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This Top Latina Athlete Is Refusing To Run For Her College Until It Fixes Its Racism Problem

Sanjuanita “Sam” Martinez is a senior cross country and track runner at Cornell College, located in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Credit: @therunner26_2 / Instagram

Martinez, a Mexican-American from Bowie, Texas, started running for Cornell College in 2012 as a freshman. Since then, she’s made a name for herself in the cross country world.

She is really good at what she does.

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Credit: Abrah Masterson / Facebook

A five-time All American for Cornell College, Martinez finished 19th at last year’s Division III NCAA Nationals for cross country. This season, she switched to the steeplechase category and has been killing it.

“I’m currently ranked 13th in steeple for this outdoor season, with only one race under my belt,” she told us via email. “I’m the second fastest returner for steeple, and I’m in the running (haha) for winning the national title at the end of May.”

Get. It.

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Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / Logo / RuPaul’s Drag Race S5 / Giphy

But despite having a legit shot at a national title, Martinez is willing to give that up for the greater good.

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Credit: Sanjuanita Martinez / Facebook

In the last couple of weeks, students at Cornell painted over an anti-immigrant display.

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Credit: Diversity at Cornell College / WordPress

Original message: “Build a wall, make it tall.”

Altered message: “Wall or no wall, we stand tall.”

It wasn’t an isolated incident. Someone also posted this note in a dorm bathroom.

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Credit: Diversity at Cornell College / WordPress

“If I could, I would deport you myself.”

Martinez herself was a witness to this anti-Latino behavior.

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Credit: Superstore / NBC / Superstore / Giphy

She told us that on the night of April 13, students were chalking up the college’s sidewalks with messages that read “Trump 2016,” “weak at the border” and “we have free speech.”

Martinez knew that she had to do something about all the hate being spewed. What she did involved running.

I'm still waiting @ram_athletics @cornellcollege

A photo posted by Sanjuanita Martinez (@therunner26_2) on

Credit: @therunner26_2 / Instagram

By choosing to run as a non-attached athlete, Martinez would essentially be disqualifying herself from competing for the national title. For her, this sacrifice was more than worth it.

“[The] majority of the perpetrators on campus have been male athletes, some of which had already been suspended from their respective programs prior to these incidents,” she explained. “That makes me very uncomfortable not only as an athlete of color, but as a female athlete. Once I started learning who was involved, I saw even more reason for me to take the stance that I did. I feel uncomfortable in a place that I call my home.”

That’s right. She’s put a once-in-a-lifetime dream on the line to take a stand for Latinos.

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Credit: Academy Awards / merseytart / Tumblr

And it’s been working!

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Credit: Cornell College / YouTube

On Monday, Cornell College President Jonathan Brand called an all-campus meeting to address the bigotry.

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Credit: Cornell College / Facebook

But that’s not enough for Martinez, who’s still unsure about repping a school that might not have her back.

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Credit: Wendy Wetzel / Facebook

“I’m 80 percent sure I will run the remainder of the season in my jersey. We will be having another meeting with Brand this Friday and based on what we have heard from faculty and some administrators, change is happening,” Martinez said. “I feel that based off the meeting with Brand, I will then make the ultimate decision of whether to run with the jersey or not for the remainder of the season.”

Cornell College spokesperson Jill Hawk confirmed that the administration had met with Martinez to further discuss the fracas.

“Ms. Martinez has decided that she will be running in her jersey for the remainder of the season,” Hawk said in a written statement.  “Faculty and staff met with Ms. Martinez to discuss her concerns, and they want to do whatever they can to erase any feelings of insecurity for any Cornell College students. We value all of our students and realize that the incidents that occurred last week have had an impact on the entire campus.”

Whether Martinez decides to rock the purple school jersey or not, it’s clear that her actions have started a much needed conversation at her campus.

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Credit: New Girl / Fox / 6panels8octaves / Tumblr

“I’m not naive enough to think that everything will be fixed overnight,” Martinez concluded. “We just want the proper steps to be taken so that change will happen. It will happen either in these last few weeks of the school year and even throughout the next school year, and for years to come.”

