Things That Matter

Presidential Candidates At The Second Democratic Debate Stand Up For Undocumented Health Rights

nbcnews / Instagram

The second night of the Democratic debates in Miami were held last night and the undocumented and DACA communities were the main topics. The clear winner of last night’s debate was California Senator Kamala Harris who took on former Vice President Joe Biden and emerged victorious. Here’s a quick recap of what the 10 candidates had to say last night.

California Kamala Harris took a stand with DACA recipient and pledged her full support if elected

“Immediately on January 20, 2021, I will… First of all, we cannot forget our DACA recipients, so I’m going to start there,” Harris answered moderator José Diaz-Balart when asked about dealing with the migrant crisis at the border. “I will immediately, by executive action, reinstate DACA status and DACA protection to those young people. I will further extend protection for deferral from deportation for their parents and for veterans, who we have so many who are undocumented who have served our country and fought for our democracy.”

She added: “I will also immediately put in place a meaningful process for reviewing the cases for asylum. I will release children from cages. I will get rid of the private detention centers and I will ensure that this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up and separating them from their parents.”

Sen. Harris then turned to Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and addressed his record on the issues of race and school integration.

“So, on the issue of race,” Harris started looking at Biden. “I couldn’t agree more that this is an issue that is still not being talked about truthfully and honestly. There is not a Black man I know be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who has not be the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination. Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us that her parents said she couldn’t play with us because we were Black.”

Harris then took on Biden’s record on race saying: “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bussed to school every day. And, that little girl was me.”

The moment was one of the most stunning at the debate. The audience was silent as Harris captivated the audience giving a personal story on race in America.

Harris was referring to Biden’s remarks from a New York fundraiser where he spoke openly about how he was able to work across the aisle with to segregationist senators in the 1970s.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland… He never called me ‘boy’. He always called me ‘son,'” Biden said of the segregationist senator from Mississippi.

He then brought up “a guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list with these guys. Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done,” Biden said. “We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

The other big moment from last night’s debate was the candidates agreeing to healthcare for undocumented people in the U.S.

Credit: NBC News

Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the candidates a show-of-hands question about which candidates included undocumented people on their health care plans. Every candidate raised their hands in solidarity.

Guthrie then turned first to South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as to why his plan allows undocumented people to have healthcare coverage.

“Our country is healthier when everyone is healthier,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “Remember, we’re talking about something that people are given a chance to buy into. In the same way that there are undocumented immigrants in my community who pay. They pay sales taxes. The pay property taxes directly or indirectly. This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program.”

Debate viewers were pleased to see the show of support for the undocumented community.

Credit: @un_documented / Twitter

The undocumented community has faced years of attacks from the current administration. The community does not have the power to vote so their future and wellbeing is tied directly to the people around them who have the ability to vote. Hearing candidates talk about issues impacting the undocumented community with compassion is something so many voters have been looking for.

It gave some people hope for the future of America for the first time in two years.

Credit: @CarlosGSmith / Twitter

It is not a secret that several communities have been in distress as the Trump administration steam rolls over everyone’s rights. Seeing this display is something that is sending a message to Americans seeking a compassionate and better functioning government.

It is also important to note that nay sayers of the idea claim they don’t want their tax dollars paying for this. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Undocumented people in the U.S. pay billions of dollars in taxes. According to a 2017 study, undocumented people paid $11.7 billion in taxes in 2014.

Texas is the second largest beneficiary of undocumented taxes with a total of $1.6 billion in taxes coming from undocumented people in 2014. California was number one with $3.2 billion in tax dollars in 2014. That said, the debate of whether or not undocumented people deserve healthcare ignores the fact that undocumented people are subsidizing the federal programs Americans use on a daily basis, like Social Security, but those same people do not benefit from those tax dollars spent.

