Things That Matter

These Latinas Rocked The DNC With Their Powerful Speeches

The Democratic National Convention started on some pretty rocky ground, but the list of speakers, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, really turned the mood around. There were two other speakers, though, that really gave the crowd some touching and thought-provoking speeches: Eva Longoria and Demi Lovato. Both touched on different issues that many Democrats and Americans have been thinking about this election cycle.

Eva Longoria set the record straight on just how we came to have that border.

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Credit: College News Network / YouTube

Longoria shared her own personal story of being part of a family that had been in the same town for decades when all of a sudden the U.S. took control of what is now Texas. Overnight, her family went from living in Mexico to living in the U.S. through no control of their own.

Then she went in on Donald Trump, starting with the criminal and rapist tagline of his entire campaign.

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Credit: College News Network / YouTube

“In fact, my father is a United States veteran,” Longoria told the crowd in Philadelphia.

“When Trump cruelly mocked a disabled reporter…”

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Credit: College News Network / YouTube

Longoria also called out Trump on his sexist comment about how “a wife who works is a very dangerous thing.”

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Credit: College News Network / YouTube

Not only was he insulting Longoria herself, who is a working wife and mother, she also felt it insulted her mother. As she explains in the speech, her mother worked as a special needs educator for 30 years while raising four children and being a loving wife.

All of this led to Longoria’s greatest moment in the speech, where she points out the diversity in the DNC compared to the RNC.

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Credit: College News Network / YouTube

“A Latina from south Texas is introducing the first black senator from New Jersey on the week we’ll nominate our first woman candidate for president of the United States.”

During the same day at the DNC, Demi Lovato took the stage to talk about mental health issues in the country.

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Credit: ABC News / YouTube

“But I’m lucky,” Lovato continued. “I had the resources and support to get treatment at a top facility.”

She warned about the serious effects not getting proper treatment can have on a person with a mental illness.

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Credit: ABC News / YouTube

“Unfortunately, too many Americans from all walks of life don’t get help,” Lovato said. “Either because they fear the stigma or cannot afford treatment.”

She even called on all politicians to support the fight to expand mental health care in the U.S. to help millions of Americans suffering in silence.

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Credit: ABC News / YouTube

“I’m doing my very small part by having the treatment center that saw through my recovery on tour with me so that at least a small group of people, even for a brief moment, can have the same support that I received,” Lovato passionately told the crowd. “It may not be a lot, but we have to believe that every small action counts.”

Watch Eva Longoria’s speech here…

…and Demi Lovato’s speech here.


READ: Selena Gomez And Eva Longoria Are Setting The Record Straight About Women Empowerment

Register to vote today by downloading the Latinos Vote app for iOS and Android. Our voice matters. #WeAreAmerica

Eva Longoria Joins The Chorus Of Celebrities Standing Up With Gabrielle Union Against ‘AGT’

Entertainment

Eva Longoria Joins The Chorus Of Celebrities Standing Up With Gabrielle Union Against ‘AGT’

evalongoria / gabunion / Instagram

Eva Longoria joined the rallying call to demand NBC address its toxic workplace culture for women after Gabrielle Union shared her experience on set and her firing from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Since AGT announced that Union would be leaving the show, the truth of the circumstances surrounding Union’s firing has come out and people are upset with the network. Union allegedly went to HR for a racist joke that was later edited out of Jay Leno’s act and was repeatedly told that her hairstyles were “too black,” according to a report by Variety. Now, Union has an advocate in Eva Longoria, who shared a Time’s Up petition to her 7.7 million Twitter followers Monday to demand that NBCUniversal “take concrete steps to foster a safe and equitable workplace.”

“What @gabunion experienced on set at @NBC’s #AmericasGotTalent is unacceptable,” Longoria also wrote on Instagram. Longoria is blasting NBCUniversal on all platforms to encourage fans to demand that the network begin dismantling the imbalance of power between genders.

Time’s Up, the organization birthed by the #MeToo movement, is using its platform to petition NBCUniversal, and Longoria wants you to know about it.

CREDIT: @EVALONGORIA / TWITTER

“It’s time for @NBCUniversal to commit to long-term, concrete action to fix its toxic workplace culture and ensure safety and equity for all its workers. Add your name through @timesupnow Instagram story. #TimeUp on the imbalance of power. ✊🏼,” Longoria continued on Instagram. Longoria also publicly thanked Union on Twitter, posting, “Thank you @itsgabrielleu for speaking up about the toxic culture at @NBC‘s #AmericasGotTalent. It’s time for NBC to take these allegations seriously. Join me & @TIMESUPNOW in calling for accountability & concrete action from @NBCUniversal leadership.”

Time’s Up alleges that NBC retaliated against Union for speaking out against racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

CREDIT: @SHADOWANDACT / TWITTER

AGT is filmed in front of a live audience, but by the time its millions of American fans watch it on their television screens, it has been highly edited, including for the racist material that was allowed to be performed in front of the live audience. An insider told Variety that Jay Leno made a joke about a painting of Simon Cowell surrounded by his dogs on display in the executive producer’s hallway. According to four witnesses present for the taping made in front of the judges, including Union, Leno joked that “the dogs looked like something one would find ‘on the menu at a Korean restaurant,'” Variety reported. Several employees felt the joke was racist and only sought to perpetuate stereotypes that don’t actually exist at Asian-American restaurants, the outlet said. Union sought to bring the joke to the attention of Human Resources, as one might do at many other professional companies, but Variety’s whistleblowers said that it never made it to HR, though her concerns did allow for the joke to be censored in the final episode, aired on August 6.