READ: Watch a High School Girl Savagely Take Down Her White, Male Teacher’s Idea Of What Racism Is

Share this story with your friend by tapping that share button below and show them that change is possible if you fight for it!

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Touching Tributes To Kobe Bryant Fill Social Media One Year After His Tragic Death

Entertainment

Touching Tributes To Kobe Bryant Fill Social Media One Year After His Tragic Death

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Last year was a wild and often scary time. The world will forever remember 2020 being the year that everything stopped and we all had to isolate. It was also the year that we lost Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash and that death rattled the world.

Last year started with the shocking news of Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash.

John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan, Christina Mauser, Kobe Bryant, and Gianna Bryant all died when a helicopter crashed in the hills near Calabasas. The crash was a shock but TMZ reporting the deaths of Kobe and Gianna without Vanessa being notified angered many. Most of the world learned about Kobe and Gianni’s death because of the TMZ article.

People are remembering the Black Mamba as more than a basketball player.

Fans and friends have shared stories of Kobe and what he has meant to them. Social media is filled with fellow athletes remembering times they spent with Kobe and the kindness and wisdom he gave them in those moments. The basketball player was a legend in the sporting world and became a very important member of the Los Angeles community.

The Dallas Mavericks honored Kobe today in a tweet.

In 2007, Kobe requested a trade to leave the LA Lakers. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, revealed that during that time the Mavericks almost acquired Kobe in a trade. Though Kobe almost went to Chicago, Dallas was in the running to be the next home for the legend.

Kobe was honored throughout the sporting world with some teams retiring his numbers. The sorting world lost a legend and ambassador for athletics that day and his absence is still felt strongly today.

Some people have shared small notes that Kobe sent them.

Kobe always had the reputation of being a thoughtful and kind person. Someone that people were able to connect with professionally and personally. These moments have endeared him to the LA community and why the city mourned his sudden death for months after.

You can check out Kobe with Guillermo in this clip of Guillermo’s NBA Media Day interviews.

Continue to rest in peace, Kobe. You are greatly missed.

READ: People Are Keeping Kobe Bryant Murals Safe

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Ben Affleck Gets Candid About the ‘Racist, Sexist’ Attacks JLo Faced When They Were Together

Entertainment

Ben Affleck Gets Candid About the ‘Racist, Sexist’ Attacks JLo Faced When They Were Together

Photo via Getty Images

Ben Affleck is opening up about the early 2000s when he and Jennifer Lopez were Hollywood’s It Couple. The duo–formerly known by the moniker “Bennifer”–captivated the world with their glamourous and somewhat surprising courtship.

But the relationship eventually unraveled under the intense pressure of public scrutiny.

In a recent podcast appearance, Affleck revealed just how terrible and racially-charged the criticism on their relationship was.

“People were so f–king mean about her,” he said on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. “Sexist, racist, ugly, vicious s–t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying those things you said.”

“At first At first it was like Dick and Liz [Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor], it was this sort of infatuation: ‘What an interesting couple‘. And then there was a ton of resentment. A ton of resentment against me, a ton of resentment against Jennifer.”

He went on to explain that what was so fascinating about the relationship to the general public–namely, how they had such vastly different backgrounds–wasn’t something he thought twice about.

Affleck went on to sing JLo’s praises, saying that she deserves all of the praise and adulation she now receives.

“Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished–as well she f**king should be!” he said.

“She was very much like the kind of girl I went to high school with,” he explained. “It was a very socioeconomically mixed, ethnically mixed place–those kinds of differences that just seem to shock America were meaningless to me.”

“I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50 years old today…just on a pure odds level.”

He concluded: “I never met anyone who worked harder than Jennifer Lopez.” On that, we can definitely agree.

Jennifer Lopez has also been candid about how traumatic the public response was back then to her relationship with Ben Affleck.

“I was eviscerated,” she told Vanity Fair in 2017 about the media coverage of her and Ben’s relationship we well as their much-maligned film, “Gigli”. “I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything. And my relationship [with Affleck] self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again.”

But now, it appears they’re both in happier places. Ben Affleck has two children with his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner and JLo is happily engaged to Alex Rodriguez.

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