Things That Matter

Jessica Cisneros Is 26 Years Old And Has Some Big Plans To Rep Her District If Elected To Congress

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is hoping she loses her title as the youngest ever elected Congressperson, and she wants to pass the crown onto Jessica Cisneros. Cisneros is a thriving 26-year-old immigrant rights attorney and a proud Tejana who wants to advocate for her border town district in the Capitol. In the ways that matter most – immigrant rights, environmental justice, and healthcare for all – AOC and Cisneros are in the same fight. 

Until they can work together in Congress, however, Cisneros has to unseat another Democratic Latino, Henry Cuellar, who has held the seat for eight terms in a row. Now his greatest contender, Cisneros used to be his intern.

Jessica Cisneros considers her opponent, Representative Cuellar, “Trump’s favorite Democrat.”

Credit: @emilyslist / Twitter

Cuellar has taken donations from the likes of immigrant detention centers and the Koch brothers. Cuellar maintains an “A” rating by the National Rifle Association. He’s even co-sponsored anti-abortion legislation, which would have banned abortion after week 20. In 2014, Cuellar was the only House Democrat to vote for a bill that made it easier to deport unaccompanied minors. 

Still, Cisneros tells The New York Times that she was “very, very excited” to intern with him. She thought she’d be helping her people. “Once I got there,” she continued, “I noticed his silence on a lot of things I care about: women’s rights, poverty, health care. People I know with diabetes have to go to Nuevo Laredo for medications because it’s so expensive.”

Like AOC, Cisneros refused to accept corporate PAC donations, which frees her up to be more accountable to her constituents than to corporations.

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The short story is that Cisneros can’t be bought. Every constituent’s voice carries equal weight in her decision-making process. “Less than 1% of my opponent’s donations last year came from small-dollar donations: under $6000,” Cisneros shares to her social media campaign account. “In 6 hours, our campaign received more small-dollar donations than my opponent did ALL last cycle. I’m proud to take no corporate PAC money so I am accountable only to the people.”

Her primary campaign platform is to reform the broken immigration system.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

When Cisneros was 7 years old, she witnessed Mexican families crossing the border, and “would see that they were terrified.” She tells The New York Times that even then, at 7 years old, she couldn’t see the difference between those families, and her own. She knew she would become a lawyer, and went on to serve immigrants trying to navigate the complicated immigration system. As a practicing lawyer, it was a horrible pill to swallow to learn that there isn’t much she can do to help grant her clients asylum as a lawyer. The laws don’t exist to allow lawyers to effectively serve their clients.

I realized that if the laws are the problem, then I am going to have to go to Congress to fix that,” she tells The New York Times.

She’s experienced the failing healthcare system first-hand and wants to change it.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

Cisneros’s parents used to live across the bridge in Nuevo Laredo, México, but when her older sister needed medical care only available in the United States, they moved to Laredo, Texas. Soon after, Jessica was born. Her father, a farmworker, started a produce trucking business while her mom took care of the children. Still, she continued to see how her sister wasn’t able to get the urgent medical care she needed. Cisneros’s campaign aims to grant Medicare for all to “all who call America home.” She wants to scrap copays, deductibles, and premiums.

Cisneros wants to create a “renewable economy through solar and wind.”

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

The Green New Deal is arguably AOC’s most ambitious and urgent proposal during her Congressional term. While donning a “Green New Deal” shirt, Cisneros captions the social media photo with her own local campaign for a “big bold plan like the Green New Deal.”The Rio Grande River is the lifeblood and only source of water for our border community,” she posts. “We must improve infrastructure that will clean our water and sustain our community far into the future,” she writes, adding that such an industry would “provide a new wave of jobs for our district.”  

AOC’s endorsement is huge, but Cisneros is committed to being “the first Jessica Cisneros.”

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

As far as being compared to AOC as a young Latina, Cisneros tells The New York Times, “People think because I am a young Latina who is trying to help the Democratic Party I am just like her. I have a lot of admiration for her, but that doesn’t mean we’re the same. I am trying to be the first Jessica Cisneros, and just do that well.” Still, AOC’s endorsement has invited supporters like Tere Schaefer to tweet, “Thank you AOC! I sure hope @JCisnerosTX  joins #TheSquad in the next term. I don’t live in TX but I’ll donate to her.”

