If you want 2019 to be all about making positive changes in your life and working to better the lives of the American people, you may want to look into a job in politics. The problem with most civic jobs — such as teachers, council members, working at a non-profit — is that they don’t pay much. In fact, just to get your foot in the door landing an unpaid internship is the only way to go. Thankfully some people are looking out for the common man because they know what it’s like to hustle for money.
Newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking to hire interns and is offering at least $15 an hour.
“Time to walk the walk,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t technically started her new job in Washington, is ge changes. Paying her interns is one of them.
According to The Washington Post, a 2017 study found that only 8 percent of House Republicans and 4 percent of House Democrats pay their interns.
The Washington Post also reports that while some senators pay their interns (51 percent to 31 percent); House representatives pay even less (8 percent to 3.6 percent).
This year, however, President Trump has approved a bigger budget for senators, which means they now have money to pay interns.
According to reports, this year money allotted for senators’ staffing increased from $871 million last year to $920 million for 2018. But it’s still their choice whether they choose to use that money for staffing or other costs.
Thanks to Carlos Mark Vera, founder of advocacy group Pay Our Interns, senators are now feeling the pressure to pay their interns.
Just a reminder to everyone: POI was founded by two Latinos who were unpaid interns and had financial hardship when taking those on. Do you believe in what we are doing? Join us and donate your tax-deductible gift today! https://t.co/1ExBL0AwUt
“I write to encourage your office to take action and use some of the surplus funds to launch a paid internship program,” Vera wrote in a letter to senators. “So that, once again, opportunities on Capitol Hill are open to all young people, and not just those who can afford to work for free.”
Ocasio-Cortez broke down how the funds are used, and how lawmakers are allowed to do what they want with their own budget.
“Each member of Congress gets around $1.2 million (give or take a bit) for their entire operating budget,” she said on Twitter. “That’s supposed to cover all salaries (DC and district), rents for district offices, travel home, tech devices, services, contracts, etc. Members decide how it’s all spent.”
She went on to say that “There’s a little wiggle room—everyone isn’t given the same exact amount, but it’s pretty close. If you’re from a district with high transportation costs, high rents (urban/suburban areas), or both, it can have the potential to pressure wages downward for similar operations.”
She’s basically getting $20,000 to hire four interns. But as she said, she wants to pay them at least $15 an hour.
Are you interested in working for her? Apply here. And good luck.
Julián Castro is a huge underdog in the crowded Democratic field of presidential hopefuls. He knows it and has never shied away from that fact. It’s also the reason that he’s still in the race. From the start of his campaign, Castro, the only Latino in the race, has run on the platform of giving a voice to those Americans who have been counted out, kinda like himself.
“If there is one thing that has distinguished my campaign is that I’ve spoken to the most vulnerable, the often voiceless in this country and I haven’t been afraid to speak up for the poor because too often Democrats talk about the middle class but somewhere along the way we forgot to speak up for the poor,” Castro says. “I’m doing both of those things.”
Castro believes in this and isn’t going to let polls or political pundits stop him from campaigning. Unfortunately for Castro, voters won’t get to see him on the Democratic debate stage in Atlanta this week. This due to the fact that he didn’t reach the polling criteria of 3 percent or higher in four approved polls or 5 percent in two early state polls.
Despite this, Castro isn’t going away or shutting down his campaign. He’s getting “real” with voters and in recent weeks has called out the Democratic establishment for its primary process.
The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama has run one of the most progressive campaigns of any Democrat currently in the field. When it’s come to issues like housing, immigration, and even animal cruelty, Castro has released some of the most comprehensive and well-received polices. He says that’s because these plans aren’t just talking points but real problems that Americans across this country are facing.
“We’re trying to connect the dots with policies that match up with the way people actually live. People don’t live in silos and we shouldn’t make policies that reflect that,” Castro said. “I learned that very early on as a councilman and a mayor and I saw that as Housing Secretary, it’s not enough to address the issue of education, housing or criminal justice reform, you gotta address everything.”
For Castro, that also means addressing issues within his own Democratic establishment. Last week, he criticized the Democratic nominating process, particularly the role of Iowa and New Hampshire in determining the nominee, two states where the electorates are mostly white.
