politics

Meet 8-Year-Old Latina Immigration Activist Sophie Cruz Who Is Changing The Conversation On Immigrant Rights

It’s a scary time right now for immigrants in the U.S., and nobody feels that more profoundly than 8-year-old Sophie Cruz, daughter of undocumented parents.

You’ve probably already heard of her from when she made international headlines when she handed the Pope a heartbreaking letter entrenched in her fear of ICE. She was just five years old then. Latina girls may just change the world.

Sophie Cruz is an American citizen of Oaxacan heritage.

@JuanSaaa / Twitter

Her parents came to the U.S. without documentation from Oaxaca, Mexico. She has a little sister, who, in the photos, hilariously seems pretty stoic about her hermana’s stage presence.

It all started on September 23, 2015, when she made it past the barricades to get to Pope Francis.

@tkbcinhayward / Twitter

She was desperate to hand him a letter to beg for help for her undocumented parents. He stopped the parade to give her a blessing and a hug.

They are why she was so desperate to make it past what the NYT called “one of the largest mobilizations of security officers in American history.”

@paolamendoza / Twitter

They had all traveled from Los Angeles to see the pope with an immigration activist group called the Catholic Delegation for Reform.

Security eventually stopped her but the Pope saw her run out from the crowd and invited her to come closer.

@yatzirizepeda / Twitter

Her courage and determination didn’t happen on a whim. She truly hoped to meet the Pope to ask for his help.

“Pope Francis, I want to tell you that my heart is very sad, because I’m scared that one day ICE is going to deport my parents.”

@fforrfeminism / Instagram

The letter she eloquently shared with the Pope goes on to say, “I have a right to live with my parents. I have a right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing metals. Immigrants like my dad feed this country. They therefore deserve to live with dignity, they deserve to be respected, they deserve immigration reform, because it would be beneficial to my country, and because they have earned it working very hard, picking oranges, onions, watermelons, spinach, lettuce, and many other vegetables.”

Oh and also, she wrote:

“Don’t forget about us the children…”

@latinaspoderosas / Instagram

“Don’t forget about us the children, or about those who suffer because they’re not with their parents because of war, because of violence, because of hunger.”

She even gave the Pope this muy bella drawing.

@ngjennings / Twitter

That super colorful dress and girl with the braids is how Sophie Cruz sees herself. Nos encanta.

The next day, the Pope brought up the issue with Congress.

@votolatino / Twitter

He had a joint meeting scheduled the next day with the United States Congress, and he took the opportunity to encourage more openness for immigrants and refugees. Five-year-old Sophie Cruz changed the Pope’s agenda.

The next year, she was invited to speak at the Washington Women’s March.

@MurielBowser / Twitter

At this point, she was just 6 years old and speaking in front of tens of thousands of people. 🤭She began with this touching moment, “We are here together, making a chain of love to protect our families. Let us fight with love, faith, and courage so that our families will not be destroyed.”

She gave her speech in both English and Spanish. 😭

@Weasal / Twitter

She went on to say, “I also want to tell the children not to be afraid because we are not alone. There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love and tender to snuggle in this path of life.”

“Let’s keep together and fight for our rights. God is with us.”

@MurielBowser / Twitter

When she started speaking in Spanish, her mom just straight up started weeping.

Cruz became the face of DAPA, and sat in Supreme Court hearings to consider protections for parents.

@paolamendoza / Twitter

Beforehand, she spoke in front of five thousand immigrants, families and supporters in front of the Supreme Court. That said, her prominence has meant that she’s had to do a lot of this without her parents.

She met with President Obama and Joe Biden.

@LaCasaBlanca44 / Twitter

Her parents couldn’t pass background checks to enter the White House because of their status, so she went with documentary filmmaker Paola Mendoza. When Cruz isn’t speaking into a microphone to advocate for immigrants, she’s subtly wearing mariposas on her meet-POTUS dress in homage to migrants.

In October 2016, she submitted a question for the Presidential debate.

@elisafayemakes / Twitter

The question read, “If you deport my parents, what happens to me? I am 6 years old and an American citizen. I have a 3-year-old sister who is also an American. My heart is very sad, because I’m scared that ICE is going to deport my undocumented mommy and daddy.”

The question was not aired.

Even though she’s more than a decade away from being able to vote, she wants you to get the vote out.

@CalEndow / Twitter

Also, we must comment on her repping Oaxacan indigenous clothing in the cutest possible way, always.

Cruz has become a political icon for immigration activists.

@marimansfield / Instagram

And there is a ton of artwork on the Internet to prove it. She’s the muse for hope for change.

The San Jose Museum of Art recently created a mural in her honor in October 2018.

@sjmusart / Twitter

Caption: “The #SophieCruz mural of hope is already inspiring our community members. Stop by @PurpleMuseum to check its progress.”

