Things That Matter

Latino Border Patrol Agent And Army Veteran Hailed As Heroes In Poway Synagogue Shooting In San Diego

When Oscar Stewart and Jonathan Morales when to the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, California on April 27, they went to worship. When they left, the two men, an army veteran and off-duty Border Patrol agent, were hailed as heroes for confronting a lone gunman. Here’s what we know about the two men who shortened the killer’s rampage of terror on the last day of Passover.

One person died and three were injured in a shooting at the Chabad Congregation in southern California.

Credit: @JoaquinCastrotx / Twitter

On the last day of Passover, a lone gunman entered the house of worship and opened fire. The news of another mass shooting broke the peaceful week of celebration in the Jewish faith.

According to the LA Times, the FBI was notified about a manifesto from the suspect but the shooting happened before the FBI could finish their investigation.

In the chaos, two men are being called heroes for their quick action that forced the shooter to flee.

Army veteran Oscar Stewart and off-duty Border Patrol officer Jonathan Morales were at the temple worshipping when the shooter entered. While Morales has been more withdrawn from the media, Stewart has shared their story.

The two men ran to the gunfire when they first heard the loud bangs echoing through the temple.

Credit: @IBEW569 / Twitter

Stewart, an Iraq war veteran, was the first person to confront the shooter. Stewart told journalists that he ran to the gunfire and started to scream at the shooter. Stewart’s actions forced the shooter to flee the temple and try to escape.

The Rabbi asked Morales to come to the service armed because we live in a time where gun violence is commonplace in society.

Credit: @philwillon / Twitter

According to USA Today, Stewart chased the shooter out of the temple and that’s when Morales told Stewart to duck. Morales, who works for Border Patrol, was armed and opened fire on the shooter’s car trying to disable it.

“Morales recently discovered his Jewish roots. He would travel three and a half hours from [the California town of] El Centro to pray with us at our shul,” Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein told media at a Sunday press conference, according to The Times of Israel. “He felt this was his house of worship. And many times I said, ‘Jonathan, you work for the border patrol. Please arm yourself when you are here; we never know when we will need it.’”

The shooting at Poway is another example of the kind of gun violence American’s face on a daily basis.

Credit: @nataliemorales / Twitter

Whether at school, work, concert, or a place of worship, Americans live with a constant understanding that any day can be the day they are involved in a mass shooting.

“Hate and violence against anyone because of their race, ethnicity or religion has no place in our society,” senior Customs and Border Protection official John Sanders said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Our thoughts and prayer are with the victims, their families, and their community as they recover from this tragic event.

READ: Anthony Borges Protected 20 Classmates During The Parkland Shooting And Just Got Released From The Hospital

Jessica Marie Garcia Talks Big Hoop Energy And Why She Screenshots Fans’ Messages

Entertainment

Jessica Marie Garcia Talks Big Hoop Energy And Why She Screenshots Fans’ Messages

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There’s no denying Jessica Marie Garcia’s vibrant, go-getter personality. She makes it known to audiences and fans both on and off-screen in her role as Jasmine in Netflix’s coming-of-age comedy, “On My Block.”

You know when Garcia walks into a room. She’s just as bold, daring and warm-hearted as she appears around Freeridge, the fictional Los Angeles neighborhood OMB is set in. 

Before season 3 started streaming, mitú caught up with Garcia in between breaks while filming on location in Burbank, California. She discussed big hoop energy, how she connected on a personal level with some of Jasmine’s most emotional scenes, and how she unearthed more of her Mexican roots after moving to Los Angeles. 

What audiences can be excited to see in season 3 is more dialogue between Jasmine and the ‘core four,’ especially with Jason Genao’s character Ruby Martinez in a will-they-or-won’t-they? crush dance throughout the current season. 

A character with as much wise advice and heart as Jasmine needed to be given more lines and fans appreciate it.

Dare we say Jasmine’s energy is big hoop energy?

Garcia talked about how Jasmine’s personalized earrings helped her step into some added fierceness before the camera started rolling.

