Paola Garcia is a student at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. She is open about being a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It’s that openness that made her the target of a classmate.
The classmate, identified as Taylor Ragg, tried to rally supporters to report Garcia to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so she would be deported. Why? Because she had the phrase “Undocumented, Unapologetic, Unafraid” in her Facebook bio. That was all Ragg needed to says she was bragging about breaking the law and needed to be deported. He is no longer enrolled at Transylvania University, leaving the school after the story broke. Garcia spoke with mitúabout what it happened.
Taylor Ragg is no longer a student at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. after his attempts to get a classmate deported.
According to Lexington Herald Leader, Transylvania University spokesperson Michele Sparks could not say whether Ragg left the university on his own accord or was expelled because of federal privacy laws. At first, the university was slow to respond to the threat made by Ragg. Garcia made a video that was posted to YouTube talking about her ordeal and how the university didn’t respond to the situation because “his actions don’t violate the schools non-discrimination policy.”
Here is the screenshot of the social media post that caused the controversy between Ragg, Garcia and Transylvania University.
CREDIT: Paola Garcia / Facebook
Ragg took the screenshot of Garcia’s Facebook page and posted it to an alt-right Facebook group called “10th Crusade Enthusiasts,” calling for members to report Garcia to Homeland Security.
The post and lack of urgency from the university prompted Garcia to record a plea for help.
“On Tuesday September 12, I was notified by the administration that ‘new evidence’ had been acquired and we could proceed with a judicial case,” Garcia says. “Taylor had received an email on the morning of September 13 notifying him of the charges against him and the trial hearing date. That afternoon he withdrew from the university on advice from his lawyers.”
Now that Ragg is gone from campus, Garcia says she can relax a little but remains on alert for more of this kind of treatment.
CREDIT: Paola Garcia / Facebook
“I’m relieved [he’s gone] to say the least, but I’m also frustrated that he left without facing any consequences,” Garcia says. “I also know that this is far from over. So I’m wary, and still vigilant. But I do not intend to back down from whatever comes my way next.”
We are less than a year and a half away from the 2020 presidential election, and while the incumbent President of the United States, real estate mogul and media personality turned politician Donald J. Trump is already tocando los tambores de guerra by attacking the leading Democratic contenders, his potential opponents are still attacking each other. All around the country campaign offices are trying to come up with the best strategies, and have realizes that one key demographic for 2020 will be the Latino vote.
As Jonathan Allen argues in NBC News : “Depending on how the race unfolds, Latinos might even end up being the key to the contest. That’s a function mostly of heavily Hispanic states, including California and Texas, moving up on the primary calendar at the same time that the chances for a protracted, delegate-by-delegate fight among several candidates appear to be more likely than ever. The possibility of African American voters splitting among several candidates for the first time in several presidential primary cycles also raises the stakes for candidates in trying to get an edge with Latino voters”.
The candidates better start brushing up on their Spanish! (but please, no terrible gringo accents, porfavorcito). As Aida Chavez states in The Intercept after the debates a few weeks ago: “The desire to connect with Latinx voters was apparent in this week’s presidential debates, when several contenders made a direct appeal to the growing electorate by answering questions in Spanish on the national stage”.
Latinos are a big, strong, decisive voting force for 2020: there will be 2 million more eligible Latino voters than African-American voters.
Just think about this: about 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election, which is about 13 percent of the electorate, according to the Pew Research Center. By contrast, African-American voters will have 30 million eligible voters. Just let that sink in for a minute.
According to a poll released by Univision after the debates, Kamala Harris seems to be getting her message across to Latino voters.
The message to take away from this poll is that Harris was perceived as the winner of the debates over the only candidate with a recognizably Latino name, Julian Castro. Her identity as a powerful, independent, woman of color might be seeping into the Latino preference. This is an election about ideas rather than looks, and also an election about who seems better prepared to take on Trump, and if Latino voters start imagining Harris debating Trump and holding her ground, well, things might get interesting.
