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Sotomayor: Greatest Obstacle Is Fear, Not Discrimination

When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor set out to write her book “My Beloved World,” she was inspired by a question a journalist asked and that she later asked herself: “Do I really think I had a happy childhood?”

Before Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina to join the Supreme Court, before going to Yale for law school and Princeton for undergrad, she was a young Puerto Rican girl living in South Bronx struggling to get by.

While growing up in South Bronx, Sotomayor lived with an alcoholic dad and a mom who was emotionally distant. They fought about money, the housework, the drinking and even Sotomayor’s insulin shots when she was diagnosed with diabetes.

It wasn’t as happy a childhood as others had perceived, but what was true about her younger self, was that she worked hard even when she was afraid. Even with all the success in her life, she fought fear all her life. And that, ultimately, is the message of her book.

“If I’ve accomplished anything in my book… [it’s] that people will understand the greatest obstacle they will face in life is not discrimination, it’s their own fear,” she told NPR. “Fear often paralyzes us because what kills you and what stops you is not experiencing new things.”

She encourages young Latinos to experience life even with fear. “I can’t tell you how many Latino kids I still talk to who tell me, ‘I don’t want to go away to go college because I don’t want to leave my family,’” she said. “You don’t leave your family by going away to college for god’s sakes! You enrich your life and theirs by doing something they couldn’t do and bringing back the joy home.”

So for any young Latino out there deciding whether to go away to college or not, take the advice of one of the most powerful Latinas in the United States: You’ll be fine.

Sotomayor has a lot more to say. Get inspired with her interview here

READ: 5 Latino Figures We Wish “Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Would Write Musicals For

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Netflix’s ‘Vampires Vs. The Bronx’ Takes A Horror-Comedy Approach To Gentrification

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Vampires Vs. The Bronx’ Takes A Horror-Comedy Approach To Gentrification

Netflix / YouTube

Netflix has been making the content we have all been waiting for and the latest hit is “Vampires Vs. The Bronx.” The movie is a new way to tell the narrative of gentrification through the lens of family-friendly horror. Netflix viewers are clearly loving the movie and some want to see it make history.

It’s hard to tell who is the biggest danger in “Vampires Vs. The Bronx.”

The comedy-horror was directed by Osmany Rodriguez who is the mastermind behind some of the funniest moments of “Saturday Night Live.” Basically, all of the 2016 election sketches with Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon are thanks to Rodriguez and his directing prowess.

Rodriguez brings his same comedic look on the darker issues to this movie where vampires, gentrifiers, and gangsters are overwhelming the Bronx. Yet, despite all of the obvious dangers out there, it is hard to figure out who the real threat to safety is.

First off, people were here for the way to real cultural moments.

Like, okay. We all know that Timbs are a thing in the Bronx. They are a cultural icon of the neighborhood and to see them used as a weapon in “Vampires Vs. The Bronx” was just *chef’s kiss*. Tbh, it was the kind of reaction you could feel in your soul as our communities are still actively fighting against rampant gentrification in our neighborhoods.

The trailer shows a group of boys trying to exist in their neighborhood as the ultimate turf war begins between the three factions. White people with canvas bags, insanely evil vampires, and the stereotypical gangsters are out in full force in this relevant and quickly beloved movie.

Rodriguez did what most filmmakers should: he talked to people in the Bronx.

Rodriguez didn’t shy away from learning what the people had to say about what was happening to their neighborhood. The most common complaint and observation he heard from people in Washington Heights and the Bronx was that gentrification was really taking a negative toll on the communities.

According to an interview with The Daily Beast, Rodriguez learned from Bronx and Washington Heights residents that gentrification was killing the souls of the two Latino neighborhoods. The same can be seen in Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, a Mexican and immigrant neighborhood.

People on social media cannot hype up the movie enough.

Fans of the movie appreciate the balance the movie has been able to strike when telling the story of gentrification. Also, the addition of vampires that seem to be just as horrible is a comical relief that communities impacted by gentrification seem to welcome. Rodriguez wanted to intentionally flip the narrative of gentrification making neighborhoods better and instead show that the neighborhoods are strong and vibrant with their own communities.

The movie has been compared to classics, like “Dracula.”

