Things That Matter

Rep. Henry Cuellar Defeats Progressive Challenger Jessica Cisneros In Texas

Jessica Cisneros conceded the race for Texas’s 28th Congressional District to incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar. The young progressive was once an intern for Rep. Cuellar in Washington and wanted to unseat him to bring progressive ideas to Congress.

Update: Progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros conceded her congressional race to her primary opponent Rep. Henry Cuellar.

Despite the defeat, Cisneros is claiming a victorious because of the power the grassroots campaign had in southern Texas. In her concession speech, Cisneros praised her supporters and staff for making a difference in Texas politics through her campaign.

“I think one thing is clear, that our movement was victorious tonight,” Cisneros told supporters. “That’s because this fight has always been about an opportunity to prove how one of us, a brown girl from our community, with her whole community behind her, could take on an entire machine.”

Rep. Cuellar secured 51.8 percent of the vote which translates to 38,720 votes. Cisneros received 35,964 votes.

Jessica Cisneros is running for Congress to unseat Rep. Henry Cuellar.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

The 26-year-old immigration and human rights attorney is fighting to unseat a politician she once worked for. Cisneros worked for Rep. Cuellar in Washington as an intern answering calls and dealing with constituents’ requests. Now, the young Latina from Laredo, Texas is going to be on the ballot Tuesday trying to unseat him.

“It took me having to go to Washington to figure out how conservative he was,” Cisneros told BuzzFeed News. “I think about that experience a lot, because I get it when we go up to people’s doors and all of a sudden we, you know, hit them with the facts and what the congressman’s been up to, [and] many, many people don’t know.”

Cisneros is one of the many new faces recruited and promoted by Justice Democrats.

Justice Democrats is an organization that is working to elect more people to Congress to fight for working-class issues. According to the website, Justice Democrats is committed to recruiting, training, and election candidate who will fight for issues like “skyrocketing inequality, catastrophic climate change, deepening structural racism as the country becomes more diverse, and the corporate takeover of our democracy.”

Justice Democrats is the same organization the helped get Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez elected in 2018.

Credit: justicedemocrats / Instagram

Cisneros represents the generational change in ideology that can be seen across the political spectrum in the Latino community. Cisneros is in favor of Medicare For All and the Green New Deal, two things that are popular with younger voters.

Rep. Henry Cuellar’s campaign is being dismissive of Cisneros as a viable candidate to unseat the incumbent.

Credit: repcuellar / Instagram

According to the Buzzfeed News article, Rep. Cuellar’s team canceled a scheduled phone interview after insisting that they will not answer any questions that were in response to Cisneros.

“We’re not allowing a 26-year-old young lady who’s never done anything question the character of a dedicated public servant,” Colin Strother, a spokesperson for the campaign, told BuzzFeed News.

Rep. Cuellar is considered “Trump’s favorite Democrat” because of his voting record during Trump’s first two years in office.

Credit: repcuellar / Instagram

According to FiveThirtyEight, Rep. Cuellar voted with President Trump 75 percent of the time. FiveThirtyEight is known for their polling science and, according to them, Rep. Cuellar should only be voting with President Trump 10 percent of the time based on the needs and demands of his constituents. Despite this information, Rep. Cuellar tried to argue that it isn’t that simple.

“If you look at my record here since I started here back in 2005, I’ve always been a centrist. If you want to use voting with the Democratic Party as a measure, you and I are going to be off completely because I was not sent to Washington to vote with the Democratic Party. I am a Democrat, but I don’t see my job as to vote with the Democratic Party. And I think any Democrat or Republican that votes their party, then I think they’re doing a disservice to their constituents,” Rep. Cuellar told FiveThirtyEight in a 2017 interview. “My district is about +7 Democratic, but it’s still a diverse district in many ways. I do better than most Democrats here even though I’m a moderate conservative Blue Dog and I still do very well here. My hometown of Laredo, the border area, I’ll get 90, 95, 98 percent of the vote, so I must be doing something right here.”

