Things That Matter

While Trans Women Die In Detention Centers, Bamby Salcedo Fights For Her Community With A Determination We Rarely See These Days

Prepare yourself to get familiar with an icon in the making. Bamby Salcedo was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico by a single working mother who tried to protect her daughter from hate. She couldn’t.

Salcedo doesn’t consider herself a victim. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, of drug addiction, of homelessness, of persecution for sex work, of the U.S. prison system. Salcedo has survived a transphobic society and considers it a privilege to work tirelessly for trans rights in an uphill battle with ICE.

Bamby Salcedo is leading the initiative to grant equal rights to detained trans women.

Untitled. Digital Image. Bamby Salcedo. 12 June 2019.

Yet, she tells Latina that she’s “just a pawn in the game.” It’s humbling to learn that Salcedo, often referred to as “La Bamby”, said, “I’m just a piece of the puzzle in the fight for trans rights, especially for trans Latina immigrants.”

La Bamby’s experience of overcoming homelessness, of being imprisoned and addiction has fueled her fire to help others.

@latinxbeauty_ / Twitter

“In my case, being homeless, having to participate in the street economy to survive, being imprisoned, being a drug addict, all of those things I faced,” were all drivers to her activism, she tells Latina. “Then, once I had the privilege and opportunity to change my life, it was me seeing my friends and those close to me that I love to continue to experience these things. A combination of both has driven me to stand up and do something about it.”

La Bamby has become an icon in her own right.

@atribecalledqueer / Twitter

This fan’s artwork depicts her as a blossoming flower, with a halo of tropical flowers. She maintains that while she knows she’s the most recognizable voice of trans Latina immigrants, she shouldn’t be.

“I am very privileged and lucky to be one of the people who gets highlighted often,” she tells Latina. “But more and more trans women immigrants, Latinas, are doing so, too, and I hope seeing me out there is encouraging for them. Sharing one’s story is a truth, and it’s impactful because it helps people understand our issues.”

Bamby’s activism led her to create the TransLatin@ Coalition in 2009.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

Bamby saw a gap in attention for the trans communities. National, trans-led organizations weren’t addressing the issues of Latina immigrants, so she did something about it.

Remember when this flag dropped at the 2018 World Series?

@labamby / Instagram

That was all TransLatin@ Coalition. “I felt my heart was dropping along with it,” she told Huffington Post. “I was kind of exploding because of the adrenaline. You don’t know what’s going to happen with the police and security and all of that.” FOX didn’t air the flag on national television, and the flag waved for a few minutes before they were escorted out.

Last year, TransLatin@ Coalition gifted LA this performance statement during the Pride parade.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“PRIDE has historically been a protest, not a parade,” @translatinacoalition captions. “And it will continue to be a protest so long as our communities are still suffering from corrupt systems. Let us celebrate our beauty but also acknowledge there is work still to be done! There is no liberation without liberation for all. ‘HOW MANY OF US HAVE TO DIE FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED?'”

This year, it was censored for calling out the abuse trans women face in ICE detention centers by name.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“We marched in pride yesterday and brought attention to the state and governmental violence our community continues to face,” the organization posted. “We were censored by both LAPride and ABC7. We were told to put our signs away. Told that we should be celebrating. Pride reminded us that there is so much to be done, even within our own community. But we won’t stop bringing attention to the injustices our community is facing. Okay! #FREEALEJANDRA #JohanaMedina”

Currently, TransLatin@ Coalition is focused on freeing Alejandra Barrera, a trans woman held by ICE since November 2017.

@sonsandbros / Twitter

The campaign petition has received over 26,000 signatures, urging the U.S. government to release Barrera on parole until her next asylum court date. The longer she stays in the detention facility, the higher the risk for sexual abuse and negligent medical care.

TransLatin@ Coalition implements grassroots efforts to gain media coverage for the causes.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“Alejandra’s application for a stay of removal was denied for the 5th time with no valid arguments,” TransLatin@ Coalition writes on Instagram as an update to the #FreeAlejandra press conference post. “She can be deported anytime within the next couple of days. We need you all to help us to put pressure on Congress to intervene and stop ICE from potentially sending Alejandra to her death.”

We are in the midst of a week-long campaign to #FreeAlejandra.

@TransLatina_C / Twitter

If Alejandra is deported, she will inevitably be murdered. TransLatin@ Coalition describes Alejandra as “a transgender Latina immigrant who was forced to flee El Salvador due to discrimination and violence, her home country in which she has spent years fighting for respect and dignity of transgender people.”

Before founding TransLatin@ Coalition, she was the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

@NationalNOW / Twitter

Needless to say, Bamby’s life mission has been to provide services to the trans community. She quit her job in 2015 to focus on trans immigrants full time.

Since then, she’s spoken at The White House and helped organize #FamiliesBelongTogether protests.

@labamby / Instagram

Bamby sees her activism as a privilege. She sees her shift in circumstances from homelessness and sex work as a privilege. That’s because, for trans women, it is a privilege when it should be an inherent right.

The issues facing trans women are nuanced and debilitating.

@prideportraits / Instagram

Trans women who flee their countries for fear of violence come to the U.S. for safety. “But things are bad here, too,” she tells Latina. “And we have to resort to the street economy, whether drugs or prostitution, to survive. Then we risk being arrested and turned into ICE, where we are detained and possibly deported. Immigration is one of the main issues impacting us, but it’s also not the only one, and I don’t want to forget that.”

La Bamby is here to fight for all women.

@labamby / Instagram

She celebrated Latina Equal Pay Day like most of our favorite feministas–with a solidarity post that read, “Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay, marking the 10 extra months Latinas must work to make the same amount white men earned last year. The gender pay gap is greatest for Latinas, who get only 54 cents for every $1 a white man makes. This is an injustice. Soy una mujer fenomenal — and I deserve the entire dollar! We’re not 54% phenomenal. We bring 100% every day & it’s time we make 100%.”

She just might be the Selfie Queen.

@labamby / Instagram

Her personal Instagram feed is a fabulous stream of selfies. Most of the captions describe what event she is going to, like this one: “On my way to bring my #TransLatinaPower to #northcarolina#deepsouth I’m going deep!! #freealejandra”

She also seems to have a healthy sense of humor.

@labamby / Instagram

This classic Strategy Selfie is captioned, “Que disque high class … #transocupayingspace con @life_as_a_queen” ????

And she’ll take every single opportunity to talk about the cause.

@labamby / Instagram

La Bamby ran into John Legend and California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris and took the opportunity to “bring your #TransLatinaPower to highlight #transissues.” ????????????

Unsurprisingly, her story has been captured in documentary format for your leisurely viewing.

@NewVoicesPgh / Twitter

Peruvian Director Dante Alencastre gifted the world “TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story” and the world noticed. The film has received Long Beach’s QFilm Festival “Best Documentary” award.

There’s no question: Bamby Salcedo is the revolutionary that will push trans rights to the next level.

@TransEquality / Twitter

To do that, she’s going deep into the murky systems of ICE and making sure to keep every detained trans woman accountable. Nobody else is doing it.

READ: Check Out These 9 Trans Activists On Instagram As They Fight For Justice And Equality

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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