He told MSNBC that the two states are not “reflective of the United States as a whole, certainly not reflective of the Democratic Party, and I believe that other states should have their chance.” While there was some criticism of those comments, Castro did begin an important conversation that he feels needed to be addressed.
“Democrats know that I’m telling the truth here. We’ve been justifyingly calling out Republicans who have been trying everything they can to suppress the vote of people of color. But at the same time, we start our presidential nomination process in two states that have very little people of color, ” Castro said. “People know that I’m speaking the truth here.”
Castro doesn’t view himself as the “Latino candidate” nor has he ever used his background to gain some votes. He’s says that he’s running the campaign on the basis that someone like him can represent everybody.
While he might not be on the upcoming debate stage or at top of most polls, Castro is being seen and his message of uplifting forgotten communities is being heard. Castro is optimistic about his chances and his supporters are standing by his side through it all.
“We’re gonna work like crazy to shine a light on the people and the problems that are out there that voters want solved,” Castro said. “I’ve gone to places that few other candidates have gone. I’ve spoken to the homeless, those in jails, I just went into an ICE check-in for a migrant that was seeking asylum. We’re going to keep uplifting the lives of people who have been forgotten.”
Castro finds relief from the perils of a long campaign when he’s back in his home in San Antonio. He is rarely home while campaigning but when he is you can find him hanging out with his family, including his two children, Christian and Carina. It’s those moments he says that puts everything in perspective and in some way serves as a reminder of the importance of continuing his campaign.
“What I hope that young Latinos and Latinas are seeing in this campaign is that they can compete with anyone, anywhere, on any stage I haven’t run this campaign on the basis to vote for me because I’m Latino but someone like me can represent everybody.”
To us, it seems like the decade has gone by in the blink of an eye but a lot has actually happened the last 10 years. Reminiscing about that time has us remembering all the amazing events that made up the decade. However, we can’t talk about all that without highlighting some impressive mujeres and the equally remarkable decade they’ve had.
From art and music to sports and activism, Latinas have fiercely dominated their fields this past decade to show us all what excellence looks like. To celebrate these extraordinary women, lets focus on a few who have had especially monumental careers over the last 10 years and praise their accomplishments. Here are some of this past decade’s fiercest Latinas.
1. Cardi B
Instagram / @iamcardib
It’s hard to believe that we entered the 2010’s without knowing the name Cardi B but the Afro-Latina didn’t first enter the limelight until 2015 with her appearance on “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” Less than two months after leaving the reality show to pursue her music career, Cardi signed her first major record deal with Atlantic Records. From that point, there was no stopping the vibrant rapper!
Since then, she’s released numerous #1 singles and collaborations, became the first female rapper to win the “Best Rap Album” Grammy as a solo artist, had the most nominations in a single year ever by a woman at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, set a new attendance record at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and made her big-screen debut in “Hustlers.”
2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Instagram / @ocasio2018
AOC is another fierce Latina who was unheard of at the beginning of the decade. She graduated cum laude from Boston University but had to return home to help her mother fight against home foreclosure following her father’s death. In 2016, she worked for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. After the general election, she traveled across the country to places like Flint, Michigan and Standing Rock Indian Reservation to speak with locals about the environmental crisis their communities face.
In 2017, she got a call recruiting possible progressive candidates and decided to challenge Joe Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair of her district. AOC defeated the 10-term incumbent and later beat the Republican nominee to become the congressperson of New York District 14. As a congresswoman, she has been a vocal supporter of Medicare for All and the New Green Deal while fighting against ICE and the atrocities of the current administration.
3. Yalitza Aparicio
Instagram / @yalitzaapariciomtz
Yalitza Aparicio’s success didn’t hit until the later part of the 2010s when she was cast in her first acting role for Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 drama “Roma.” Her performance was celebrated by audiences and critics alike and earned her an Academy Award nomination for “Best Actress” — the first time an Indigenous woman received the honor and only the second time it went to a Mexicana.
