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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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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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

Things That Matter

An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

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“Sister, Sister” Actress Tia Mowry Broke Down In Tears Describing A Racist Incident She Experienced As A Teen

CBS Television Distribution

Back in the 90s, Tia and Tamera Mowry were experiencing the height of their fame while on the hit show “Sister, Sister.” The series which followed Tia and Tamera as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell saw two actors play the part of two identical twins separated at birth and then accidentally reunited in their teens. It won several Emmys and Kids’ Choice Awards and cemented itself as essential Black TV. As a result, the twin sisters scored roles on other series, movies, and all kinds of media attention. And not for a lack of racist incidents that attempted to hold them back

Recently, Tia opened up about her experience as a Black teen actor in the 90s and shared a story that clearly still hurts her heart.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Tia shared that she and her sister were once rejected from appearing in a teen magazine cover because of their skin color.

Speaking about the incident, Tia recalled how she’d been subjected to racism when she was a teen on the show and attempting to be on the cover of a popular magazine at the time.

“It was around Sister, Sister days. The show was extremely popular. We were beating — like in the ratings — Friends around that time,” Tia said. “So, my sister and I wanted to be on the cover of this very popular magazine at the time — it was a teenage magazine. We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell.”

The actress teared up as she went onto recall that “Here I am as an adult and, wow, it still affects me, how someone could demean your value because of the color of your skin,” she said. “I will never forget that. I wish I would have spoken up. I wish I would have said something then. I wish I would have had the courage to speak out and say that isn’t right.”

Years later Tia says she has used that moment to drive her in raising her two children.

Tia (who is a mother to Cree, 9, and Cairo, 2) says that “to this day, I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful.”

“What I’ve done with my children is [reading] books,” she explained to People. “You can read incredible books to your children about Rosa Parks, about Martin Luther King Jr. — pivotal people that had a huge impact within the movement.”

“The other thing is through television, especially during this time,” she went onto explain. “I was just having my children watch a whole bunch of [things] that starred a lot of African American actors, and one of them is [TheWiz. You had Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. It was just such a great story. And my son … he loved it, [and] it’s important.”

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