latinos mobilized this year. In fact, the event was a deliberate and organized process spearheaded by activist groups like the MiAZ coalition. The MiAZ coalition is a five activist groups that organized a massive field campaign targeting Latino voters. Altogether, Mi AZ reports that they made nearly 8 million calls and knocked on over 1.15 million doors.

Mi AZ reports Latino voter turnout in Arizona was at an all-time high of 50% this year, up from the record of 44% in 2016. The organization also reported to local news website AZ Central that according to their data analysis, “nearly 73% of Latino voters in key Latino-majority precincts in Arizona chose President-elect Joe Biden” over President Trump.

In an in-depth and touching Twitter thread, Arizona-based educator and organizer Reyna Montoya wrote a briefer on what changed Arizona from blue to red “for folks who may be wondering what is going on.”

In the thread, Montoya described her first-hand account of the trauma that Latinos in Arizona faced through the last few decades. A collective trauma that ended up mobilizing the Latino community for Biden.

Montoya described Arizona’s “English Only” law that passed in 2000. She then described Prop 300 in 2006, a measure that forbid students from receiving state financial aid for college if they couldn’t prove they were legal residents of Arizona. The final event was what most personally affected her: the passage of SB1070, a law that required all immigrants over the age of 18 to carry immigration documentation with them at all times.

“This was personal,” Montoya wrote on Twitter. “I remember my mom being scared. I remember being extreme cautions about driving anywhere.”

It was Arizona’s anti-Latino sentiment and, consequently, the legislation the state government passed to curb the rights of Latinos in the state that ended up backfiring. Instead of suppressing a community, the anti-Latino legislation ended up lighting a fire under many young Latinos, prompting them to organize. To fight back.

“In 2011, we decided to organize, build community and focus on rebuilding Arizona.,” Montoya wrote so brilliantly on Twitter. “Since 2011 until now, we have been educating others on immigration.”

“We have decided to no longer remain in the shadows,” she said. “We decided to let our voices be heard.”

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The Presidential Election Is Still Too Close To Call But Here Is How Latinos Voted

Things That Matter

The Presidential Election Is Still Too Close To Call But Here Is How Latinos Voted

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The 2020 presidential election is days from being projected. Millions of mail-in ballots are left to be counted in the key states of Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. However, states with large Latino populations have been called and Latino voters were all over the map. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Latino vote in Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

First, it is important to note that the Latino vote is not a monolith.

There is no unified message to give to the larger Latino community. Latinos if different states and from different background have different issues they care about. Cuban-American voters in Florida are much more conservative than other Latino voters in the rest of the country. There is also a generational divide and gender divide that further separates Latino voters on party line. That was clear last night.

Cuban voters in Florida turned out for President Trump.

In Florida, 55 percent of Cuban voters went for President Trump, according to NBC News. Thirty percent of Puerto Ricans and 48 percent of “other Latinos” also voted for President Trump in the battleground state. President Trump improved on his numbers in Miami-Dade County with almost 200,000 more votes than in 2016. Meanwhile, Joe Biden lost support in Miami-Dade County shedding almost 11,000 votes from Hillary Clinton’s total for the county four years ago.

There are multiple factors at play here. First, President Trump aggressively chased the Latin American voters in South Florida. Venezuelans were proud to see President Trump pictured with Lilian Tintori. Tintori is the wife of the Venezuelan opposition folk hero Leopoldo López. Second, President Trump stoked fears within the Cuban-American community that a Biden administration would usher in a Socialist government similar to Cuba.

President Trump’s efforts were amplified and assisted with a disinformation campaign that turned Cuban voters further from Democrats. There was an infamous moment when an insert in the Miami Herald featured anti-Semitic and racist language during the Black Lives Matter protests. These moments offered the Trump campaign a perfect storm to court Cuban and Venezuelan voters in South Florida. The president’s relentless rally schedule in South Florida further drove Latinos of all backgrounds closer to Trump with different margins. However, the Cuban-American community is the only group where the majority support President Trump.

In Texas, fewer Latinos voted for Biden than did for Clinton in 2016.

Latinos voted for Biden with a 19 point spread, 59-40. However, that number is way down from the 27-point lead that Hillary Clinton had with Latino voters in Texas in 2016. President Trump managed to improve on his number of Latino voters in Texas substantially.

The trend of lost Democratic support was visible in different counties as well. Beto O’Rourke ran a wildly popular campaign against Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterms. However, Biden was unable to capitalize on O’Rourke’s gains and lost counties O’Rourke carried in 2018.

The stunning exception to last night’s trends was Arizona.

Latinos showed up at the polls in Arizona and came together to flip the state for the Democrats. President Trump won the state in 2016 by less than 4 points. Maricopa County, which elected Joe Arpaio as sheriff, flipped from Republican to Democrat to help deliver Biden a win in The Copper State.

Clinton won 61 percent of the Latino vote in Arizona in 2016. Biden, according to early numbers, ran up the count with Latino Arizonans and secured 70 percent of that vote. Arizona is a Latino and immigrant state and the stunning victory shows the discontent within the state where the Latino community has been attacked and Covid-19 has been devastating.

Arizona was home to Sheriff Arpaio who implemented racial profiling against Latino Arizonans. The policies and practices by Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office terrorized Latinos and they remembered. President Trump made a show of pardoning former Sheriff Arpaio after being found guilty of criminal contempt. Former Sheriff Arpaio violated a court order to cease and desist his crackdown on undocumented immigrants because of racial profiling.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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