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Here’s Why Texas’ Latino Problem Is Important To All States

CREDIT: AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN / YOUTUBE

Right now there are nearly 10 million Latinos living in the Lone Star State, and according to the Austin American Statesman, 1.3 million are living without representation among elected officials. In some cases, this can mean that a significant number of people are left to fend for themselves when government aid is needed. In areas like Deaf Smith County, the Latino population can top 70 percent, yet not one of the representative seats is held by a Latino, meaning there is a divide between who represents these citizens. At schools, similar problems arise. In the Grand Prairie school district, the school’s Latino population is around 65 percent, yet only one Latino, David Espinosa, sits on the school board. For a state that will be a majority Latino by the year 2020, a minority of offices are held by Latinos. This is a problem.

“I feel like we have been abandoned,” Isabel García told the Austin American Statesman.

CREDIT: SMASHISM / INSTAGRAM

It might seem like the remedy for this problem rests in mobilizing Latino voters, but the math isn’t so simple. There are many factors that can lead to low Latino voter turn out: roadblocks in voter registration, voter apathy from underrepresentation, and redistricting measures that limit the influence of Latino voters are a few potential problems. Oftentimes, people running for office just don’t know how to connect with their Latino constituents and end up ignoring them when seeking reelection. Other times, the only strong candidates belong to a party that is not interested in their needs.  In spite of all this, Texas is poised to become a swing state in the 2016 presidential election. In 2012, Romney held a double digit lead over Obama in the Texas vote. In 2016, the margin between Trump and Clinton is only 3 percent. This closing of the gap between Democrats and Republicans is partly due to Texas’ Latino population, which largely skews Democrat when voting. So while people like Isabel García feel disenfranchised by their lack of representation, the outcome of the national election can rest in the hands of Latino voters. Something has to change at a local level.

So what’s next?

CREDIT: TEXAS DEMOGRAPHIC CENTER

When Latinos vote in large numbers, they have the power to affect real political change. Florida has already seen a staggering increase in Latino voters for the 2016 presidential election, up 99% more than the turnout in 2012. For all the faults Texas has representing Latinos, the state also has more Latino elected officials than any other state, 2,536 in total. The problems that Texas is facing should concern any state that has a growing Latino population. Texas’ problems will be your problems one day soon. Thankfully, there are people in Texas’ underrepresented districts working for change, and already in this election cycle we’ve seen efforts to encourage Latino voter participation. Like most things, it’s a matter of time, education, and participation.


Read: Schools, Weed, And Crime. Here’s Why Californians Should Register To Vote Beyond The Presidency

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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

Things That Matter

Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

Several states across the country (mostly governed by Republican leaders) have decided to repeal their mask mandates despite their own health officials urging against such moves.

Yes, the vaccine roll out has improved under the Biden administration – with nearly 2 million people getting vaccinated each day – but that is still not enough for the United States to reach herd immunity over night.

Now, thanks to these irresponsible moves by Republican governors, Americans are left to fend for themselves against anti-makers. In fact, a Mexican restaurant in Texas that decided to keep its mask mandate for diners is now facing racist attacks with people threatening to call ICE on its workers.

Texas Mexican restaurant is facing a backlash for sticking to its mask rules.

Houston’s Picos Restaurant, a small family-owned Mexican restaurant, is facing racist threatening comments after deciding to prioritize public health amid an ongoing pandemic. Several people sent hateful messages through social media and called the restaurant, threatening to report staffers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It was just horrific,” co-owner Monica Richards told the Washington Post. “People don’t understand unless you’re in our business what it felt like, how hard it was to go through everything we went through during covid. For people to be negative toward us for trying to remain safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, just makes zero sense to us.”

Picos decided to maintain their mask mandate as the governor lifted the state-wide one.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) rescind the statewide mask mandate despite the fact that a vast majority of his state’s residents remain vulnerable to COVID-19. The governor has ignored the advice of his own public health officials who say the state should wait on lifting these mandates until their is a greater incidence of vaccination in communities.

With Abbotts order, Texas will become the largest state in the nation to no longer require masks, which has not come easily for many businesses that are navigating enforcement mask rules to protect employees and customers while facing backlash.

Experts agree that masks are among the most effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19, but they’ve also become a partisan symbol. Masks have become so symbolic that one conservative group is set to hold a mask burning party the day the order is lifted, according to the Washington Post.

Picos hasn’t been the only restaurant facing such a backlash.

In fact, another Mexican restaurant in Houston, Cantina Bar, has been the victim of similar threatening messages, while several staff have been intimidated by screaming customers who refuse to wear masks even while it was required by a state order. Another Houston Mexican restaurant, Cantina Barba, received similar intimidating messages, and staff have been bullied by some screaming customers who refused to wear masks while it was required statewide, co-owner Steven O’Sullivan said.

“This has been ongoing through covid,” co-owner Steven O’Sullivan told the Post. “We’ve had threats of calling ICE. I had one guy just stand there and berate one of my bartenders and tell her ‘you’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid’ blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to deal with that stuff.”

Another employee at a separate restaurant had to get stitches after he was hit in the head with a glass by a maskless customer he approached, Houston Police said. Hopefully, the governor will still encourage his constituents to do what’s right and continue to wear masks when asked to do.

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Daisy Ridley Claps Back at Ted Cruz After He Subtly Insulted Her ‘Star Wars’ Character

Entertainment

Daisy Ridley Claps Back at Ted Cruz After He Subtly Insulted Her ‘Star Wars’ Character

Photos via Getty Images

It seems like Ted Cruz can’t stay away from the spotlight. On the heels of a very public* scandal, Cruz is now drumming up some more controversy for himself. But now he’s inserting himself into some pre-existing drama.

This time, Rafael Cruz decided to share his opinion on a recent dispute in the Star Wars universe. Yes, you read that right.

Ted Cruz–who has had his fair share of celebrity feuds— decided to pick a fight with Star Wars actress, Daisy Ridley.

The drama started when Cruz tweeted about the ongoing conflict between Disney and “The Mandalorian” actress, Gina Carano.

As background, Disney fired Carano from the hit show after she shared various controversial, far-right opinions on social media. Her posts included anti-mask rhetoric, Q-Anon conspiracies, and promoting false election fraud rumors. Oh, and she also compared being a conservative in Hollywood to being a Jew in Nazi Germany.

Since Carano’s firing, many conservative figures have publicly come to her defense. One of them being Ted Cruz.

Recently, Rafael tweeted out: “Texan Gina Carano broke barriers in the Star Wars universe: not a princess, not a victim, not some emotionally tortured Jedi. She played a woman who kicked ass & who girls looked up to. She was instrumental in making Star Wars fun again. Of course Disney canceled her.”

For those who aren’t well versed in the Star Wars universe, Cruz’s tweet seemed to be throwing subtle shade at the character of Rey–a female Jedi in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. Sure, you could call Rey “emotionally tortured”…or you could call her a normal person who expresses normal feelings. *Shrug*

Anyway, Daisy Ridley–the actress who played Rey–soon caught wind of the diss when an interviewer brought it to her attention.

The interviewer than asked if Ridley had any response to her character being classified as an “emotionally tortured Jedi”.At first, Ridley seemed visibly surprised that Cruz shaded her character. But she quickly regained her composure–as well as her wit.

“I am very happy to be an emotionally tortured Jedi who doesn’t leave their state when it’s having a terrible time,” she quipped.

Looks like Cruz had to learn the hard way not to mess with the Force.

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