Things That Matter

This Latina Is Running For Congress To Represent Her ‘Hood

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

When Xavier Becerra was nominated to become California’s next attorney general, he vacated the seat for California’s 34th Congressional District. Upon hearing the news, Wendy Carrillo, a former writer for The Flama and radio host who lives in the district, hoped the seat would be filled by someone who understood her community. So she decided to run for Congress.

The El Salvador-born, Los Angeles-raised Latina is taking a gamble and running for Becerra’s former 34th Congressional District seat. mitú caught up with Carrillo and talked to her about why she decided to pursue public service.

Wendy Carrillo is a Latina taking a chance to represent her community.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I’m motivated by the fact that I believe that we’re in a very pivotal moment in our country’s history in which we need fighters in Washington,” Carrillo told mitú about her run for Congress. “We need people that are completely, 100 percent unafraid to be vocal and be progressive and to bring perspectives that are often ignored in D.C. Being from the district, being an advocate and someone that’s been on the frontline of several movements, I feel like it’s time to step up.”

Carrillo, who once hosted a talk show on Los Angeles radio station Power 106, is doing things a little differently than most politicians.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I have a lot of ideas that are out-of-the-box,” Carrillo says with a laugh about her campaign. “I want to get local radio stations involved in hosting house parties and having fun while we do this. I think, ultimately, it’s about issues and what’s important to you and what’s important to your family. The message that I want to say is that my story is not unique. It’s a story of struggle and survival but it’s also a story that a lot of families are facing.”

Carrillo says running for Becerra’s vacated seat was a pretty simple decision.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I think the district looks like me. I think it looks young; it looks millennial; it looks smart and educated; it looks like it has its own history,” Carrillo told mitú. “So how does a refugee child from El Salvador escaping war become a leader in her community with a graduate degree that’s going to run for office? That only happens here. I’m a homeowner. I’m in the district. I’ve lived in the district. It’s been my stomping ground since I was a little girl. I have lived in every part of the district. It’s literally my place where I work and play.”

So, how does she plan on fighting for her district on Capitol Hill? Simple: “It starts with being vocal and being unafraid.”

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“If I am fortunate and the voters elect me to represent them, that’s the kind of vision that I want to take to Washington. I think it’s important to be unafraid. I think it’s important to use new tools, to be on social media,” Carrillo said. “Things need to change and they only change by having an infusion of new people that have new ideas…. Washington is a place that’s stuck in time. We need people to go in there and shake it up.”

And she is modeling her own approach to politics to that of DREAMers.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

“I give them 100 percent kudos for changing the narrative through which we looked at the DREAM Act way back in the day when nobody was looking at the DREAM Act,” Carrillo recalled. “The DREAM Act was supposed to pass in 2001 and then 9/11 happened and the country got scared of anybody that was an outsider. The DREAM Act, which would have helped millions of young people in this country, was put on hold.”

As an unconventional politician, Carrillo is open and honest about understanding the frustrations of her constituency.

Wendy Carrillo / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo / Facebook

“I think that we, as a country, need to have a huge overhaul of the electoral process. I would urge our young Latinos and our young people to get involved with the party and fix it from the inside out and demand, as a party, that we start having real discussion to eliminate the Electoral College,” Carrillo told mitú. “If the election would have been counted by the popular vote, then Secretary Clinton would be our president. I would also say that it’s not always about a presidential race. There are many local races to get involved in that have a lot of local impact. We tend to look at it like having to vote on a presidential election and having to vote to make a difference, and it does. The voting and actual direct impact comes from the community.”

“I believe I am the candidate that can represent the whole district,” Carrillo said.

Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook
CREDIT: Wendy Carrillo for Congress / Facebook

Carrillo added: “People should vote for me because they believe in the ideals that America has the opportunity to be the country of what can be and what should be.”


READ: Why The NoDAPL Movement Has A Deeper Meaning For Me As An Afro-Indigenous Caribbean Latina

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It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

Things That Matter

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

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The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

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