Things That Matter

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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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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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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“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!

The General Manager Of A Pro Softball Team Used Players To Promote Trump’s Anti-Black Lives Matter Message So The Entire Team Walked

Entertainment

The General Manager Of A Pro Softball Team Used Players To Promote Trump’s Anti-Black Lives Matter Message So The Entire Team Walked

bl26softball / Instagram

This week, the pro women’s softball league held its first game in Melbourne, Florida. Soon after the game finished, every member of the Texas-based team called the Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, quit. The reason? The team’s general manager Connie May tweeted a picture of the players standing during the national anthem and tagged Donald Trump.

The women players decided that they’d had it.

In a post shared with Donald Trump on Twitter, May indicated that the members of his softball team are opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to the New York Times, the team received numerous texts and notifications of the post once they’d finished their game and returned to their locker room. The image was posted without their knowledge or consent and clearly used by May to promote a political message. The woman say that their standing for the flag has nothing to do with their political views.

Speaking about the incident, The Undefeated reports that “When May was brought into the locker room following the game, players expected an explanation.” May instead attempted to justify her post and at some point said “All Lives Matter.” Having heard enough one of the team’s members Kiki Stokes walked out. Soon after the rest of the team (which has only two Black members) followed. Kelsey Stewart, one of the Black players, was not at the game as wrote her teammates with a screenshot of the tweet saying “I am not going to ever be a part of this organization whatsoever.”

Fortunately, the softball team backed Stewart and Stokes.

“Moments later, her teammates took off their jerseys and followed her,” The Undefeated reports. “Every player in the locker room was done after that moment. They would no longer play for May or the Scrap Yard organization.”

Speaking to the New York Times, Cat Osterman a member the team said “The more we talked about it, the angrier I got, and I finally just said, ‘I’m done, I’m not going to wear this jersey. We were used as pawns in a political post, and that’s not OK.”

In a show of solidarity, USSSA Pride (who played against Scrap Yard Dawgs in Monday’s game) suspended the rest of their planned games.

The two teams were on each other’s schedules which means USSSA is likely refusing to win by default.

No doubt it’s pretty powerful these women decided to quit their jobs to stand with Black Lives Matter and their Black teammates. Speaking about the incident Natasha Watley, the first Black player to play with USA Softball at the Olympics called the move “powerful.” “Not one of them stood back and said this doesn’t really affect me, I’d rather play,” she said adding “We’re already getting paid pennies and now we’re going to get paid nothing to stand up for this. That’s how much it matters.”

‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ Strike Again: White Couple Blocks Latino Man From His Own Apartment Building

Things That Matter

‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ Strike Again: White Couple Blocks Latino Man From His Own Apartment Building

SOMA Residences

Another day and another white person – or in this case, a white couple – have terrorized a person of color and gone viral in the process. Many are calling this white couple ‘Ken’ and ‘Karen’ after video shows them blocking a Latino man from entering his own apartment complex.

Michael Barajas, the Mexican-American man who the couple targeted, filmed the incident just as the couple became violent and threatened him with further violence.

The encounter is just the latest after a barrage of similar instances of racial profiling that have continued over the backdrop of anti-racism protests. 

A now viral video shows a white couple blocking a Mexican-American man from entering his own apartment complex.

Michael Barajas was pulling into his apartment complex’s garage in San Francisco, when he became the latest victim of a ‘Karen’ and ‘Ken.’ He had just returned home from grocery shopping and used his key fob to open the building’s garage door when suddenly a white SUV pulled in ahead of him and refused to move forward.

The couple in the white SUV claimed Barajas was trespassing, called him a criminal and threatened to call the police.

“That’s fine. Call the cops. Why are you even calling the cops about, Karen?” the video shows Barajas responding.

In an Instagram post, Barajas said the white man “thought I was trying to tailgate them to break in and rob them.” One of Barajas’ neighbors, who is also white, was outside smoking and intervened in the situation. The driver then got out of a white SUV with Florida plates, beat the neighbor up, “and threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave,” said Barajas.

Barajas says he started filming the incident once the couple got aggressive and threatening.

Barajas, 28, told NBC’s Bay Area affiliate KNTV that the situation kept escalating and turned dramatic when the white man in the car got aggressive, which prompted him to start recording.

“Given the current political climate, and certainly I’m Mexican American, and that rhetoric of us being criminals, it just hit hard, it hit close to home,” Barajas told KNTV.

After several minutes, a bystander who also lives in the apartment complex, intervened. “Dude, pull into your space or go!” the bystander said.

The man, who has since been identified as William Beasley, then exits the SUV from the passenger side, confronts the person who hit his car and reportedly assaults him by knocking him to the ground, according to ABC7 News

According to Barajas, the woman in the SUV then got out to try and coax Beasley back into the car. She also allegedly tried to pay Barajas and the neighbor (who had been assaulted) to not call the cops or file charges.

Since the video’s release, the white man – William Beasley – has been fired from his tech job.

Barajas shared the video of the incident to his Instagram, where it has been seen more than 150,000 times.

Since the video was uploaded, APEX Systems, where Beasley was an employee, has fired him after conducting an internal review of the incident. In a brief statement, they said they would not “tolerate violent or racist behavior of any kind.”

And the apartment complex where the encounter took place, SOMA Residences, said in a statement that they’re ‘actively working to resolve’ the incident and do not condone ‘violent acts, aggression toward any residents, discrimination and harassment.’

Barajas said he’s satisfied with the outcome and feels inspired to keep speaking out on behalf of minorities.

Credit: Michael Barajas / Facebook

From his apartment complex to the bystander who intervened on his behalf, Barajas said he’s grateful for the response he’s received and for how far he’s been able to come in life.

“I’ve always been from a really poor, poor immigrant family, so I think what happened just struck very hard for me. I felt, for me, that I do not belong here,” he said in a now-deleted Instagram post.

In the same post, he questions what would have happened had this happened to an undocumented person and didn’t know how to handle the situation? It’s a very good point that will cause many people to pause and re-examine how they react to situations like this one.