She was nominated for over a dozen awards for her role in “Roma” and won the Hollywood Film Awards’ “New Hollywood Award.” In 2019, Aparicio appeared on the cover of “Vogue México” and was also named one of “TIME” Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2019. Most recently, she was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples and uses that role to be an activist for Mexico’s native people.
4. America Ferrera
Instagram / @americaferrera
America Ferrera left “Ugly Betty” back in the 2000s and hit the 2010’s hard. First, she made her London stage debut playing Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago.” In 2015, the actress made it back to television with ABC’s hit comedy “Superstore” in the starring role an as a co-producer. In 2018, she also had two big arrivals with the birth of her first son and the release of her anthology of stories, “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures.”
Ferrera has also spent the past decade being highly political. In 2016, she was a speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and joined Voto Latino in order to help get Latinx people involved in voting. She was also a speaker for the 2017 Women’s March and the 2018 “Families Belong Together” protest. The actress also participated in the 2017 #MeToo campaign and is a founding member of the Time’s Up legal defense fund.
5. Elizabeth Acevedo
Instagram / @acevedowrites
At the beginning of the decade, Elizabeth Acevedo started out as a Teach for America Corps participant. There, she taught eighth-graders poetry and language arts. It was there that she got inspiration for her first published novels. In 2016, Acevedo released “Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths,” her first book and a finalist for the YesYes Chapbook prize.
Two years later, she released the “New York Times” Bestseller “The Poet X,” a book that would cement her as an essential Afro-Latina author. “The Poet X” earned numerous accolades, becoming a National Book Award and Carnegie Medal winner as well as winning the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpre Award, and the Boston-Globe Hornbook Award. In 2019, she released her third novel “With the Fire on High” and has gone on to deliver several TED talks.
6. Rita Moreno
Instagram / @theritamoreno
Rita Moreno has been having amazing decades since the 1950’s so it’s no wonder that the 2010s would be another. She began the decade staring as Fran Drescher’s mother in “Happily Divorced” while continuing guest roles on series like “Welcome to the Family” and “In Plain Sight.” In 2015, she began a recurring role on “Jane the Virgin” and voiced Abuelita on the animated children’s program “Nina’s World.” She took on the role of Lydia for the beloved 2017 reboot “One Day At A Time” and has gained a new generation of fans.
Moreno also received heaps of lifetime achievement awards for her long history as an entertainer. In 2012, she was rewarded with the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and then received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2013. 2015 earned Moreno the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. Most recently, she was named co-grand marshal of the Rose Parade.
7. Laurie Hernandez
Instagram / @lauriehernandez
Phenomenally, this has only been Laurie Hernandez’s second decade on this earth but it has definitely been a big one for here. At the age of 12, Hernandez’s career began at the U.S. Classic where she qualified to the National Championships. In 2013, she was added to the U.S. Junior National Team and won the silver medal at the National Championships. Two injuries sidelined the young gymnast briefly but she later recovered to earn 3 gold and 2 silver medals at the 2015 International Junior Japan Meet.
At the Olympic Trials in 2016, Hernandez placed second in the all-around and earned a place on the 2016 US Olympics Gymnastic team. There, she won gold alongside her team As an individual, she took home silver. Since then, she became the youngest winner of “Dancing With the Stars” and published her first two books, an autobiography, and a children’s book. Most recently, she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and was named co-grand marshal of the Rose Parade.
8. Jennifer Lopez
Instagram / @jlo
Jennifer Lopez has been the IT Latina since her days back as a Fly Girl but the 2010s treated her pretty great as well. At the beginning of the decade, JLo signed a $20 million deal to be a judge on “American Idol.” The following year, she launched her first headlining concert series, the Dance Again World Tour, earning $1 Million per show. She also released her first greatest hits album and her eight studio album.
2014 saw the pop star perform for the FIFA World Cup alongside Pitbull and she also released her “New York Times” Bestseller “True Love.” In 2015, JLo announced her Las Vegas residency that spanned for 3 years and earned more than $100 Million in ticket sales. IN 2019, she announced her new concert series, “It’s My Party,” commemorating her 50th birthday. She and boyfriend Alex Rodriguez also made it official by getting engaged this year. Most recently, Lopez released the blockbuster “Hustlers” and was announced to co-headline the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show.