And yes, the race among Democratic candidates is tight and getting tighter, with at least three clear frontrunners.
Unless something really dramatic happens, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris will be the candidate. They are the ones polling the highest in the race for the nomination and whom Trump has directed his attacks against.
It is clear that immigration will be the main issue in this election and Elzabeth Warren took the first step by announcing an ambitious and humane immigration plan.
Unless a major international conflict arises before the election, immigration policies, including how undocumented migrants are treated after being detained at the border, will be the main issue. Elizabeth Warren took the first step by announcing her sweeping immigration plan. She wrote in a post on Medium when announcing what immigration policy would look like under a Warren administration: “We must address the humanitarian mess at the border and reverse this president’s discriminatory policies. But that won’t be nearly enough to fix our immigration system. We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands.”
As we reported at the time: “This is a very intelligent approach to immigration, as it appeals to both those worried about the economy and how the United States can respond to the competition of global markets, and to the voters who consider current zero-tolerance policies, including ICE raids, inadmissible”.
But others are falling far behind: enter Bernie Sanders and his big “socialist” problem among Latinos.
One of the big mistakes that many politicians make while trying to woo the Latino vote is assuming that all Latinos fall on the same end of the political spectrum. Bernie Sanders has certainly been guilty of this by failing to recognize that many Latinos, particularly powerful pockets of influence in places like Florida, actually despise left-wing politicians. As NF News argued: “Declaring yourself left-wing may be attractive among an American youth who have never lived under a socialist regime. But among Latino voters who have been exiled from left-wing regimes, this has consequences. This was demonstrated by the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who is the co-chair of the campaign by presidential pre-candidate Bernie Sanders, Carmen Yulín Cruz, when she refused to acknowledge that she and Sanders are socialists. Both Cruz and Sanders have refused to condemn the dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela. Instead, Cruz chose to compare the humanitarian crisis facing Venezuela with poverty in Puerto Rico”.
This is a big misstep, as Florida in particular is a key state for this and any other election, and Democratic voters are wary of candidates who might perform poorly in the state (remember Bush-Gore anyone?).
There are some voices of reason in Sander’s campaign, as reported by The Intercept in an interview with Chuck Rocha, a senior Sanders adviser. “: “We know that we’re going to communicate with young Latinos in English, we know we’re going to communicate with young Latinos in Spanish. We also understand the cultural differences between Latinos in Des Moines, Iowa, and Latinos in the East Side of Las Vegas.”
The no-show: Joe Biden?
The former Vice President has sent conflicting messages on how important the Latino vote is for his campaign. On one hand, as reported by NBC News, “Biden’s outreach has included a fully bilingual website, bilingual advertising and the first candidate meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus”. On the other, he has missed key appearances at events where he could reach to Latino Democrats. As reported by The Boston Globe, he was a no-show at “an important forum hosted by the Spanish-language network Telemundo and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials that drew more than 800 of the nation’s top Latino policy makers and strategists”. Sanders and Warren attended. This lack of engagement could cost him dearly, as noted by the same publication:
Denise Diaz, a 32-year-old city councilwoman from South Gate, Calif., said this was the second time Biden had disappointed her. The first was when he skipped California’s Democratic convention three weeks earlier.
“I have really changed my opinion in supporting him,” she said. “I am looking for someone who is relatable, has boots on the ground, and is accessible.”
You know what they say: camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.
This past spring the world of academia proved just how little it cares for minority and disadvantaged students when it was revealed that various colleges and universities across the country were involved in a millions of dollars bribing scheme. In short, the scheme gave affluent students “back door” access to elite schools and proved just how important programs like affirmative action are for minority students. Of course, few were surprised when news broke that these students had paid their way into some of the country’s top schools. In fact, for many, it proved once again, that in a lot of ways money really buy you everything even a Harvard degree. Now, a new report from Buzzfeed News is reminding us once again, how little academic centers advocate for its students of color.
In a new report by the news outlet, four first-year Harvard Law School students complained they have been targeted by racist and sexist emails and text messages from another student. They’re accusing Harvard Law School of not doing enough to deal with the verbal threats and harassment.
