Things That Matter

Gen Z Is Rallying For A Younger Voting Age In California, Which Would Undoubtedly Shake Up The Upcoming Election

Gen Z are constantly finding ways to make millennials, like me, proud. Young activists in California have mobilized to pass assemblymember Evan Low’s bill, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 or ACA 8. The amendment lowers the voting age in California to 17 years old in statewide elections. On August 26, the legislation passed the state Assembly and is now headed to the Senate for a vote.

Should the national voting age be lowered? Age requirements have been an ongoing debate for decades now. The whole point is that in Democracy, we’re supposed to be equal. (Any marginalized person knows that isn’t true in practice, but in theory, we’re all meant to be equal.) In order to vote, there is no barometer for intelligence, and now there is no gender requirement, no race requirement (allegedly, we all know about gerrymandering), and no property requirement. The only real stipulation is age. 

This issue is complicated and obscured by what the collective culture believes is “old enough.” Who is really an adult and who isn’t? Let’s take a closer look.

Gen Z wants a say in their future. 

Fair enough. It’s not like adults have been doing a great job running the world. We’re living in a climate emergency that, regardless of whether we act or not, is going to have massive and disastrous effects on every person on earth. We have President Trump in the states rolling back environmental regulations and President Bolsonaro in Brazil allowing the Amazon to burn. It’s no wonder young people are fed up with not having a say.

In fact, its not the first time the voting age has been questioned. Up until the Vietnam War (1964 – 1973), it was 21. The war which drafted tens of thousands of young people to their deaths, who were unable to vote for or against the war, was one of the most gruesome wars fought in U.S. history. It was young people who mobilized in protest and passed the 26th Amendment in 1971 which lowered the national voting age to 18. 

Meet the people of color leading the charge. 

The 17-year-old activist Tyler Okeke and Luis Sanchez, Executive Director of Power California, penned an op-ed in Teen Vogue advocating for a lower voting age. With Sanchez’s help, Okeke spearheaded a resolution that directed the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District to report on the feasibility and costs of allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in school district elections. In April, the resolution was passed. 

In Berkely, California, 2016 voters approved Measure Y1 lowering the voting age to 16 in school board elections. A similar measure was narrowly defeated in San Francisco, but California is paving the way for this important national conversation. You can now even pre-register to vote online in California at 16 and 17. 

Young people of color are most prepared to vote.

Lower voting age is also a matter of immigration status. Many teenagers are citizens but have parents who are ineligible to vote. A measure like this would be a huge win for immigrant families who would now have family members able to advocate for their interests. 

“Today’s young people, and young people of color, in particular, are ready to use their voices and their votes to bring about positive change, according to recent research,” Okeke and Sanchez wrote. “At 16, young people can drive, pay taxes, and work for the first time without major restrictions. Many young people from working-class communities also shoulder major responsibilities, such as contributing to family incomes, taking care of their siblings, or translating important information for their parents.”

But are 16-year-olds “smart” enough to vote?

Okeke and Sanchez believe 16 is an age where teenagers are more stable and have a good enough civics and government foundation to participate. 

“Research suggests that when young people vote in their first few consecutive elections, the habit sets in — ultimately strengthening our democracy. And statistical evidence has found that the average 16-year-old has the same level of civic knowledge as someone who is 21,” Okeke and Sanchez wrote. 

I am sorry, but have you heard of Malala Yousafzai who wrote an op-ed at age 11 about living under the Taliban occupation and advocated for women’s education? Malala was such a threat to the status quo as a teenager that the Taliban attempted to assassinate her at 15. They failed. When she was 17 she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Have you heard of Emma González? When she was 18 years old, this Latinx survived the horrific Parkland shooting. She then co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD. 

Teenagers have to suffer the trauma of living in a world that adults exploit and oppress, but then they don’t get a say on how to solve any of the problems they’re subjected to? I don’t think so. There are countless examples that demonstrate how intelligent, compassionate, and organized teenagers can be. 

We Know It’s Hard To Keep Up, So We Rounded Up The Best Celebrity Beef Of The Year For You

Entertainment

We Know It’s Hard To Keep Up, So We Rounded Up The Best Celebrity Beef Of The Year For You

@billboard / Twitter

If there is something we can always count on from show biz, it’s stars fighting other stars. As 2019 comes to an end, we’re looking back at the year in celebrity beef. It can be hard to keep track of celebrities who hate each other and why, but this list of 2019 celeb feuds will keep you informed on the latest celebrity rivalries and disputes.