Cisneros has also been endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the Justice Democrats. You can donate to her campaign here.

READ: AOC’s Average Priced Haircut Has Set Off A Twitter Storm On The Right But She’s Clapping Back

Andrew Yang Didn’t Make The Last Democratic Debate, So Why Is He Trending So Hard?

Things That Matter

Andrew Yang Didn’t Make The Last Democratic Debate, So Why Is He Trending So Hard?

andrewyang2020 / Instagram

With the recent withdrawal of Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Julián Castro from the Democratic race, only one candidate of color remains: Asian-American entrepreneur Andrew Yang. The 2020 field made history as the most diverse to ever occupy a Democratic primary, and with Yang as the last POC standing, an undeniably homogenous (read: white) top tier looms on the horizon.

But it doesn’t have to! Yang is gaining some serious traction among young voters, raising more than $10 million of grassroots funding in the third quarter alone. And although he did not qualify for this month’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Yang dominated the trending section on Twitter as the event unfolded.

According to data from analytics firm Sprout Social, two of the top three trending hashtags were Yang-related: 12,221 tweets landed #YangGang in the No. 3 spot, while 24,244 tweets put #AmericaNeedsYang at No.1. ABC also reported Yang as the fourth most-tweeted-about candidate that night. And while it may seem a bit trite, this is a big deal—Andrew Yang wasn’t even present at the debate, yet he was so central to the conversation that his numbers superseded those of the candidates who actually made it to the stage.

And tbh, for someone who began as a truly fringe candidate—with no political experience to his name—Yang’s rising popularity is particularly noteworthy.

Credit: Gretchen Ertl / Reuters

While he still lags a few places behind forerunners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, Yang is finally starting to garner more attention among constituencies and in the media (according to the GDELT Project’s Television News Archive, Yang only received 2,065 media mentions in all of 2019, as compared to an average of 43,331 for Biden, Warren, and Sanders). To be sure, a lot would have to happen for Yang to break into the top four, but that potential is definitely growing as he gains more exposure across the country.

In conjunction with his broadening reach, it turns out that Yang’s policies appeal to a wide variety of voters, proving the #YangGang to be especially diverse. In a poll from Morning Consult—which surveyed more than 13,000 likely Democratic voters—Yang emerged with the largest share of supporters under the age of 45, most of whom are male and many of whom are Asian-American. While he hasn’t garnered as much attention from conservatives and Trump supporters as competitor Tulsi Gabbard, several voters from these groups gravitate toward Yang because he, like Trump, is a successful businessman—not a politician—and they believe that his lack of political experience might actually be beneficial to making innovative and necessary changes. Plus, he’s caught the attention of an ever-growing list of celebrities, with endorsements from comedian Dave Chappelle, billionaire Elon Musk,  actress Teri Hatcher and the indefinable Donald Glover, who’s been hired as a creative consultant for the Yang campaign.

But maybe you still don’t know much about Andrew Yang. You might be wondering: What is the hype about? Why is Yang so appealing to los jovenes? What is so radical about his platform, and why should I pay attention?

Of course, the answers to these questions are lengthy and nuanced, so we’ll try to highlight some of the most essential details here.

Yang’s background as a tech entrepreneur underscores his emphasis on the rapid development of automation in the workforce. He posits that automation threatens certain jobs as well as overall economic stability, and in response to his forecast of impending job displacement, he has proposed what he calls the “Freedom Dividend”: a universal basic income of $1000/per month to every US adult.

Credit: Getty Images

As the son of two Taiwanese immigrants, Yang supports DACA and wants to repeal Section 1325—the section of immigration law that makes illegally crossing the border a criminal offense. He has said that immigrants are often scapegoated for “stealing jobs,” but we should “blame machines” for that.

Credit: Yang Family

He affirms the undeniable influence of the internet, and is the only candidate to emphasize the importance of legislation that deals with data protection rights—asserting that users should have property rights to their data.

Credit: Joseph Cress / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Yang’s awareness of internet culture may be the reason he is resonating with so many young people. A master of memes and merch, Yang is taking advantage of all the media platforms he can, savvily navigating the digital world to extend his reach across the nation.

