Things That Matter

Georgia Is Discriminating Against Puerto Ricans Trying To Get Driver’s Licenses With A Cultural Questionnaire

Georgia has been requiring Puerto Rican natives seeking Georgia driver’s licenses to answer a special set of questions such as “identifying ‘what a meat filled with plantain fritter’ is called; where a specific beach is located; and ‘the name of the frog native only to Puerto Rico,’” according to a lawsuit filed against the state this week.

A Puerto Rican man has filed a lawsuit against Georgia for alleged discrimination and voter suppression.

Credit: @southerncenter / Twitter

A man is accusing Georgia of discriminating with driver’s licenses and requiring Puerto Ricans to answer trivia questions about fritters, frogs, hillbilly hats, baseball players and customs on their native island.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the US District Court for Northern Georgia, accuses the state’s Department of Driver Services (DDS) of violating the Civil Rights Act by engaging in “race-based stereotyping and implicit bias against Puerto Ricans.”

The lawsuit says Georgia holds residents of Puerto Rico, who are American citizens, to more stringent requirements than it does transplants from American states or the District of Colombia.

The quiz and other discriminatory practices prevent Puerto Ricans living in Georgia from traveling to work, school, and even doctor appointments. They also subject Puerto Ricans to the threat of a $500 fine and a year in prison if they drive without a license, the lawsuit says.

LatinoJustice obtained a copy of the quiz questions and shared them in a report.

A DDS document titled “Puerto Rican Interview Guide,” provided to CNN by LatinoJustice, includes numerous questions about the island, some of them are allegedly trick questions. Among them:

  • How long is the San Juan-Fajardo train ride? (There is no train.)
  • Who is Roberto Clemente?
  • What is the name of the frog native only to PR?
  • What is a pava?
  • What is alcapurria?
  • How do you celebrate San Juan Day?

A note in the interview guide says the questions are designed to better identify possible Puerto Ricans and discourage fraud. “While this guide can in no way positively determine if a person was born in or lived in Puerto Rico, it will help determine if the individual has a normal base of knowledge of their claimed birthplace,” it says.

Many on Twitter were using this as yet another example of Puerto Ricans being treated as second-class citizens.

Credit: @andreagonram / Twitter

“Puerto Ricans who are trying to start a new life in Georgia deserve access to the same benefits that are afforded to other citizens of the United States,” LatinoJustice PRLDEF attorney Jorge Vasquez said in a statement.

Driver’s licenses and identification cards issued in Puerto Rico aren’t subject to the same reciprocity extended to those issued in other states, the lawsuit says. Puerto Rico driver’s license holders must successfully pass the written and road exams to get a driver’s license, unlike other out-of-state license holders.

While others pointed out the shocking resemblance to a time when segregation was still a thing.

Credit: @KeithHi40841914 / Twitter

“The so-called quiz, applied to Puerto Rican drivers, bears a strikingly disturbing resemblance to the tests applied by segregationists to block voter registration of people of color,” Southern Center attorney Gerry Weber said.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s governor has come out swinging against the possible acts of state-sanctioned discrimination.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has weighed in, calling the alleged special requirements “absurd” and demanding that Puerto Ricans receive equal treatment in all US jurisdictions.

“If true, I ask Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to address the disturbing irregularities immediately,” Rosselló said in a statement. “The U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico cannot be subject to illogical and illegal requirements when procuring government services.”

There are more than 93,000 Puerto Ricans living in Georgia, according to the 2017 census estimate.

To many, this is just another sign of Puerto Ricans having to work extra hard to prove themselves as American citizens.

Credit: @carlitocenteno / Twitter

Other examples of Georgia’s allegedly discriminatory practices include refusing to accept any birth certificate issued in Puerto Rico before July 2010 and flagging Puerto Rican birth certificates for fraud review, the lawsuit states.

READ: Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

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A Human Rights Attorney Is Being Accused Of Falsely Posing As A Latina During Her Career

Culture

A Human Rights Attorney Is Being Accused Of Falsely Posing As A Latina During Her Career

¡Voice Latina! / YouTube

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is the outgoing president of the National Lawyers Guild and her departure has taken a sudden turn. After years as an attorney, many are now accusing the attorney of posing as a Latina.

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is facing mounting scrutiny and backlash for her claims that she is Latina.