READ: Here Are The Winners And Losers Of Last Night Democratic Debates In Miami Last Night

Some People Claim This Sandy Hook PSA Has Gone “Too Far” In Illustrating the Impact of School Shootings

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Some People Claim This Sandy Hook PSA Has Gone “Too Far” In Illustrating the Impact of School Shootings

We’ve come to the point in American history where deaths due to gun violence have become what many would call a crisis. According to data collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, guns were responsible for more deaths than car accidents were. So it comes to no surprise when certain activists take it upon themselves to bring attention to what many label an epidemic. On Wednesday, the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, a non-profit organization founded with the goal of “protecting children from gun violence with programs that work”, did just that. The NPO released a short video, titled “Back-To-School-Essentials” that made waves through the internet.

The video begins exactly the way so many back-to-school commercials start: discussing the coolest new gadgets to buy for your kids this Fall.

Sandy Hook Promise / Youtube.com

A smiling boy pulls a backpack out of a locker, bragging that his mom got him the “perfect bag for back to school”. A young girl shows off the colorful binders that are “just what she needs to help her stay organized” for the school year. But things take an odd turn with the third student. As the student describes his headphones as “just what [he] needs for studying”, we can see that not all is quite right in the background. As the boy listens to his music, oblivious, we see students running in the behind him, appearing to be panicked.

As the commercial wears on, it becomes even eerier when students are speaking carefree to the camera while scenes of carnage unfold around them. The commercial wears on with each scenario becoming eerier: a girl uses her sweater to bar a door shut, keeping an active shooter out of the gymnasium. A different student uses her new socks as a tourniquet to keep a bleeding student alive. The video ends on a chilling note: a young girl hides in a bathroom stall, tears running down her face. The camera closes up on her as we hear an active shooter enter the bathroom. “I love you, Mom,” she types into her phone.

The video ends with a simple title-card over a black screen: “School shooting is preventable when you know the signs.”

Sandy Hook Promise / Youtube.com

The PSA then directs the viewer to find out more about the organization at sandyhookpromise.org. According to Sandy Hook Promise’s About page, the “above-the-politics” organization is made up of “several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012”. Their mission is to “honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation”. Their main action-items are to target mental health programs to individuals who are “at-risk” at engaging in gun violence and by advocating for policy changes in order to prevent school shootings. 

As of now, the video has racked up over 1 million views on YouTube in under 24 hours.

The virality of the PSA is likely due to its execution: we’re all used to seeing vacuous back-to-school commercials whose sole intentions are to sell us something. “Back-To-School Essentials” lulls us into a sense of comfort with its upbeat music before jerking us into the current violent reality of school-aged students’ lives. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks every mass shooting in the country, the US has had 283 mass shootings since September 1st of 2019. 

The video isn’t without controversy–some Twitter users are disturbed by how close to home the video’s scenarios are.

In fact, many viewers are finding the PSA hard to watch. On Twitter, users are complaining of tearing up after watching the video. Some even claim to “feeling sick” by the video’s contents. 

In response, some Twitter users are glad of the reality-check the PSA is providing:

It’s evident that making their audience uncomfortable from watching the video was one of the organization’s goals. That way, it makes it harder to ignore the reality of school shootings and their impact on children’s lives.

This woman explained how the video hit a little too close to home:

It seems we’ve come to the point in our culture where we feel we need to buy phones for our children in the event that they experience a school shooting. 

This Twitter user applauded the Sandy Hook Promise Organization’s bravery in committing to their message:

Sometimes the only way to get your point across is to explain, in the starkest terms possible, how dire the situation is. This video managed to convey that in a powerful way.

This Latina was effected by the PSA on a visceral level:

Reactions like this prove that public service announcements, when done right, can achieve exactly what they set out to achieve.

Simply from the Twitter reaction, it’s clear that this video has touched a lot of people.

To learn more about Sandy Hook Promise and its mission to prevent gun violence, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org.

Trump Visits California And Border Wall, His Infamous Sharpie Makes Another Appearance

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Trump Visits California And Border Wall, His Infamous Sharpie Makes Another Appearance

President Donald Trump Tours the Progress on the Border Wall in San Diego, CA / Youtube

Just like his democratic counterparts, Trump is making his way across the country trying to raise money for his 2020 reelection campaign. 

