Things That Matter

From Joe Biden’s Bloody Eye To Beto O’Rourke’s Plea For Puerto Rico, Here’s What Happened At The CNN Climate Change Town Hall

Last night, the top ten ranking Democratic presidential candidates participated in a seven-hour marathon discussing the impacts of climate change. The candidates were each given 40 minutes to discuss their plans for combatting the ever-growing threat of climate change and fielded questions from audience members. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the event.

Julián Castro framed the fight to combat climate change as a fight for civil rights.

“We know that this climate crisis is going to affect all Americans and all the folks around the world, but, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, we also know that it’s going to hit some people particularly hard,” Castro said when asked about racial environmental injustice. “After I announced my campaign, the first visit that I made was not to Iowa or New Hampshire. It was to San Juan, Puerto Rico to tell the people of the island there that we were with them and that we would make sure that they could recover from Hurricane Maria.”

Castro continued to reference an older man he met in Puerto Rico who was still trying to rebuild and fix his home that had been devastated by the hurricane two years ago. He then used the moment to talk about the overall environmental injustices plaguing poor communities, like Flint, Michigan.

“I know that too oftentimes, it’s people who are poor, communities of color, who take the brunt of storms that are getting more frequent and more powerful.,” Castro said. “So my plan actually calls for new civil rights legislation to address environmental injustice, including to make sure that there is a private right of action to file lawsuits against polluters.”

Beto O’Rourke was asked directly about the treatment of Puerto Rico.

“It makes me angry as well,” O’Rourke said about the response to Hurricane Maria. “I hope it makes everybody angry, the way we’ve treated the people of Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans, who were left in harms way without the necessary investment in infrastructure to mitigate the storms that we knew were going to hit them that are only more severe, more frequent, more devastating thanks to our excesses, our emissions, our inaction in the face of climate change.”

O’Rourke continued by calling out President Trump and his decision to move funds from FEMA and diverting them to the U.S.-Mexico border to detain more children.

Cory Booker pledged to create an administration where every agency works within the confines of fighting climate change.

“Climate is not a separate issue,” Booker told the audience. “It is the issue, the lens through which we must do everything that we do. It is an everyday mission. That means every one of my departments, every one of my agencies, every one of my cabinet members from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of Agriculture, has to be coming up with an aggressive climate change plan.”

Bernie Sanders is calling for a global effort to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change.

“I think we need a president, hopefully Bernie Sanders, that reaches out to the world, to Russia and China and India, Pakistan, all the countries of the world and say guess what? Whether you like it or not we are all in this together,” Sanders told the crowd. “If you are concerned about the children in your country and future generations, we’re gonna have to work together.

The Vermont senator went further and called out the money spent on arming countries and called for that money to be used to save the environment before it is too late.

Elizabeth Warren is tying the greed of corporations and their devastating impact on the environment to Washington.

“How is it, in a democracy, that we have a handful of corporations, that year after year keep dragging in bigger and bigger profits are the oceans keep rising, while your home disappears, while your children have asthma, while people die? That’s not right,” Warren said. “And the reason it is happening is Washington. Washington could have put a stop to this decades ago but they didn’t. Washington is corrupt.”

And, of course, people are pretty concerned that Joe Biden had one eye turn bloody during his time on that stage.

When asked about China’s CO2 emissions, Biden appeared to have had a blood vessel burst in his eye. He spoke about how China is one country that needs to make real changes to make sure they adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement that they had signed onto. In response, Biden called on sanctions to be levied against China if they continue to export coal technology.

Who was your favorite during the Climate Change Town Hall?

