Things That Matter

11 People Told Us Why They Went To The Day Without A Woman Rally In Los Angeles

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

A Day Without A Woman protests took place all over the country on March 8. Mitú was in downtown Los Angeles to talk to protesters to find out why they were there and what woman inspired them the most in life. Here is what they told us.

Carlos Heredia, 34

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“[I’m here] because I grew up watching my mom be beat up and my sisters taken advantage of because they’re women. Us as men need to stand up and protect women,” Heredia told mitú.

He added: “My mom [inspires me the most] because no matter what hardship she went through she is an example of strength and a mother’s love. Whether it was washing tables or cleaning up somebody else’s feces, she worked hard so her kids could have. I’ve seen her go nights without sleeping just so her children can have.”

Wendy Carrillo, 36, Congressional Candidate

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m here today because it is International Women’s Day and also A Day Without A Woman and I think now more than ever women need to stand up against an administration that cares very little about women’s rights or immigrants or LGBTQ folks or refugees. So, this is a moment when we take our place in history,” Carrillo told mitú.

“My mother inspires me the most,” Carrillo continued. “She is courageous and powerful and unapologetic and it is only through my own growing up and becoming a woman myself that I;m able to recognize her struggle and sacrifice that she did when she was much younger than what I a now.”

Veronica Peña, 36

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m her because I’m a woman and I feel like there is so much work that needs to be done. I’m looking at my daughter and I want her to have more than I have I want her to live with the same rights, the same energy and the same authority that men have in this country. I want her to think nothing less of herself and until then I will keep fighting,” Peña told mitú.

“I would have to say there is actually a group of women,” Peña added. “I just moved her from Chicago and I played with Diesel Daisies and these women have been through the sixties and seventies and the eighties and they have imparted in me the courage and the responsibility and as lesbian, as a mother, as a woman to continue this fight. I would have never felt this drive to fight if it wasn’t for these women who’ve been fighting for decades and decades.”

Maria Jose Jimenez, 18

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I just feel like it’s important for women to empower each other, especially right now after what happened with the election and all the immigration issues that are going on. Women are more afraid to speak up so I feel like this day is important just to let them know that we’re here and we’re supporting each other. It’s just an important day,” Jose Jimenez told mitú.

“I would say my mom,” Jose Jimenez continued while pointing to her mom. “My mom is really tough. She’s always supporting me in what I want to do. If I have a crazy idea she says, ‘Do it.’ She’s never said no or set a limit to me so I feel like that important and that we should all have that mind set that we can do anything.”

Diana Lopez, 44

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m here to support my hermanas. Following in the spirit of adelitas, I’m trying to use my freedom of being a woman born in this country to help and represent the women around the world come up, find equality, have their voices heard on every and any level. What I would want to share with all my hermanas is to help each other no matter how big or how small. Whether you have power or the finances to back the campaign or contribute or just mentoring someone at work or teaching your daughters that they are powerful and mighty,” Lopez told mitú.

“My mother grew up in a time where women were really pushed to the side and weren’t really allowed to speak up, especially in our culture. She resisted and she persevered and she raised my sisters and me to have the force within us and not let anyone push us aside.”

Adrian Lopez, 17

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m here because I want to be that person that can give a voice to all the people that are oppressed by the society that we are living in today. I’m here for my sisters and y mom because my mom is an immigrant and came here for a better life and thanks to that I’m living a life that allows me to give a voice to the people who don’t have one,” Lopez told mitú.

“I feel like I speak for everyone when I say that our mother’s were there for us. They gave birth to us and literally gave us our lives,” Lopez continued. “Thanks to that, I want to be here to support her and give her her rights. She works day and night but she doesn’t get equal pay and I want that for her.”

Valeria Dimas, 34

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I think it is important that we strive to keep the rights that women have fought for. Our right to vote, Planned Parenthood, the right to free choice of our body, the right to equal pay. I’m here today to keep the movement going because I want my god-children to be raised in a world where they can do anything and be anything and their rights are still there,” Dimas told mitú.

Dimas added: “The women of my family. I come from a line of strong Latina women who fought for their own rights in their families. They didn’t want to be married off and they fought to marry who they wanted to marry and they came to America and fought for their families here. They are the strongest ones of our family.”