Define American named her “Activist of the Year” in 2018.

@DefineAmerican / Twitter

Caption: “Sophie Cruz is our Activist of the Year for her advocacy for undocumented families.” Get it, girl!

The county of Los Angeles has even awarded her for her activism.

@HildaSolis / Twitter

Politician Hilda Solis invited Cruz to share her message in front of the County Board of Supervisors. Cruz deserves all these awards and more.

What Cruz really deserves is to feel like her family is safe.

@DavidCamposSF / Twitter

And while her parents have not been deported, likely due to the public outcry at this point, they could be legally deported at any time. Sophie needs us all to dig deep past the exhaustion and hopelessness and unearth a passion like hers to create a safer future for all our kids.

Thank you, Sophie. You’re our hero.

READ: Sophie Cruz’s Mom Wiping Her Tears As She Watched Her 6 Year Old Speak At The Women’s March Is All Of Us

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It's Only March And We've Already Seen Several Racist Moments Against Latinos Go Viral

politics

It’s Only March And We’ve Already Seen Several Racist Moments Against Latinos Go Viral

We’re not even three months into 2019 and we’ve already seen multiple examples of racism against Latinos go viral. Latinos continue to be fired from their jobs or harassed in public simply for speaking Spanish. The first ICE raid of a large employer in over ten years forever changed 100 immigrant lives. Despite Democratic control of the House, the federal government continues to expand ICE’s reach.

The 2020 presidential campaign season is underway. So many of us are looking to our politicians to change their rhetoric and put the safety of all Americans are the forefront. Here are the examples of racism our community has already experienced this year.

The latest example is that of a woman being harassed at a Walmart for speaking Spanish.

Credit: Dulce Nereyda / Facebook

According to the video, Nereyda was at Walmart and was speaking Spanish with her mother. That’s when this man spoke up and told her that she needed to stop speaking Spanish because she was in the U.S. Newsflash, viejito, English is not the official language of this country and, in fact, English is the language forced on the country by European colonizers. If you really want to show respect to this country, maybe start by learning it’s history before you tell people you can’t wait for Trump to use your tax dollars to build the border wall.

This lady swore at a manager at a Mexican restaurant in West Virginia for speaking Spanish.

Irma Dleon / Facebook

On February 16, a woman identified as Jill was recorded yelling at the manager of the Mexican restaurant she was patroning, saying, “English is our first language, so you need to speak English. Get the f*ck out of my country.” Several people came to the defense of the manager, who offered to pay for their food if they would leave. On her way out, Jill threw something at him and kept repeating, “illegal aliens raped me.”

POTUS giving the locos good material since 2016 apparently.

This line cook was fired after ten years of service for speaking Spanish.

“Image: Francisca Perez” Digital Image. NBC News. 5 March 2019.

Argentine Francisca Pérez was just telling (in Spanish) recently hired waitress Janet Ruelas-Nava that a dish was ready at Osteria Fasula in Davis, California, when the owner, Leonardo Fasula, fired her. Fasula became incensed when she accused him of discriminating against Mexicans and asked her if she wanted him to put burritos on the menu. “This is America. We speak English here,” he said.

This all happened in front of her son, who was just dropped off after the end of her shift.

@dimples_32 / Instagram

Later on, she said that he cried and told her, “I don’t know if he was saying that to you or to me.” The Center for Workers’ Rights in Sacramento has filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Pérez’ behalf.

Oh, and Donald Trump demanded FEMA give tornado victims in Alabama “A Plus treatment,” but Puerto Rico heard something different.

@realdonaldtrump / Twitter

Meanwhile, while Puerto Rico was literally under water, he explicitly compared the territory to other states, “We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!”

Yeah, you got an F on that one.

His favoritism for a red state over fire-ravaged California and brown Puerto Rico didn’t go unnoticed.

@chelseahandler / Twitter

Puerto Rico means nothing to him since the U.S. takes Puerto Rican money without offering the right to vote in federal elections. People were also out here tweeting that Alabama should stop “mismanaging their air,” as a jab to Trump’s ignorance around the California wildfires.

Trump declared a national emergency in February to divert tax dollars from different departments to fund his useless border wall.

Credit: @RepJimmyGomez / Twitter

Trump himself admitted, “I didn’t need to do this,” but that it would build his wall faster. This is a POTUS subverting American tax dollars and his own power to propel his 2020 campaign. Basura. He’s creating all the crises at the border and we know it.

In March, the GOP and 26 Democrats voted to expand Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) reach.

Credit: @icegov / Instagram

AOC’s fury is all to relatable in this tweet: “Where was the concern last week when 26 Dems voted for a GOP amendment to expand ICE powers rooted in the racist + false trope that Latino immigrants are more dangerous than US born citizens?”