The real test will happen during Super Tuesday to see if Texas’s 28th Congressional District will continue with Rep. Cuellar or usher in a new progressive voice in Cisneros.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

Make sure you vote to make your voice heard this election.

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

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Things That Matter

Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Photo via Getty Images

Students at a high school in Aledo, Texas are being disciplined after the administration discovered they held a mock slave auction on Snapchat where they “traded” Black students.

Screenshots of the Snapchat group show that these unnamed students “bid” on students of color, ranging anywhere from $1 to $100.

One student in particular was priced at $1 because his hair was “bad”. The screenshot also shows that the group chat’s name changed regularly. The group’s name started as “Slave Trade” then changed to “N—-r Farm”, and finally to “N—– Auction”.

Upon learning of the mock slave auction, the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus’s principal wrote a note to parents explaining the situation. Principal Carolyn Ansley called the mock slave auction “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” which “led to conversations about how inappropriate and hurtful language can have a profound and lasting impact” on people.

Many people felt that the school principal downplayed the gravity of the mock slave auction. Not once did she mention the word racism in the letter that she sent out to parents.

“Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism… that is the piece that really gets under my skin,” said Mark Grubbs, father to three former Aledo ISD students, to NBC DFW. But Grubbs, along with many other Aledo parents and community members, say that the incident didn’t surprise them.

In fact, Grubbs said he had to take his children out of the Aledo ISD school system because of how much racist harassment his children were facing. “A lot of racism,” he said of his son’s experience at the school. “My son being called out of his name and what not and it got to the point he didn’t mind fighting and that didn’t sit right with me and my wife. My son was never a fighter.”

After the backlash to the initial statement, Superintendent Susan Bohn finally released a statement condemning the racism and “hatred” of the mock slave auction.

“There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period,’ Bohn wrote. “Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy.”

The problem with “policies” like these is they fail to target the issue of racism at the root. Hate speech may be “prohibited”, but if a child is displaying racist behavior for whatever reason, the bigger problem is the way that they have been educated and indoctrinated. Slave auctions have no place in 2021.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Things That Matter

Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Photo via Getty Images

The GOP’S voter-suppression tactics in Georgia have been gripping the nation. But now, the media is also turning its attention to other voter-suppression tactics in the rest of the country. Now, Texas Republicans are taking the heat.

According to Common Cause Texas, Texas Republicans are planning on recruiting thousands of volunteers create an “election integrity brigade”. They want the “brigade” to go into Black and brown neighborhoods in Houston and “fight voter fraud”.

A Texas GOP presentation was leaked that outlined plans to send an “army” of poll-watchers to Black and brown precincts.

“I’m trying to encourage and recruit, as a precinct chair, about 30 people in my precinct who will have the confidence and courage to come down in here…,” said an unnamed GOP official, pointing to majority non-white urban areas, “…in these areas where we really need poll-workers. Because this is where the problem is occuring.”

“So me finding poll-watchers out here, it helps, but it’s a pretty safe precinct”. He said this while pointing to majority-white Houston neighborhoods.

The video inspired outrage among people who saw these tactics as blatant attempts to suppress the voting rights of POC.

“The impetus for releasing [the video] right now is there are some bills in the legislature that seek to empower poll watchers in some really scary ways,” said executive director of Common Cause Texas, Anthony Gutierrez, to NBC News. “And also at the same time, take away the power of the presiding judge at the poll site from being able to remove a disruptive poll watcher.”

“It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” said Gutierrez to The Washington Post.

“This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. Why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?”

This “election integrity brigade” comes on the heels of a problematic election bill the Texas Senate just passed.

According to NBC News, the bill “bans overnight early voting and drive-thru early voting” and also “empowers partisan poll watchers.”

“It’s part of the intimidation, the confusion, the antics that (the Republican Party) has engaged in for so many generations that culminated in President Trump asking people to overturn the election,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to CNN.

“What they’re doing is filing bills that are essentially a poll tax that weaponize the election system against our own voters,” she continued. “And what they’re proposing is absolutely tragic and reminiscent of the worst of what we’ve seen in Texas and across the South since Reconstruction.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com