Kristina Garcia, 26

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m here because I feel like it’s time to kind of show everyone that we’re serious and we need to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, we live in a time where, because we’re women, we’re seen as lesser than or incapable of certain things that others have just because they are male. I think it is time we stand up and band together and really make a statement about how we feel, what we deserve, and just not put up with it anymore. I just want equality. I don’t expect to be treated better or easier than a male. I just want to be treated the same,” Garcia told mitú.

“I’m inspired by the women that work at Planned Parenthood because I know what they deal with,” Garcia told mitú. “I see the hate and the judgement they face and, not just the people that work there, but the people who use their services and have to cross this picket lines. The fact the Planned Parenthood has to engage in volunteers just to escort people into their buildings just to use the services is just ridiculous.”

Leslye Lopez, 23

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I am here because I want to stand up for my first-graders who are immigrant kids from immigrant families. I want to stand up for all the teachers and all the women who are unrepresented. For LGBTQ people and also, of course, women,” Lopez, who was there with her sister told mitú.

“Honestly, I would say the people I work with simply because they are underpaid and overworked and I see the struggles they have to face,” Lopez said. “They’re not getting what they need but they are still there and that’s why I’m here.”

Jacqueline Lopez, 20

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m here because women are being treated unfairly. I feel that women have to fight against the wage gap. I am also trying to be a teacher so I am here for the future,” Lopez, Leslye’s sister, told mitú.

“I would say my mom because she is an immigrant and she has done so much for us and I feel like immigrants need to be represented more.”

Bianca Peralta, 23

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
CREDIT: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone

“I’m here to protest for equality. I am also here to protest for the #FreeTheNipple campaign. I don’t think it’s fair that men can go jog with their shirts off and a woman can’t breastfeed in public because it looks terrible. I’m here to promote that. I’m here for equality. I feel like after so many years that it’s time and I feel like we shouldn’t go down just because of Trump. I feel like we should band together and stay strong,” Peralta, with her brother Alexander, told mitú.

“Rosa Parks is very inspiring to me. Not only because she was a woman of color but because she was one of the first women to stand up to everybody. I feel like that is something courageous for her to do and I support that.”


READ: 11 Powerful Reasons Why People Protested For Immigrant Rights In Los Angeles This Weekend

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An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

Things That Matter

An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

José Flores Velázquez / Facebook

In cities across the US, people continue to die due to senseless gun violence. Los Angeles is no stranger to shootouts and, unfortunately, three more people fell victim to gun fire on Wednesday – leaving two of them dead and their friends and family in mourning. 

The shooting spree took place in South Los Angeles and one of the victims has been identified as a talented scholar full of big dreams. 

Gun violence has struck again in Los Angeles, killing two and injuring a third.

Two men were killed and another injured  in a drive-by shooting into a vehicle in South LA.

When police arrived at the scene, they found two men with multiple gunshot wounds. One of the men was pronounced dead at the scene. The second was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A third man, suffering from a single gunshot wound, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Investigators said the two deceased victims were standing outside of a parked car when the suspect’s vehicle drove up and a passenger opened fire, striking both men. The suspect shot the third victim a short distance away as the suspects fled the scene. 

Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.

One of the victims was Jose Flores Velazquez who was working towards his doctorate at UC Irvine.

Distraught family members who arrived at the scene told KTLA the man who died there was Jose Flores. He and the second man killed, Alfredo Carrera, grew up together six houses apart on the street where they were shot.

Carrera, meanwhile, was about to become a first-time father with his girlfriend, his aunt Michelle Garcia said.

The baby shower was set for Saturday, Garcia added.

Family said Carrera had been shot at least once in his back.

Investigators have yet to release information on the suspects and declined to release a description of the vehicle involved. The relatives say they have no idea who would want to target the men.

Police say the men were victims of a drive by shooting.

A 911 caller told officials a vehicle drove up and the passenger pulled out a handgun. An argument ensued, then shots rang out, said Lt. Derrick Alfred.

It appears that they had driven up and were saying goodbye outside the car to each other when the car drove up (and) some words were exchanged,” Rubenstein said. “Somebody from inside the suspect vehicle fired multiple rounds, striking both the men.”

