Ted Cruz got the scolding of a lifetime from Bronx natives during his campaign stop.
Gonzalo and Rodrigo Venegas had a strong and clear message for Ted Cruz: He is not welcome in the “Boogie Down Bronx.” Cruz is in New York campaigning ahead of the state’s April 19 primary. After such an impressive win in Wisconsin, you would assume that things are coming up roses for the Canadian-born politician. LOL nope.
“We are an immigrant community,” one of the Venegas brothers told reporters in the video. “Ted Cruz, he is a racist who represents the white supremacy. We are not going to allow that in our neighborhood.”
WTF was Cruz thinking? Did he really believe that New Yorkers would welcome him with open arms after sh*ttalking the Bronx in 2014? And don’t forget that the GOP candidate was also in hot water earlier this campaign season after attacking what he called “New York values.”
We’re curious to see how Cruz will try to walk back such negative comments in a state that has clearly not forgotten what he’s said. We’ll watch closely and see how this whole thing unfolds April 19.
Just two months ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that mandates vaccination for children old enough to attend schools, and participate in education with other children, unless otherwise advised by a doctor. The legislation came after the spread of misinformation about vaccines caused a series of measles outbreaks in the spring. Scientific literature based on decades worth of data from tens of thousands of children has proven vaccination safe and effective for the public.
Attorney’s Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Michael Sussman filed a class action suit for about three dozen parents who claim that vaccinating their children goes against their faith. Wednesday, Albany courtrooms were packed with over 1,000 anti-vaxxers who wanted to hear how the judge would rule in a debate around religious freedom vs. public health.
The crowd of anti-vaxxers wore white in reference to the Argentine mothers who wore white as they protested their government’s brutal killings and disappearances of their liberal children.
The anti-vaxxers feel that the implication of the government forcing them to vaccine their children from measles is tantamount to the Argentine government killing or “disappearing” 30,000 young, leftist political activists from existence in the 1970s.
In April 1977, 14 mothers, wearing images of their missing children’s faces around their neck, marched around the Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. They took a stand against a violent government in a defiant act to demand justice for their children.
These New York parents also feel the law doesn’t allow enough time to find proper education for their children.
The demonstrators told Gothamist reporters, Gwynne Hogan and Claire Lampen, that “the new law effectively disappeared their children from the school system.” If the religious exemptions aren’t upheld, their alternative would be to homeschool their children or move to a different state.
“[We’re] hoping that our kids are granted the right to go back to school. Our children have been kicked out,” Long Island mother Amy McBride, 41, told Gothamist. “We’ve all been meeting, trying to look at curriculums, understand how to make it work, what the regulations are, understanding what it takes to actually do that…Our beliefs are steadfast and sincere and true and we’re not going to cave.”
The lawyers in the case argued that legislators demonstrated “active hostility toward religion.”
“[These children] are going to have nowhere to go to school…They have no idea what they are going to do with these children,” Sussman said. New York State attorney Helena Lynch refuted that claim. “The actual legislative record is so clear that the motivation was public health,” Lynch said. “The right to religious expression does not encompass the right to place others in danger.”
Lynch also expressed that legislators aren’t targeting religious groups but are genuinely “skeptical” that those choosing not to vaccinate their kids were expressing personal beliefs rather than religious ones. The crux of the argument seems to rest on public health risk for allowing the religious exemption, especially when an approximate 26,000 children would be unvaccinated in New York schools.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman from Manhattan, specifically wanted to eliminate the religious exemption as the key reason for the recent spread of measles.
You have a First Amendment right to practice your own religion, but you do not have the right to endanger your children or worse other people’s children,” he told a press conference. Already, 14 percent of pre-school aged children in Williamsburg are estimated to be unvaccinated for religious reasons or otherwise. Another 28 percent in Rockland County were unvaccinated.
The anti-vaxxers expressed that they wished New York followed in California’s suit by allowing a year for the law to take effect. But public health advocates cite a sense of urgency for public safety measures, “This needs to be done, not tomorrow, not in a week, not in a month, and not in a year,” said one activist. “It must be done immediately, the numbers are gaining strength.”
Crowds packed even this overflow room as they waited for the judge’s answer.
They never heard it. Judge Hartman hasn’t made her decision yet about whether to allow 26,000 unvaccinated children go to New York schools in time for school start dates just three weeks from the hearing. The anti-vaxxers want her to put a stay on the state law which would allow those children to go to school while she continues to hear the case and make a final, permanent decision.
A family is grieving an unimaginable tragedy. Father Juan Rodriguez accidentally left his 1-year-old twins, Luna and Pheonix Rodriguez, in his car when he arrived to work. Eight hours later, Juan went back to his car to drive home when he had the realization that his twins had been strapped in their car seats the entire day. A community has come together to help the grieving family.
Iraq veteran and social worker for the VA is facing charges for leaving his twins in his car when he went to work.
Juan works as a social worker for the James J. Peters VA Hospital in the Bronx. On Friday, July 23, the father of the twins, who had just turned 1, went to work and forgot to leave his children at daycare. Juan then worked a full day and it wasn’t until he was back in his car and already driving when he realized that his children were still strapped into their car seats in the back seat.
Witnesses say they saw Juan stepping out of his car crying and screaming for help.
“He’s screaming and he gets on the phone and is like, ‘Oh my god, my kids died. Oh my God, my kids died,” one witness told local news. “He was very very very sad.”
Authorities have paused on an indictment leading some to believe the original charges will be reduced or dropped.
“We are speaking to the district attorney’s office to convey to them, what I think that they know and understand, that this was a horrific and terrible tragedy,” Rodriguez’s Attorney Joey Jackson told the press. “Obviously, my client, Mr. Rodriguez, his wife, his mom, his dad, his beautiful family, his 16-year-old, his 12-year-old, his 4-year-old, they’re completely crushed by this incident.”
Jackson confirmed that Juan will be back in court on Aug. 27 to see if the grand jury has found enough evidence to indict Juan for the death of his children.
Strangers are coming together to raise money for the families legal and funeral costs linked to the tragedy.
“Juan Rodriguez is a loving father and a dedicated husband, with a relentless drive to improve the lives of his family and community. A disabled veteran, as well as a social worker for the VA Hospital in the Bronx; he has first-hand knowledge of how traumatic experiences can impact lives” reads the GoFundMe set up for the family. “He has helped countless veterans with their daily lives and has served as a liaison between veterans, and outside agencies that work closely with the VA hospital. He has dedicated his life to public service, positively affecting thousands of lives. Juan is an honest and hard-working man. A man who now has to deal with the same type of traumatic loss that he has helped others cope with in the past.”
The GoFundMe has raised more than $89,000 so far.
“This incident was a heartbreaking accident that has impacted the entire family. We are asking for your support, to help them get through this horrible and dark moment, and to find peace during this nightmare,” reads the GoFundMe account. “The family seeks to mourn together and be reunited, while they begin to tackle the impossible task of going on with their lives. We are asking for community support, in the same manner that Juan and Marissa have supported this community, while they cope with this tragedy.”
The family is standing behind Juan as he battles in the courts.
“Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband,” Marissa Rodriguez, his wife, said in a statement on Sunday. “This was a horrific accident, and I need him by my side to go through this together.”
Funeral services for the twins are being held on Friday, August 2, less than one month after the twins celebrated their first birthday.