Union’s hairstyles were also reportedly criticized as “too black.”

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Later, a white man tried to portray Beyoncé, but his hands were guised to look black, the insiders told the entertainment outlet. Union continuously asked producers to remove him from the stage, but they allowed him to give his performance to the live audience and removed the audition from the edited version. Union was also personally subjected to excessive notes on her physical appearance, specifically that her hairstyles were “too black” for their audience, something that Variety’s four inside sources said she was criticized for at least half a dozen times. News of the discrimination has prompted a #BlackHairChallenge viral hashtag in support of Union.

Longoria’s fans are taking it a step further and calling for a boycott of NBC.

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“People need to boycott the network. When it hurts their bottom line, they will change,” commented one fan. Change is already happening, thanks to the press generated from the likes of Longoria and those who signed the Time’s Up petition, which “applauds Union for her courage and once again calls on NBC to take these allegations seriously and take concrete steps to foster a safe and equitable workplace.” Already, NBC and its production companies have released a joint statement to PEOPLE to confirm they are “working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

“So many tears, so much gratitude,” Union tweeted, the day after Variety’s report came out. “THANK YOU! Just when you feel lost, adrift, alone… you got me up off the ground. Humbled and thankful, forever.”

READ: Ariana Grande And Ellen Pompeo Break Their Silence Over Gabrielle Union’s Firing From ‘America’s Got Talent’

This Guatemalan Mom Was Separated From Her Son At The Border After Enduring A Gunshot To The Face

Things That Matter

This Guatemalan Mom Was Separated From Her Son At The Border After Enduring A Gunshot To The Face

@ajplus / Twitter

In an exclusive interview with People Magazine, a 32-year-old Guatemalan woman recounts her experience fleeing her home country in August 2017 after being shot in the face at a demonstration. Not only does the woman—who goes by the false name Daniella—describe the event that catalyzed her desire to leave Guatemala, but she tells of the many months spent traveling north, and the many months spent in a detention center after reaching the border, separated from her young son.

On August 9, 2017, Daniella and her son, Carlos, were leaving their family’s house when they encountered a large protest against a new measure that would require people to pay for water. At first the protest was peaceful—but then bullets started flying through the air. Daniella and Carlos were just passing through, but a bullet had caught Daniella in two parts of her body: the left arm, and right below the eye.

“I threw my arm around Carlos to protect him—he was covered in blood, and I started to panic,” she told People. “Little did I know that the one bleeding was me.”

Because of rampant corruption in that part of Guatemala, Daniella knew that the police wouldn’t come—they were told not to interfere. So vigilant were certain members of the demonstration that Daniella’s father received a threatening call before she even made it to a hospital. The caller told her father that if they filed a report, he would kill the whole family. Later she learned that the man who had shot her lived just three blocks away from her mother. Fortunately, when she made it to the hospital, her husband—who had moved the the U.S. five years earlier to find work, sent money for the expenses.

After more than a week in the hospital, both bullets remain in Daniella’s body to this day.

“The doctor said that if they were taken out, I could be left in a vegetative state, or I could die,” she said. “To this day I still feel pain.”

After this harrowing experience, Daniella decided that it was time to follow in her husband’s footsteps and flee to the U.S. She knew that the journey would be anything but easy, but she could have never guessed how nightmarish a month lay ahead. Traveling by truck and by bus, there were many nights spent on the side of the road. When they finally made it to the Arizona border, they were not dropped off at an immigration center, as she had expected. Instead, she and Carlos were told to climb a tree, then jump from the tree to the border wall. From there, they could reach the other side.

“I told Carlos, ‘Mijo, you have to jump.’ He was so afraid that he wouldn’t move,” she said. “I looked into my son’s eyes, and I said, ‘Son, please trust me. Everything’s going to be all right.’

After they had both made it safely to the other side, they took just a few steps before the Border Patrol arrived. They were taken into custody and dropped off at “La Hielera”—The Icebox. There, Daniella was forced to sign papers she didn’t understand, and the officer who was present told her that the children would be taken to a shelter, then given up for adoption. Naturally, all the mothers were desperately frightened by this news.

Before leaving for court that same day, Daniella said goodbye to Carlos, unsure if they would ever see each other again. She told People Magazine that she held her son and said: “You’re a champion, Papa, and you’re always going to be in my heart.”

The mothers were not immediately told the whereabouts of their children. But five months after being moved to Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, Daniella learned that Carlos was in a New Jersey foster home.

A few months later, Daniella had her official court hearing. Her bail was posted at $30,000, and after filing an appeal to extend the bail deadline, Daniella was released from custody. She had been detained for 11 months.

The organization Immigrant Families Together had gathered the money for Daniella’s bail, and they helped her get back on her feet by providing her with food and clean clothes. They also took her to the airport to fly to Virginia, where Carlos had relocated to live with his uncle, her brother.

Daniella’s story isn’t unique—roughly 30,000 people are detained in the U.S. on a given day, and these numbers have seen major upticks throughout 2019. What makes Daniella’s story remarkable is her reunion with Carlos. Many families who have been separated at the border are not nearly as lucky.

While she and Carlos continue to deal with the psychological trauma of this experience, Daniella is grateful and focused on the future.

“Without the assistance from all the people that helped me, I wouldn’t be free,” said Daniella. “Now my only focus is my family, my son, starting a new life here in California . . . I don’t have to worry about being shot again or putting my son’s life in danger.”