“I was the one that had their ears pierced at three months old, ok. That’s just like a given. Especially for Jasmine, hoops hold a lot of power. And even as an actor, her ‘Jasmine’ earrings that say Jasmine in them, I put a lot of that in Jasmine,” Garcia says. “I put a lot of love and power on those hoop earrings. I always had hoops growing up. You had to be able to put your fists in them or they’re not realistic. That’s a thing. I want different sizes, different shapes. They’re important for anyone really.”

One of Jasmine’s most relatable qualities was her ability to always see the positive in the direst of situations.

Garcia was an advocate for her character to showcase this multidimensionality. She didn’t want to have a character like Jasmine relegated to being a tag-along character on the outer orbit.

Representation on TV is better for it, especially when it comes to showing love and curves.

“Being a love interest, being a thicker girl and not having to be like the ‘thing’ they always talk about means everything to me because I don’t think that we see that a lot on TV,” Garcia says. “You know I just don’t talk about being a thicker girl 24 hours a day, it’s such a strange idea that that’s all we can talk about, so I appreciated it, and I also felt a responsibility for all those girls watching, like ‘OK, you gotta do it for me.’ I’m just honored that it’s me.”

Ruby starts catching feelings for her in the show for who Jasmine is as a person and who she makes him feel when she’s around him. And isn’t that just the kind of amor bonito you want to wish upon some of TV’s best breakout characters?

Audiences can also tell throughout the course of the show’s three seasons that Jasmine is there for Ruby in a deeper sense than some of his fellow friends. As much as Ruby’s friends try to support him after his PTSD, Jasmine truly gets what he is going through because of her dad’s disability coming back from war.

Garcia knows as Jasmine that Ruby’s PTSD will always affect him.

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“I don’t think that that is something Ruby as a character is ever not going to think about. You see even in these beautiful moments when we won that dance competition, and he was put in that place,” Garcia says. “[It’s good] for kids to know that these situations don’t get cleaned up in 30 minutes. This is a lifetime of pain that he has to deal with and that’s going to affect him as an adult. That’s going to affect the choices he makes. And again, that loss of innocence, it’s a huge part of him. He’s never going to be season 1 Ruby. It was a near-death experience that will affect him—and the core four.”

Garcia was able to tap into that emotion for such a pivotal scene like bringing Ruby around her family because she experienced that moment. 

“I’ve lived with my grandparents my whole life and my grandmother had dementia when I was, I want to say 13 years old, she got a stroke and got dementia,” Garcia says. “She moved out here and I was taking care of her out here with my mom. And it was something strange to have friends over, because I had to tell them she might scream or she might try to leave. It’s never something that as a teenager, you want to feel more different, so having to explain that is always something that was scary to me. Because I was always like, are my friends going to be able to understand that?”

“So when I played that with Jasmine and I was introducing Ruby to her father, that was nerve-wracking because I wanted it to be something that I could be able to accept but a lot of people don’t understand what that’s like,” Garcia recalls. “It was definitely a scene that I cared about a lot and I freaked out so much filming it. Just because as an actor we’re neurotic and I always want another take, and I never think something is good enough,” she continued. 

It turned out to be one of the most-loved scenes by audiences of the show. 

Fans connected to it as they saw Ruby and Jasmine’s friendship blossomed. 

Garcia enjoys going through her fans’ messages and is known to reply back personally and even screenshot them. 

“I’m lucky enough to say I get them a lot [fan messages], and it’s really just the message of being able to see that they see themselves in me. That is something that I will never get over because growing up, I didn’t,” Garcia admits. “I had to look onto other people in order to see any kind of representation. I say this all the time—Khadijah in Living Single is the reason why I’m here today. Seeing a thick, beautiful woman not be apologetic for any of that is what I wanted to see—but thinking like oh, I’ll be that token person, you know? And I think if it’s a White show, you have a Black friend or a Brown friend, but you never have both. And that’s just not life. So the fact that we have a cast of people of color and not having to completely talk about that the whole time, just being real, is amazing. Those kinds of messages mean everything to me. I save all of them, I screenshot them. I love responding to fans. I love responding to beautiful people, yes!”