The students are accusing Harvard Law School of upholding racist and sexist views by not doing anything to support them.
According to BuzzfeedNews, the students emailed the dean of the law school, describing the messages as containing “racist taunts about affirmative action and intelligence” and “body-shaming.”
The email’s and text messages contained “other personal insults.” The emails and text messages were sent from an anonymous source to black and woman students during their first-year between December 2018 and March 2019.
BuzzFeed News reports that of the 80 students in the section, nine are black and 21 are “other minorities.” The first student that began receiving threatening text messages was one of the black students, Mo Light. The message Light received came from “firstname.lastname@example.org” and the sender stated that the student didn’t “belong here.”
“You’re just here because of affirmative action, why even try?,” the sender wrote. “Everyone at [Harvard Law School] thinks you’re a joke, but I guess your section is lucky to have a curve boost.”
(Photo credit: Mo Light, via BuzzFeed News)
Immediately, Light took action and told a faculty member about the email he had received. He also tells BuzzFeed that he filed a police report with the Harvard University Police Department.
“My initial reaction, ‘Wow, this is upsetting,’ but it’s not surprising, given that this is just living while black,'” Light told BuzzFeed News. Despite reaching out to faculty and the university police department, the messages would continue and now to other students of their class.
Another student, Chelsea Rooney, told the publication that the messages deeply disturbed her and she decided to report them to the administration. “In the era of school shootings, in this era of white supremacy, really and the violence and anger that goes along with that, I think it was our duty as students to bring this forward.”
(Photo credit: Chris Volcy via BuzzFeed News)
“It would have been really irresponsible for us to receive these messages, know that someone is exhibiting really bizarre behavior, and not say anything,” the student said.
The black students who were targeted said they felt the attacks were racist while the other two women students believed they were targeted due to other personal issues with the supposed sender. They also told BuzzFeed News that they had an idea of who the suspected sender was.
Ultimately, the students believe the reports were ignored and their concerns weren’t addressed.
Now, they’re accusing Harvard Law of not doing enough to support them.
In a statement from Harvard Law School to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the school said that none of the messages the students received “threaten[ed] any type of violence.” The spokesperson also said they couldn’t “publicly disclose” the details of the investigation in order to “protect the respective rights of all parties.”
However, we can’t help but wonder, where was this “respect” when the worried students reached out to school administration addressing their concerns?
The other students who received abusive, sexist and racist text messages were told to “no one likes you gtfo.” Chelsea Rooney was also called a “horse face from Texas” by the anonymous sender. Another woman student, who asked to remain anonymous, was called a “fat overweight pig.”
One would think that given the political climate in the country, Harvard Law School would act appropriately and try harder to find the culprit. Given the institutions elite status, one would also think that after the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, universities and colleges across the country would think twice before letting something like this escalate.
Twitter users also rallied behind the students who are accusing another student of targetting them with racist and sexist emails and text messages.
One woman said Harvard Law school must “identify and excise” the person that’s responsible for harassing the students.
Another Twitter user called Harvard Law School a “scam” and “shameful.”
“They do not support or protect their students of color or their women students,” the Twitter user said.
A Harvard Law School student also chimed in and said that when “elite institutions permit racist and sexist abuse their students” and don’t do anything about it, it speaks volumes.
“It endorses the racists’ message: You don’t belong here,” he writes.
The law student also urged other Twitter users to sign the students’ petition to Harvard Law School, demanding a serious response to this racism and sexism.
“The school’s response was disheartening, but your action and emails helped us get our first response from the school. We cannot thank you enough,” Chris Volcy, Chelsea Rooney, and Mo Light write in the petition. “But trust us when we say that there is evidence to make a determination on the identity of the sender, and we want to see why the school decided to let us attend classes with an individual capable of sending the attached messages from anonymous emails and unknown phone numbers. If you think that the school should at least release the investigation report to the members of Section 7 so that we can understand their decision, please sign this petition.”
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