Things That Matter

These Muslim Latinos Practice Their Faith At The Only Spanish Speaking Mosque In The Country

ISLAM IN SPANISH / FACEBOOK / ISLAM IN SPANISH TV / YOUTUBE

Located on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, Centro Islámico is a mosque unlike any others in the United States. Thanks to its largely Latino congregation, services at the mosque are conducted in Spanish. As the Los Angeles Times points out, both Muslims and Latinos have faced harsh political and religious scrutiny in the past, and this is why Houston’s Latino Muslim community has only further embraced their faith. Members of the mosque share stories about receiving the “stink-eye” from strangers, and they share their fears of the future. But they also turn to their faith to find the positive, seeing the negatives they face today as a chance to thrive.

As Bolivian Susan Barrientos told the Los Angeles Times, “For us, I think it’s helpful because it really changes your behavior in public because you want to represent Islam in the most positive way.”

The Los Angeles Times has just written an article that really captures both the highs and lows the members of Centro Islámico have faced since President Trump has come into office. As bad as it is today, they remember, it has been worse in the past.

Watch our mini-doc on Centro Islámico:

This is what it is like to be Muslim and Latino.

Posted by We are mitú on Friday, July 1, 2016

[MORE] At the nation’s only Latino mosque, Trump’s immigration policies have ‘changed everything’

READ: Meet the Only Indigenous Mexican Tribe to Convert to Islam

Beto O’Rourke Campaign Launches Spanish-Langauge Twitter Account To Reach The Larger Latino Community

Things That Matter

Beto O’Rourke Campaign Launches Spanish-Langauge Twitter Account To Reach The Larger Latino Community

betoorourke / Instagram

The 2020 presidential campaigns are in full swing and the candidates are all trying to reach as many voters as possible. In that attempt, the Beto O’Rourke campaign has launched a Spanish-language Twitter account. The account, called Beto en español, is brand new and will be live-tweeting O’Rourke’s participation in the Democratic presidential debates tomorrow. Here’s why the O’Rourke campaign decided to address the Spanish speaking community via social media.

Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is using his platform to reach out to Spanish-speaking voters.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“Beto is committed to going everywhere and talking to everyone, even when their native language is not English,” Claudia Tristán, the director of Latinx messaging for the O’Rourke campaign tells mitú. “He learned Spanish in his native El Paso, a community on the U.S.-Mexico border where many residents are bilingual. As an elected official representing the border, he has always used Spanish to communicate with his constituents, regularly holding town halls, taking questions in both English and Spanish.”

Tristán explains that O’Rourke wants to use the same strategy of his political career to give attention and information to the Spanish-speaking community.

The attacks on the Latino community, both through rhetoric from the Trump administration and the shooting in El Paso, solidified the importance of the campaign to address Spanish-speaking constituents.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“As a native of El Paso, part of the largest bi-national community in the Western Hemisphere, reaching out to and standing up for the Latinx community has been a top priority for Beto throughout his campaign,” Tristán says. “On the trail, he has prioritized meeting with Latinx voters, engaging with Latinx media and is boldly speaking out against the discriminatory attacks President Trump has waged against the Latinx community.  This Twitter account is an extension of Beto’s in-person Spanish-language outreach to voters.”

There are more than 40 million Spanish-speakers living in the U.S. Many of the younger generations are bilingual with parents who rely predominately on Spanish to communicate.

Tristán admits that O’Rourke using Spanish in his speeches is important to her and her family.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“I know for my mom and abuelita it really resonated for them when they heard Beto express solidarity with the community, in their preferred language, that means something,” Tristán recalls after the El Paso shooting. “That is incredibly profound.”

@BetoParaTodos is going to be part of a larger push to utilize O’Rourke’s Spanish to communicate with voters.

“Beto understands that it is an important part in communicating with this vastly diverse community,” Tristán explains. She adds: “Establishing this online communication channel allows Beto and the campaign to regularly and consistently have interactions with voters in Spanish.”

Tristán highlights the candidate’s upbringing in the bilingual and multiracial community of El Paso as shaping his policies and campaign tactics.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

O’Rourke grew up in El Paso surrounded by immigrants and eventually went on to represent the community in Congress. His outlook on the world and the future of the country have been influenced and shaped by his experience living in and representing a large and vibrant immigrant community.

“In the wake of one of the deadliest attacks on the Latinx community where hate was brought into his hometown, Beto has redoubled his efforts to call out the hateful, racist rhetoric of Donald Trump, has reinforced his commitment to visiting with people targeted by Trump’s harmful policies, will continue to uplift them and tell their stories,” Tristán says.

As a candidate for the office of President of the United States, O’Rourke wants to uplift the stories of those he has fought for.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“Beto is committed to engaging with the Latinx community in a meaningful way: to listen and show up for them, and demonstrate solidarity at a time where they feel hunted and afraid,” Tristán says. “Beto is not only boldly speaking out against Donald Trump and his racist policies targeting the Latinx community, but is also reaching out to Latinx voters to better address their needs and concerns on a range of issues and in a meaningful way that moves this country forward.”

READ: After The Shooting In El Paso, Beto O’Rourke Calls On Media To Call Out Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric

AOC Opened Up To Users On Twitter About Struggling To Speak Spanish Fluently And The Support She Received Is Inspiring

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AOC Opened Up To Users On Twitter About Struggling To Speak Spanish Fluently And The Support She Received Is Inspiring

Despite popular beliefs, not everyone who is Latino or of Latino descent speaks or understands Spanish. You can take a look at some of the most prominent faces in our community as an example of this. Selena Quintanilla sang her songs in Spanish but didn’t really grasp the language until later in her short life. Actors and singers like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Mark Consuelos and even Eva Longoria have said that the language is not one they are able to speak fluently. Even Presidential hopeful Julian Castro has admitted to not knowing it fluently.

Recently, in a conversation with Univision Nueva York, U.S. Senate superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted that for her, Spanish is an ongoing muscle she has to train.

On Thursday evening, the Congresswoman posted about speaking Spanish during a Univision Nueva York interview about the Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez frequently uses Spanish in her interactions with the public. While her handle of the language seems pretty alright by us, it was clear in the comment section of her post that the topic she brought up with controversial.

Many users were quick to praise AOC for highlighting the issue.

After all, Spanish is a language that is used by 13 percent of the country. That’s a pretty big group. Moreover, with so many migrants coming to the U.S. each year (not all being Spanish speakers or Latin American immigrants BTW) there is value in ensuring we allow other cultures to grow and flourish in this country as well. Diversity can only make us better.

Of course, that’s not the only thing that sparked conversation.

AOC’s use of the term Latinx really sent some people into a tizzy.

The term Latinx, while appreciated by many in the Latin American community, has proved to be controversial for others in recent years. Backlash over the term primarily occurs because of its suggested push for “political correctness.” And to that, we say: is there really anything wrong with trying to be inclusive?

Of course, many were quick to support and encourage AOC on fine-tuning her Spanish.

After all, not only are we not all perfect, studies have shown that practicing and learning new languages helps with brain function and understanding of other cultures. What’s more, when it comes to Spanish, more and more people are learning the language. According to the U.S. census, our country is home to 41 million native Spanish speakers. That’s 13% of the population.

AOC word’s clearly struck a chord with her audience.

So if you’re learning Spanish, don’t know it yet but want to learn, or are just working the muscle of the language, keep up the hard work. Being smart and educated takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it.