After leaving New Mexico (where he made an extremely awkward appeal to Hispanic voters), Trump headed for California to raise money at extremely secretive fundraisers. Now, deep blue California isn’t typically on Trump’s radar (unless it’s targeting state policies meant to aid migrants or clean up the environment) but he had no problem visiting the state to collect some coins and tour his vanity project — the border wall. So after visiting Silicone Valley and LA, Trump headed to San Diego. 

Trump was in San Diego to raise money and to visit the border wall for a photo op.

A presidential visit to San Diego would not be complete without a stop along the US-Mexico border and Trump did not disappoint as he traveled to Otay Mesa to view border fencing between the two countries.

Trump toured the border area of Otay Mesa after a fundraiser in San Diego and met with officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Defense. He referred to the barrier, which replaced much shorter panels originally installed in the 1990s, as nearly impenetrable.

“This wall can’t be climbed,” he said. “It’s designed to absorb heat…. You can fry an egg on that wall. It’s very, very hot. If you want to climb it, you’re going to have to bring hoses and water.”

Trump visited Otay Mesa last year to tour prototypes of his proposed border wall, and supporters and protesters turned out to greet him.

“This is top of the line,” Trump said of a fence being constructed to replace an older barrier along the border. 

According to Trump, San Diego was begging for the wall. “San Diego was, they were just thanking me for the wall we built in San Diego. It’s like, they said it’s a difference of day and night. They actually said it’s 100 percent. The only thing is, we have to now expand it out,” he said.

And if Trump’s visit to the border couldn’t get more ridiculous, he actually signed the wall. 

People, this is not a drill. The President of the United States is literally taking sharpies to government property. Once a classless reality TV show host…always a classless reality TV show host. 

But let’s not forget, Trump’s claim that the border wall is new is a complete lie. 

Trump is using this San Diego border wall visit purely as a photo op. He knows that the border wall is one of his signature campaign issues and one that his core supporters want to see completed. 

So even though, according to his own government, zero miles of new border wall has actually been built, Trump is trying to hard to spin the truth. In fact, an NBC News report fact-checked Trump’s claim, reporting that while “the U.S. has replaced or reinforced 66 miles of fencing, including 9 miles of new secondary fencing,” the Trump administration “has yet to extend the border wall,” as suggested by Fox.

Additional reporting from The Washington Post on September 6 also fact-checked a September 4 claim by Trump that “the wall is being built. It’s going up rapidly. … We’re building very large sections of wall.” According to the Post, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed just about 60 miles of ‘replacement’ barrier during the first 2½ years of Trump’s presidency, all of it in areas that previously had border infrastructure.” 

Of course where Trump goes, protesters follow. 

And it was no different in San Diego. From the moment he arrives, protesters were ready to go with the now ubiquitous Trump Baby balloon. 

Protesters with the Backbone campaign gathered at Horton Plaza Park ahead of the president’s expected appearance at a campaign fundraiser at the US Grant hotel, located a short distance away from the park.

San Diegans weren’t having any of Trump’s visit.

Can’t say I disagree. I felt the same when he was in LA.

While some on Twitter called him out for the continued lie about San Diego’s border wall. 

Much like the NBC and Post reports, this San Diegan seems to confirm that Trump is indeed lying about progress on the border wall. 

His visit to the wall comes a day after he was in LA and San Francisco to raise money for his 2020 re-election campaign. 

Trump headlined a Beverly Hills fundraiser Tuesday night that was also shrouded in secrecy. The dinner was the second stop of a two-day swing through California that is expected to raise more than $15 million for the president’s reelection campaign.

He also used his trip to criticize the homelessness problem in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two strongly Democratic cities. But has offered up little in policy ideas or suggestions on how to address the situation.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” he told reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday, suggesting that the issue had dented those cities’ reputations.