Kevin Fret’s Mom vs. Ozuna

Instagram @ozuna

After the Puerto Rican Trap artist Kevin Fret died, his mom accused Ozuna of being involved in the artist’s homicide. Ozuna filed a complaint with the FBI alleging that late queer trapero Kevin Fret was blackmailing the Aura singer over the video. Ozuna confirmed his appearance in the video through a statement released by his manager Vincente Saavedra, and said that he was underage in the video and that it was “an error from the past.”Ozuna was interrogated by the authorities, but according to the police, he was not implicated in any criminal activities. 

Maluma vs. J Balvin

@maluma

The two reggaeton giants have been surrounded by rivalry rumours for years, and they had further enforced them by never working or appearing together. This year, they fired shots at each other in their joint music video for the collab track ‘Qué pena’. In the slick new music video, Maluma and Balvin take turns imitating each others’ Instagram personas: Maluma shouts into his phone, “This is for the culture man! Para la cultura!” Meanwhile, Balvin smooches himself in the mirror and purrs, “Maluma, baby. Mamacita.” So I guess, the air is clear now. There’s no conflict between them anymore, all is good in the universe.

Anuel AA & Bad Bunny Vs. Maluma

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Anuel AA teased at a new song on his Instagram. He talked about the ice on his neck, his enemies and his squad, and went on to rap “Nunca flow Maluma, siempre real G.” Bad Bunny, on his part, is a fan of the line, and he took to twitter to share it.

Bryant Myers vs. Anuel AA

In an Insta Live in April, Bryant Myers challenged Anuel to a fight after the Real Hasta La Muerte brand porter insulted him in his single “Fulete.” “Pero, papi, tu no respetas a nadie, cabrón,” Myers responded.

Reggaetoneros vs. Grammy Latino

@nickyjam

Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, and a number of other famous Latin music artists announced their boycott of the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards due to whitewashing.The boycott was a response to the absence of Reggaeton musicians from the list of nominees for the show’s 10 primary award categories, despite the genre’s monumental rise to global popularity over the decade. 

Don Omar vs. Ozuna

instagram @donomar

Earlier this year, Don Omar took advantage of rumors that were swirling about a sex tape featuring Ozuna by launching some indirect homophobic slurs towards the Aura singer, who is a longtime rival. Don Omar’s initial comments on Tuesday inspired a backlash that even included Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, as well as Bad Bunny. Yesterday, the rey de reggaeton posted a message on both Instagram and Twitter. “Lunch break? Any of you eat ?? Not me,” a reference to the anti-gay slur “pato.” Don Omar also shared a video of a duck humping a teddy bear in his Instagram stories; fans immediately identified both comments as homophobic references to Ozuna, since the Aura singer’s logo is also a teddy bear.

Hailey Bieber vs. Selena Gomez

instagram @selenagomez

Soon after Gomez’s song “Lose You To Love Me” first dropped, Baldwin posted the song “I’ll Kill You” by Summer Walker to her Instagram Story. Fans speculated that Hailey was throwing shade at Selena, but Baldwin quickly shot down the speculation and called it “BS.” 

Nicki Minaj Vs. Cardi B 

instagram @nickiminaj

While Cardi has been trying her best to move past her ongoing beef with Nicki Minaj, the “MEGATRON” rapper didn’t have a problem adding more fuel to the fire. After sharing went down between herself, Cardi, and the Migos back in 2017, Minaj went on to open up about her “authentic come-up,” saying she relied solely on her talent in order to make it in the industry.

“I still had to go through these things because of people like you who made a sport out of tearing down a young, black woman who’s done nothing but come in this game with an authentic come-up, writing raps, and doing what the f**kin’ was really necessary,” she said. “No Instagram, no reality shows, no sucking DJs’ d*cks.”

Bella Thorne vs. Whoopie Goldberg

instagram @bellathorne

After a hacker threatened to release her nude photos, Bella Thorne took matters into her own hands and released them herself. However, when The View spoke about the situation a few days later, Whoopi Goldberg didn’t seem to think the 21-year-old’s actions were quite as brave and strong as the others, who lauded her and shamed the hacker for trying to extort Bella Thorne.

“Listen, if you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself.” Whoopi Goldberg said, seemingly blaming the actress for getting hacked.

But Bella Thorne was not about to take that sitting down. She took to her Instagram stories and first wrote a long note about how “displeased and saddened” she was by Whoopi Goldberg’s stance, before announcing she would be canceling her scheduled appearance on The View, because she didn’t feel like “being beaten down by a bunch of older women.”

Demi Lovato vs. Taylor Swift

instagram @demilovato

If there is one person who is tired of all the non-drama drama, it’s Demi herself, who took to Instagram on Monday morning to set the record straight once and for all. “Life’s too short for women not to support other women,” she wrote. “Especially when women release great music. Great job Taylor Swift.” She accompanied that peace treaty with a screenshot of her phone, showing her playing Taylor’s song “Cruel Summer” from her new album, “Lover,” calling it “a jam.” Swift later took to Instagram herself re-sharing Lovato’s message to her Instagram story and saying, “This is so awesome & put the biggest smile on my face.”