Which means more money and second chances for North Carolina Sheriff Terry Johnson to harass Latino residents.

@WFMY / Twitter

In 2012, The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against Johnson for systematically and unlawfully targeting Latino residents at traffic stops, interrogation and seizures. ICE cut ties with him for discriminatory policing.

In January, ICE approved $2.8 million budget increase for staffing and upgrades at Sheriff Johnson’s county detention facilit to hold immigrants for ICE. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

The New York Times revealed systemic shortfalls in health care provided by Border Patrol.

@nytimes / Twitter

After two children died in Border Patrol custody in December 2018, The New York Times did a deep dive into negligence by Border Patrol. Migrants are often arriving with serious injuries and BP is not equipped to handle the crises coming in. Instead of funding medical care to save lives, the GOP wants to fund a wall.

This ICE facility detained a 24-year-old pregnant woman and four days later she prematurely gave birth to her stillborn baby.

@ncardenastx / Twitter

ICE isn’t even reporting it as an “in-custody death” because the baby was stillborn. Last year, Trump announced it would change the release policy for pregnant women and instead detain them, knowing the detention centers don’t have proper medical resources to care for expectant mothers.

This same facility is now holding this 72-year-old abuelito with Alzheimer’s in solitary confinement.

@RAICESTEXAS / Twitter

The family says that every time they speak with Noe, he’s even more confused, and keeps thinking he’s getting out the next day. The family petitioned to have him fight the case outside of the detention center. They offered to put him in solitary confinement. He also has cancer and diabetes. Basta.

You can call 956-547-1700 right now and demand they release Noe De La Cruz.

@RAICESTEXAS / Twitter

RAICES Texas is petitioning us all to fight for Noe.

Caption: “Stay on the line and tell the operator we are calling to demand that Noe De La Cruz (A035302758) gets released!

Solitary confinement is not a substitute for true medical care.”

As of March 6, 200 people detained in Texas immigration centers have the mumps.

@newsweek / Twitter

Why? Because as The New York Times reported, migrants are not being given even the basic medical care as they arrive. Migrants have said they were left alone in concrete cells with broken bones. Mumps is a highly contagious virus when not vaccinated against and the booming immigrant detention industry maximizes profit by sardining the tired and weary.

Four U.S. women were sentenced to 15 months probation for leaving food and water for migrants walking through the desert.

@ajplus / Twitter

If you try to do America’s job and keep people on our soil alive, you get a record. If the migrants were Canadians or Israelis, these women would have received an award. Nope. Morality doesn’t lie in the laws.

The U.S. is now forcing asylum seekers in lethal danger to wait out their court hearings on Mexican soil, further endangering their lives.

@FosteringGlos / Twitter

The ACLU reports that one Honduran woman who fled after her suegro threatened to kill her for being a lesbian is forced to wait her claim in Mexico, without any assistance. Honduras offers no LGBT protections. She’ll have to show up to the border on days of her court hearings, be granted no interpreter, lawyer, or opportunity to appeal.

After North Carolinians voted to end ICE cooperation, ICE retaliated with a 5 day spree.

@thehill / Twitter

North Carolina recently held local elections that put new Sheriffs on the maps—Sheriffs that publicly vowed to end ICE cooperation. Starting February 5, ICE targeted those specific three counties and detained more than 200 immigrants. The ICE Field Office Director even went on to say that if local police cooperated with ICE, you would have less people getting detained.

An advocacy group filed suit against ICE for their raid of a Tennessee meat processing factory.

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) / Facebook

In April 2018, ICE raided and detained 100 Latino workers, while dismissing the white workers without question. Six workers were deported, twelve left the country voluntarily, five are still in custody and forty have been released on bond. We’re rooting for The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the law firm of Sherrard, Roe, Voigt & Harbison.

In mildly brighter news, this woman was finally sentenced for attacking this 91 year old abuelito.

foxnews.com / reddit.com

Remember this 91 year old abuelito who was just visiting his family from Michoacán, Mexico? His attacker, Laquisha Jones, has been sentenced to 15 years for elder abuse.

Remember this U.S. Border Patrol Agent who detained these two moms for speaking Spanish in Montana last year?

NBC News

Martha Hernandez and Ana Suda were detained for 40 minutes on May 16, 2018 simply for speaking Spanish. They were both born in the U.S. and are citizens.

The ACLU has since filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government and the Agent O’Neal for detaining them on the basis of race.

Brooke Swaney / ACLU of Montana via AP file

The ACLU’s statement reveals that, even though the women have lived in Montana for years, they’ve since been “shunned and harassed by other town residents.” Suda has even said now her own hija is afraid to speak Spanish.

READ: [VIDEO] This Latino Captured Racist Assault Of Subway Rider On Video, Then Detained Her Until Police Showed Up