She loves to encourage her fans to learn more about filmmaking and writing in order to be the next generation of content creators.

“You can’t decide that we’re going to write for a certain demographic and then not have that demographic writing, it just doesn’t make sense. That’s why we have the same stories. It’s exhausting,” Garcia says. “I think we also have to encourage our youth to go into screenwriting and take film school and just write. That’s the biggest thing is write down everything, because you’ll learn that acting may be something you saw and saw yourself in and you’ll find this love of this other craft because there are so many departments that make this a real thing.”

Garcia has been able to explore more of her roots now that she is living in Los Angeles thanks to the show.

“When I was in Florida, it’s a pretty mixed bag. But as far as Latinos, you’re in Orlando, you’re Puerto Rican. If you’re in Miami, you’re Cuban. And like that’s it,” Garcia recalls of Florida. “They used to call me ‘Mexico’ all the time in Orlando because it was so weird that I was Mexican (I don’t know how it is now). Coming here, I was surrounded by people that looked like me, but I didn’t know their traditions or anything, and then I just felt like I was missing out this whole time. So it’s been a beautiful discovery actually. I don’t speak Spanish, which is probably the bane of my existence, but I also think I speak for a lot of first-generation Latinos who understand it all, but when I speak it it’s a little sad. I say a little prayer and a wish, but you know I’m learning, and that’s part of it too.”

Perhaps in season 4 Jasmine will get to practice her Spanish on the show in some phrases.

READ: Jason Genao Of ‘On My Block’ Talks Growing Up On His Block And His Secret To Making Bomb Empanadas

Latino Voters Deliver Bernie Sanders Major Victory In California Primary

Things That Matter

Latino Voters Deliver Bernie Sanders Major Victory In California Primary

berniesanders / joebiden / Instagram

Fourteen states voted on Super Tuesday and Vice President Joe Biden led the pack of Democratic candidates. Bernie Sanders, despite a decisive win in California, now has the second-highest delegate count. Latino voters made their voices heard, especially in California where they delivered Sanders a strong victory.

Sen. Bernie Sanders won the biggest Super Tuesday prize: California.

According to Vox, Latinos in California largely supported Sen. Sanders. Forty-nine percent of Latino voters in the Golden State voted for Sanders with 12 percent voting for Vice President Joe Biden. There was a clear generational divide in support for Sen. Sanders. Seventy-one percent of Latinos 18-29 supported Sen. Sanders while 35 percent of Latinos 45-64 supported the Vermont senator.

Sen. Sanders won more than a million votes in California earning him 135 delegates.

As of noon March 4, 87 percent of precincts were reporting giving Sen. Sanders a commanding 9-point lead over Vice President Biden. Leading up to the election, Sen. Sanders was polling highest among Latino voters and it seems Latinos came out to vote and gave Sen. Sanders the advantage he needed to win California.

However, young voters, Sen. Sanders’s key voters, turned out in smaller numbers during the primary.

The number of young voters in Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina was down compared to the 2016 primary elections. In Alabama, 10 percent of voters were 17-29 this year compared to 14 percent in 2016. Young voters are the key demographic for Sen. Sanders and the lack of voting participation from young voters contributed to Sen. Sanders’s lackluster night.

Vice President Biden pulled off an unexpected and impressive performance.

Vice President Biden won 10 of the 14 states during Super Tuesday, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s home state Massachusetts. Black voters in the southern states came out in huge numbers to cast their ballots for Vice President Biden. Six states are voting in their primaries next week and there are 352 more delegates up for grabs that week. A candidate needs 1,991 candidates to secure the nomination outright before the convention. So far, Vice President Biden leads with 566 delegates and Sen. Sanders is a close second with 501.

READ: Bernie Sanders Leads Democratic Candidates In Latino Supporters And Donations