READ: Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Things That Matter

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

‘Saturday Night Live’ Excludes Julián Castro From Sketch And His Twin Brother Said He Could Have Played The Part

Entertainment

‘Saturday Night Live’ Excludes Julián Castro From Sketch And His Twin Brother Said He Could Have Played The Part

@natimontelongo / Twitter / Saturday Night Live / NBC

“Saturday Night Live” doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to people of color, specifically Latinos. In the show’s iconic history, which spans 44 years, the cast has mostly been white and male. In 2016, they finally hired a Latina to join the cast, which was a year after “SNL” decided to have Donald Trump host the show when he was running for president and calling Mexicans “rapists and criminals.” Latinos boycotted the show and they did receive backlash for allowing him to host. Yet, still “SNL” has yet to learn the importance of Latino representation and inclusion. 

On the season 45 premiere, “SNL” did a sketch that featured the Democratic presidential candidates but did not include Julián Castro and did include Marianne Williamson, who’s not in the running anymore. 

So why didn’t the have someone impersonating Castro? We know they don’t have any Latino comics on the show, however, they could have had their sole Latina comic Melissa Villaseñor put on a wig. She has played a man before. The sketch did include special guest stars including Maya Rudolf (who played Kamala Harris), and Larry David (who played Bernie Sanders). Could they have not asked former Latino “SNL” comics Fred Armisen or Horatio Sanz to play Castro?

“Interesting that @nbcsnl decided to cut one candidate out of this sketch. Could you not find a Latino actor to play @JulianCastro?” Sawyer Hackett, national press secretary for Castro’s campaign, tweeted. 

People on social media were livid at the exclusion of Castro and once again their dismissive attitude toward Latinos. 

Credit: @natimontelongo / Twitter

Was it too difficult for “SNL” to add one more actor to the stage, especially one that is still in the running — unlike Williamson? Lin-Manuel Miranda and his dad said they would have both stepped up to the plate to play the role of Castro. 

It’s as if “SNL” continues to make the wound even deeper by excluding the only Latino candidate. 

Credit: @latinovictoryus / Twitter

“SNL” knows very well that representation matters, so there’s no excuse for this exclusion. Are they doing this on purpose?

Maybe they think Castro’s persona isn’t funny enough to include in a parody?

Credit: @MrMikeBlake / Twitter

If “SNL” has talented writers they could have surely written something hilarious for an actor portraying Castro. We already have staggering facts that show film and TV excludes Latinos in overwhelming statistics, so you would think “SNL” (and all programming for that matter) would want to rectify that. Maybe they just don’t care?

“SNL” has a long history of dissing Latinos, so this just makes it worse.

Credit: @JuanSaaa / Twitter

Latino viewers and talent have been asking for more representation for several seasons now. There was celebration from fans when Melissa Villseñor was brought on in 2016.

Many people see their omission of Castro as the show disregarding Latinos.

Credit: @cristela9 / Twitter

This overt move by “SNL” actually made the skit not very funny but cringeworthy. The erasure of the only Latino running for the presidency was glaring.

You know “SNL” messed up bad when Latina moms get involved. 

Credit: @anabpez9 / Twitter

If you make Latina moms mad, asking for their forgiveness won’t be easy to do. Trust us. We have all been there. However, when you really try to make things up to them, they will accept it.

Since “SNL” screwed up the premiere, will they correct their huge mistake by the next episode?

Credit: @XorjeO / Twitter

There’s another debate coming up very soon, and if “SNL” is going to stay relevant in the political comedy stage they better include Castro or they will risk not only alienating a core audience but also looking like they can’t handle diverse comedy.

And, if “SNL” can’t find anyone to play Castro, there’s one person that will be happy to do it. 

Credit: @Castro4Congress / Twitter

Julian’s twin brother, Joaquin Castro — who’s pretty busy right now working on Capitol Hill himself — said he could step in and portray him on the show. We think he’d do a fabulous job because he clearly knows him best right?

Either way, “SNL” needs to get their act together. There’s no reason to exclude a strong candidate for president only to be replaced by a white woman who isn’t running for president anymore. It’s an obvious omission that “SNL” needs to stop. 

READ: New Latina “SNL” Cast Member Called Out Over Controversial Tweets