“Vampires Vs. The Bronx” is a clear commentary on the current class struggles happening in communities of color across the country. Much like the 1931 film “Dracula,” the narrative painted by the Netflix movie is poignant look at what is happening in the world.

“Dracula” was seen as a capitalist’s nightmare with the vampire representing the dead labor. That dead labor, which is the relentless work under capitalism, can only survive by draining the life out of the living to keep itself thriving.

It is clear that Netflix and Rodriguez gave their fans exactly what they wanted out of “Vampires Vs. The Bronx.”

People are more than fans. The movie has become a cultural entertainment moment for the communities represented in the film. This kind of representation is amazing. Afro-Latino talent is front and center in the film as the heroes and that is something we can all celebrate. Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Black actors delivered a performance that is resonating far beyond the Netflix-universe.

“Vampires Vs. The Bronx” is currently streaming on Netflix so you can watch it now.

READ: Netflix Finally Gave Us The Release Date For “Selena: The Series” And Fans Can’t Wait

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As Republicans Move To Fill Supreme Court Seat, Julián Castro Says Democrats Should Consider Nuclear Option

Things That Matter

As Republicans Move To Fill Supreme Court Seat, Julián Castro Says Democrats Should Consider Nuclear Option

Gabriela Bhaskar / Getty Images

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, progressives are struggling to figure out their next move. Republicans have made it clear they don’t care about precedent or even following their own made up rules, and plan to attempt to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible.

Some Republicans have even gone as far as saying they’ll vote to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee even if he loses the November election, in a lame duck session of Congress.

This has Democrats in overdrive trying to figure out their game plan and how they’ll respond to Republican efforts to once again steal a Supreme Court seat.

Julián Castro says that Democrats should consider packing the court if they come into power come January.

In an interview with Buzzfeed’s News O’Clock podcast, this year’s only Latino candidate for president said that Democrats should consider adding more justices to the Supreme Court if Senate Republicans rush to confirm a justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. His announcement is a reversal from his stated position during the presidential campaign.

“For many of us, that wasn’t our preference, but the fact is you have Mitch McConnell not abiding by, not working in good faith under the Constitution. … If you have that kind of abuse of the system, then I think that, yeah, Democrats should be open to different ways that we can stave off draconian changes to our fundamental rights,” he said.

During last year’s presidential primaries, Castro said that he “would not pack the court” if we were elected president, but with reproductive rights, voting rights, and healthcare hanging in the balance, he now believes Democrats should consider structural reform to the court.

“When those are the stakes, and Mitch McConnell is the one who’s abused this system, then yeah, I think we need to be open to considering either adding more justices or other structural reforms that will prevent this kind of abuse in the future,” he said.

Nothing in the Constitution limits the number of justices that sit on the Supreme Court.

Credit: Sam Gateaux / Getty Images

Adding more justices to the Supreme Court, or “packing the court”, has become widely popular among progressives as they see it as a last resort to restoring equality to the court. And the only way in writing wrongs committed by Republican Senate leadership.

Obviously, one concern is that if the Democrats increase the court size when they have power, that the Republicans could expand it again when they regain power. And we would have a never ending saga.

But as the Democrats are once again outplayed and outmaneuvered by the GOP, many say it’s a risk worth taking.

Castro also warned that Biden was losing his traction with Latino voters.

Meanwhile, Castro has also expressed concern that the Biden campaign isn’t doing enough to win the support of Latino voters.

“I believe the campaign gets it in that they understand they have work to do,” Castro said, adding that he thinks that Biden will pick up Latino support by Nov. 3 because the campaign is now investing in voter registration, bilingual messaging across platforms, and tailored outreach to different Latino communities, rather than treating them as one unified voting block.

“The Latino community too often is invisible, it’s an afterthought,” said Castro, who was housing secretary under Barack Obama. “Even though it’s going to be the largest non-white voting group in 2020. I think in every way in American society … there’s this image of the Latino community as though everybody got here five minutes ago.”

Joe Biden’s campaign has “to make sure that they are doing everything they can to reach out to a community that already has one of the lowest rates of voting, that needs to be brought into the fold”, Castro said.

With 29 million eligible voters in 2018, or about 12.8% of the total, Latinos voted more than two-to-one for Democrats, according to Pew Research. That was a much lower rate than for the party’s key bloc, African Americans, who went 90%-9% for Democrats.

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