“Thank you Demi Lovato,” she added.

Khloe Kardashian vs. Jordyn Woods

Perhaps the biggest feud of the year kicked off back in February! That’s when it was revealed that Khloe Kardashian‘s boyfriend, NBA star Tristan Thompson, cheated on her (again), this time with someone very close to the family — sister Kylie Jenner’s best friend, Jordyn Woods. The affair ended not only Khloe’s romantic relationship with the father of her child , but effectively finished off Jordyn’s previously tight-knit relationship with the whole Kardashian-Jenner clan.

Princess Nokia vs. Kali Uchis

instagram @kaliuchis

The internet dug up the receipts pertaining to Nokia’s “Orange Blossom” song, a 2015 track that bears more than a passing resemblance to Kali Uchis’ 2013 “Honey Baby.” Nokia had previously deleted the “Orange Blossom” video entirely, but someone re-uploaded it with an alternative title if you want to catch the clip.

Los Angeles Made History After Nury Martinez Became The First Latina City Council President

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Los Angeles Made History After Nury Martinez Became The First Latina City Council President

cd6nury / Instagram

There was some history made this past Tuesday as Nury Martinez was unanimously elected as the first Latina president in the 110-year history of the Los Angeles City Council. With a unanimous 14-0 vote, albeit Councilman Gil Cedillo was absent, the council chose to put Martinez at the head of one of the most important positions in the city. 

With the historic vote, the San Fernando Valley Councilwoman will be succeeding outgoing Council President Herb Wesson, the first African-American to head the council. Martinez will become just the second woman ever elected to serve as LA city council president. Before Martinez, Councilwoman Pat Russell was the first and only woman elected back in 1983. 

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, who worked as a dishwasher and a factory worker, Martinez took time to credit and thank them during a speech on Tuesday.

Her humble beginnings growing up in Pacoima, a predominantly Latino working-class community in the San Fernando Valley, taught her the importance of hard work. Martinez saw her mom and dad work tirelessly for her family so she could have a chance at success one day. That day came on Tuesday. 

“As the daughter of immigrants, as a daughter of a dishwasher and factory worker, it is incredibly, incredibly personal for me to ensure that children and families in this city become a priority for all of us, to ensure our children have a safe way to walk home every day … to ensure that our families feel safe,” Martinez said on Tuesday. “And first and foremost, to ensure that children living in motels, children that are facing homelessness, finally become a priority of our city, to ensure that we … find them permanent housing for them to grow up.”

Martinez is the product of public schools and became the first in her family to graduate from college. She began her career serving her own community as part of the City of San Fernando Council from 2003-2009 then followed that as a member of the L.A. Unified School Board from 2009-2013. 

It was her upset victory in 2013 beating out well-known Democrat Cindy Montañez, a former state assemblywoman, for a seat on the city council that put her on the LA political map. Despite trailing 19 points after the primary city election, Martinez would win in the general election by 969 votes. 

“To think, six years ago, I wasn’t even supposed to be here. I worked so hard and I was able to turn it around,” Martinez told the LA Times. “It’s not only an honor, but I really and truly feel blessed. And I just want to make everyone proud.”

Martinez has previously taken on issues like ending homelessness, installing rent control laws and supporting low-income families. She hopes to continue fighting for this and similar issues as president of the city council. 

As part of the city council, Martinez worked on behalf of the many families in the San Fernando Valley taking on issues like housing projects, rent control, and paid family leave. These issues will continue to be part of her agenda as president of the city council as well as advocating for children and families. 

“It’s monumental. She looks like the face of L.A. and she’s been elected to the highest position possible,” Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus with California State University, Los Angeles, told LAist.  “Usually people consider city council president to be a stepping stone to elsewhere — and we’ll see what the future holds.”

The significant moment wasn’t lost on many who congratulated Martinez for this historic stepping stone for Latinas everywhere. 

Another trailblazer, Gloria Molina, who was first Latina ever elected to the City Council, told the LA Times that Martinez has an incredible opportunity in front of her to bring real change and representation to the position. 

“She has a real opportunity to bring so much change,” Molina said. “She has an opportunity to create a balance. Martinez’s election is “a very significant accomplishment, not just as a Latina but as a woman. It’s still a men’s game there.”

As the council vote was officially confirmed and the motion to elect Martinez passed, there was a loud eruption of applause from those in the council chamber. The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on Martinez who said that she will use the opportunity to highlight the best that Latinos can offer. 

“I think it’s important to continue to show the rest of the country what this community is made of,” she said. “The Latinos are ready to lead and we’re very grateful to be part of this wonderful country called America.”

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