Velazquez was a nationally recognized scholar who eventually wanted to work for NASA.

Flores was a physics doctoral student at UC Irvine and had his sights set on a job at NASA, a family member told KTLA.

“He was one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met,” said a former sister-in-law at the scene who asked not to be named.

Many took to social media to share their shock and died about the loss of such an accomplished young man who was full of dreams.

While fellow grad students shared in their disbelief.

People who knew Velazquez have been sharing memories and talking about what a kind and caring person he was. They also talk about his many talents, skills, and dreams – of which, he had many.

If you’d like to support Velazquez’ family during this time, they have a GoFundMe page setup here

She Spent 37 Years As A Sex Slave And Is Now Fighting To Free All People From That Life

Things That Matter

She Spent 37 Years As A Sex Slave And Is Now Fighting To Free All People From That Life

Sebastian Espinosa / YouTube

This past week was the week that the world brought attention to an issue that affects an estimated 40.3 million people around the globe, human trafficking. For Uruguayan Sandra Ferrini, 58, it was exposing a past that had followed her for most of her entire life. Ferrini was “sold” by her mother as a teenager into the world of street prostitution and after 37 years on the city streets of Chile, Paraguay, Argentina and in Europe, her story is now ready to be told. 

According to a report from the International Labour Organization, there are around 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world, with 1 in 4 victims being children. 

Credit: @imrebeccabender / Twitter

On Tuesday, Uruguay participated in its first anti-human trafficking march, with Ferrini joining countless of others who like her had to endure sex trafficking for years. Campaigners took to the streets of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, where in the country of 3.5 million people, the most common form of human trafficking involves women and girls where they are forced into sex work.

For Ferrnini, the march was something that was on her mind all the years she had no voice on the issue and couldn’t speak up about the horrendous conditions she was placed in. She says many people choose to ignore the issue or just not address it all together.

“It’s a march that I thought about when I was held captive,” Ferrini told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Human trafficking happens every day, but people don’t want to see it. We are seen as numbers. We want to be seen as people. We will march as people.”

The details of Ferrnini past experience is just one example of the countless lives that face these situations on a daily basis. She says that she was sexually exploited for 37 years and was even forced to have sex with up to 30 men a day.

“I am a survivor of trafficking. It was my mother who sold me at the beginning,” Ferrini told Subrayado. “I was able to get rid at 45 because I had a traffic accident in which I was paralyzed. They were going to kill me, they threw me in a field, and a person rescued me.”

Human trafficking remains a global issue and the United Nations has set out to bring awareness and combat this growing issue. 

Credit: @peacerec1 / Twitter

Uruguay is one of the biggest epicenters when it comes to human trafficking. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons report, Uruguay was placed in its Tier 2 Watch List, which is the second-lowest ranking. This was done as the country has not meet many of the minimum standards when it comes to efforts in eliminating human trafficking.

“Most detected victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation; victims are also trafficked for forced labor, recruitment as child soldiers and other forms of exploitation and abuse,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the United Nations on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. “Thousands of people have died at sea, in deserts and in detention centres, at the hands of traffickers and migrant smugglers plying their monstrous, merciless trades.”

For Uruguay, this is hopefully just the start of acknowledging and bringing to light the global issue of human trafficking. 

Credit: @sabre_comp / Twitter

There has been some progress in recent years when it comes to decreasing the number of sex trafficking victims. In 2017, Uruguay’s National Institute for Women assisted 172 women trafficking victims which was an increase from the previous year at 131, the U.S. State Department said.

There has also been legislative work put in place as last year Uruguay updated its anti-human trafficking law and action plan. The country also just recently created a new national committee to help combat it’s anti-trafficking efforts. 

Ferrini now also heads “Yes to Life, No to Trafficking,” a survivors support group. It’s these types of groups and organizations that play a big role in getting women off the streets and rebuilding their lives and most importantly, rebuilding their broken self-esteem. 

“I naturalized this as a child – for me it was something that I thought I had to live,” Ferrini said. “There’s a lot of work to do in education, training and prevention.”

READ: A City Is On Edge After One Of The World’s Most Wanted Men Escapes From A Prison In Central Uruguay

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