Credit: CBS Los Angeles

Of course, Andrew Yang’s campaign is much more extensive than what is listed above. As the Democratic race continues, this political outsider will continue to stand out from the rest—and not just because he’s the last candidate of color in the running. With a slogan like #HumanityFirst, it makes sense that people from all camps and demographics are flocking to Yang’s rallies to hear what he has to say about our country’s long list of issues.

25 Years After Her Death, A San Antonio Art Museum Is Displaying Some Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Selena

Entertainment

25 Years After Her Death, A San Antonio Art Museum Is Displaying Some Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Selena

mcnayart / Instagram

If you’ve already given up on 2020, you’re wrong. This year will mark 25 years since beloved Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar. Of course, knowing the singer would have turned 49 years old this year is horribly tragic. However, the legal magic of ’25’ means that copyright law from her last year of life is about to expire. For the first time, some of the last photos taken of Selena are on public display at a San Antonio art museum. Photographer John Dyer had the privilege of photographing Selena for her cover shoot for Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995. Dyer has allowed for both sets of photographs to be put on display, and the contrast in her mood is striking. 

The second set of photographs was taken just months before her murder. 

Book your flights to Texas, and buy your tickets, mi gente!

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

There isn’t a look or photograph of Selena that a child hasn’t dressed up as for Halloween, that a Guarcado plushie hasn’t donned, or that the public hasn’t revered. From Selena’s purple jumpsuit to her fire red lipstick, everything the artist has done has become part of the Mexican-American zeitgeist. And yet… Selena is still giving us more to take in. The signature piece of the exhibit features the 23-year-old star wearing a sequined bustier and high waisted black pants, black patent leather heels firmly planted on a black and white tile checkered floor with a red curtain in the backdrop. 

The photo is so iconic that the museum has reconstructed a look-a-like set for visitors to take their own Selena-inspired photos.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

The exhibit, named in both English and Spanish “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena,” is on view at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio’s first modern art museum. “The exhibition pays tribute to ’90s icon, singer, designer, and Texas legend—Selena Quintanilla-Pérez—with a series of five photographs by award-winning San Antonio photographer John Dyer. Selena was the subject of Dyer’s photo assignments for the cover of Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995, just months before she was tragically killed at age 23,” the museum states.

The photographer noticed how much more muted Selena was in the shoot months before her death compared to three years prior.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

In an interview with Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, Dyer recalls how “she drove up by herself in her little red hatchback and parked in front of my studio” the first time they met in 1992, as Selena’s career was beginning to take off. “She jumped out of her car with a big smile,” and brought in her hand-made, self-designed performance costumes. The checkered floor print was taken during that first shoot. He recalls that “Selena’s quick smile, infectious laugh, and unending energy made her a pleasure to work with. This was in 1992.”

By early 1995, Selena was at the peak of her international fame when Texas Monthly hired Dyer to do another photoshoot. “She had just finished two exhausting days of shooting TV commercials for a corporate sponsor. She was tired. I had brought a beautiful hand-made jacket for her to wear. I posed her in the alcove on the mezzanine of the theater where the light is particularly nice. She was subdued and pensive. A far cry from the ebullient, excited young singer I’d photographed 3 years earlier. Later I thought her mood might have been an eerie harbinger of what was to come,” Dyer concluded. We may never know what was going on in the emotional world of Selena on that day — if tensions were rising with Saldivar, or if she was simply an exhausted superstar.

Between the time of the shoot and the magazine cover release, Selena was murdered.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

The magazine decided to use “one of the more somber shots” Dyer captured for the magazine cover which ended up becoming a story that chronicled her death. “It’s a cover I would rather not have had,” Dyer recalled. Tejanos and Selena superfans alike, Selena is waiting for you.

The “Selena Forever/Selena Siempre” exhibit is on display at San Antonio’s The McNay Modern Art Museum for the price of general admission ($20). The exhibit dates are Jan. 15, 2020, to July 5, 2020. Selena Forever/Siempre Selena is organized by the McNay Art Museum, curated by Kate Carey, Head of Education.

Pro tip: The museum is open for free on Thursdays from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

READ: The Comments in This Photo That Chris Perez Shared of Selena Proves That Her Fandom is Truly Timeless