According to a post on Prism, Bannan has a history of claiming her Latinidad. The post points out several interviews the attorney has given over the years with different publications where she explicitly claims that she is part of the Latino community. In one YouTube video with ¡Voice Latina!, Bannan explicitly says that “as a woman, as an individual, as a Latina” she is inspired to do the work she does because of her hero Oscar López Rivera.

People are calling on others to do better about who they choose to represent various communities.

Representation matters, especially when it comes to the issues that are facing our various communities. It is important to make sure that the representation reflects those being represented. According to Prism, Bannan has been pushing a narrative that she is of Puerto Rican and Colombian heritage for over a decade. She has even spoken out as a Puerto Rican woman that is fighting for the island’s statehood.

There are multiple media moments when Bannan claimed Latino heritage, according to reports.

Prism points to an interview conducted in 2007 where she allegedly told “El Diario” that her heritage was “a little bit Spanish, a little bit Colombian, and a Sephardic Jew.”

“I am racially white, and have always said that. However my cultural identity was formed as a result of my family, both chosen and chosen for me, and that has always been Latinx,” Bannan wrote on Facebook Monday following the story. “My identity is my most authentic expression of who I am and how I pay honor to the people who have formed me since I was a child.”

The story is garnering so much attention because of Hilaria Baldwin and her claims of being Spanish.

Baldwin misled people into believing that she was of Spanish descent when she was a white woman born in Boston. Prism was able to decipher that Bannan is a white woman born in Georgia whose family immigrated from Ireland, Italy, and Russia.

READ: Why Do People Care If Hilaria Baldwin’s Spanish Accent Is Fake Or Not, Anyway?

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Georgia Delivers Control Of Congress To Democrats Thanks To This Incredible Coalition Of Voters

Things That Matter

Georgia Delivers Control Of Congress To Democrats Thanks To This Incredible Coalition Of Voters

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

In what seems like the never ending 2020 election cycle, we can finally say that the votes are in. And the results out of Georgia are truly worth celebrating as a diverse coalition of Georgian voters helped deliver both U.S. senate seats to Democrats.

Thanks to a well organized voting apparatus, a record-breaking number of voters hit the polls and helped elect the state’s first Black senator along with the youngest senator in nearly sixty years.

The results out of Georgia help put the Senate under control of the Democrats, handing President-Elect Joe Biden a major tool in helping to implement a progressive agenda once he is inaugurated on January 20.

Georgia elects two Democrats to the U.S. Senate with history-making votes.

Democrats have swept both seats in Georgia’s critical runoff elections, giving the party control of the Senate and removing a major roadblock for President-elect Joe Biden.

Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in Tuesday’s election, while networks had earlier called Georgia’s other race for Democrat Raphael Warnock over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

The results are a rebuke of President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to try to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results.

The Senate will now be split 50-50, but Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be able to cast tie-breaking votes, putting Democrats in charge of the legislative agenda, committee chairmanships and Congress’ confirmation and investigative powers.

Black and Latino voters deserve recognition for their hard work in making this possible.

Senator-Elect Warnock is the pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church in Atlanta. He will be the first Black senator from Georgia and only the 11th Black senator in American history. He won, in part, thanks to astronomical Black turnout.

Many are praising the work of Stacey Abrams and groups like Mijente, who helped register a record-breaking number of new voters. In fact, Mijente helped knock on the doors or call every single Latino resident in the state of Georgia to help get out the vote.

Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams – who had already done so much work in helping turn Georgia blue for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November – continued her trailblazing mission in the state. Her organization, Fair Fight 2020, helped register more voters than ever before and helped make sure they understood their rights and responsibilities as a voter.

Joe Biden will now have full control of government.

Biden will now enter the White House on Jan. 20 with his party in control of both chambers of Congress, allowing him to confirm his Cabinet and judicial nominees and giving him and a chance to advance his legislative agenda, which would have gone nowhere as long as Sen. Mitch McConnell remained in charge.

Biden and Senate Democratic leaders agree their top priority will be a new round of Covid-19 relief, especially after the president-elect promised Georgia voters this week that $2,000 stimulus checks would “go out the door immediately” if Democrats won the Senate.

Many in the community are hopeful that with control of both the Senate and House, Biden will be able to push through comprehensive immigration reform and undo many of the cruel and inhumane policies put into place by the Trump administration. However, given the legislative filibuster remains in place (requiring a two thirds majority), many question just how much will be accomplished.

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