Things That Matter

Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

Ahead of CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall on Wednesday in New York, Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro released his own version of the Green New Deal called the “People and Planet First Plan.” The former San Antonio Mayor is planning to “direct $10 trillion in federal, state, local, and private investments” over the next decade that his campaign estimates will create 10 million jobs over the next 10 years. 

“People do not live their lives in silos and so our plan is intersectional,” Castro said in his proposal. “We will build a 100 percent clean energy economy that both combats the climate crisis and tackles structural inequality.”

Here is what you need to know about Castro’s ambitious environmental policy plan.  

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At the core of Castro’s environmental policy is combating and reducing greenhouse gas emissions until the U.S. achieves net-zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. Castro also says that his first executive action if elected will be to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. Over the course of the next decade, Castro is also calling for the reduction of carbon emissions by moving from fossil fuels to clean energy.

“Right now, the climate crisis is already devastating our communities, our homes, and our families,” Castro said in his policy proposal. “Severe storms, deadly hurricanes, massive floods, extreme droughts, and wildfires are now a normal occurrence, destroying homes and businesses, and shrinking our economy.”

Castro is billing his plan as “ambitious and achievable” while the cost of it puts him in the middle of other democratic candidates when it comes to money put forth. Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke rank towards the lower end with environmental proposals that cost close to $2 trillion and $5 trillion, respectively. Bernie Sanders is near the top as he has called for a $16.3 trillion investment. 

For Castro, it’s not about the cost of these investments but what is at stake if no action is taken.  

A key part of Castro’s proposal is putting an end to “environmental racism” which predominately affects communities of color. 

Credit: @lcvoters / Twitter

If elected president, Castro says said he would propose legislation to combat environmental racism, a form of discrimination where various communities of color are forced to live near environmentally dangerous areas like hazardous waste sites. Castro said he’d do this by bringing forth new civil rights bills such as requiring all federal actions to be reviewed for environmental and health impacts on these low-income and marginalized communities.

“In my administration, we will invest in environmental justice and climate resilience with an emphasis on frontline communities,” Castro writes. “People who are at the forefront of combating climate change, and families who have borne the unequal burden of pollution.”

Castro’s proposed bill would also further strengthen the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to go after polluters who do such harm. It would also give communities and individuals more power to file legal action against companies who have caused pollution and have had a heavy impact on communities of color.

Here is some of what Castro had to say during the CNN Town Hall. 

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Castro was the first Democratic presidential candidate at the CNN climate town hall which meant he had to set the tone of the evening early. He made an effort to point out many themes in his climate change proposal by emphasizing and calling climate change “an existential threat”. 

Castro drew applause from members of the audience when he mentioned the rejoining of the Paris Climate Agreement. He says beyond just the rejoining the agreement again, “it’s actually what comes next that is most important.” There would be an imposed fee on carbon pollution and an executive order banning fossil fuel exploration and development on public lands, Castro said. 

Another moment of applause came when Castro discussed some of his prior work as the nation’s housing chief. He reminded people of his past commitment working side by side with low-income communities and helping protect them from environmental dangers and natural disasters. 

Castro also faced some criticism when it came to his prior support of fracking. 

There was also a tough moment for Castro when asked about his prior support of fracking. Sila Inanoglu, an activist from the Sunrise Movement, a liberal environmental group, asked Castro why he should be trusted to move the country away from fossil fuels when he supported fracking.

“She’s right. When I was mayor of San Antonio, I did believe that there were opportunities to be had with fracking that was going on in South Texas.” Castro responded. “The thing is back then almost a decade ago natural gas was described as a “bridge fuel, we’re coming to the end of the bridge.”

While Castro said he isn’t calling for an immediate ban on fracking in the U.S., he supports the communities and people who are willing to put an end to the practice to move to cleaner sources. He also said he supports a plan for climate education be taught in schools at a young age. In an attempt to fight deforestation, Castro also hopes to plant 30 billion trees by 2050, or roughly 1 billion trees a year.

READ: Trump’s Plan To End Birthright Citizenship Could Mean More Bureaucracy And More Taxes For All Americans

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Things That Matter

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

‘Saturday Night Live’ Excludes Julián Castro From Sketch And His Twin Brother Said He Could Have Played The Part

Entertainment

‘Saturday Night Live’ Excludes Julián Castro From Sketch And His Twin Brother Said He Could Have Played The Part

@natimontelongo / Twitter / Saturday Night Live / NBC

“Saturday Night Live” doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to people of color, specifically Latinos. In the show’s iconic history, which spans 44 years, the cast has mostly been white and male. In 2016, they finally hired a Latina to join the cast, which was a year after “SNL” decided to have Donald Trump host the show when he was running for president and calling Mexicans “rapists and criminals.” Latinos boycotted the show and they did receive backlash for allowing him to host. Yet, still “SNL” has yet to learn the importance of Latino representation and inclusion. 

On the season 45 premiere, “SNL” did a sketch that featured the Democratic presidential candidates but did not include Julián Castro and did include Marianne Williamson, who’s not in the running anymore. 

So why didn’t the have someone impersonating Castro? We know they don’t have any Latino comics on the show, however, they could have had their sole Latina comic Melissa Villaseñor put on a wig. She has played a man before. The sketch did include special guest stars including Maya Rudolf (who played Kamala Harris), and Larry David (who played Bernie Sanders). Could they have not asked former Latino “SNL” comics Fred Armisen or Horatio Sanz to play Castro?

“Interesting that @nbcsnl decided to cut one candidate out of this sketch. Could you not find a Latino actor to play @JulianCastro?” Sawyer Hackett, national press secretary for Castro’s campaign, tweeted. 

People on social media were livid at the exclusion of Castro and once again their dismissive attitude toward Latinos. 

Credit: @natimontelongo / Twitter

Was it too difficult for “SNL” to add one more actor to the stage, especially one that is still in the running — unlike Williamson? Lin-Manuel Miranda and his dad said they would have both stepped up to the plate to play the role of Castro. 

It’s as if “SNL” continues to make the wound even deeper by excluding the only Latino candidate. 

Credit: @latinovictoryus / Twitter

“SNL” knows very well that representation matters, so there’s no excuse for this exclusion. Are they doing this on purpose?

Maybe they think Castro’s persona isn’t funny enough to include in a parody?

Credit: @MrMikeBlake / Twitter

If “SNL” has talented writers they could have surely written something hilarious for an actor portraying Castro. We already have staggering facts that show film and TV excludes Latinos in overwhelming statistics, so you would think “SNL” (and all programming for that matter) would want to rectify that. Maybe they just don’t care?

“SNL” has a long history of dissing Latinos, so this just makes it worse.

Credit: @JuanSaaa / Twitter

Latino viewers and talent have been asking for more representation for several seasons now. There was celebration from fans when Melissa Villseñor was brought on in 2016.

Many people see their omission of Castro as the show disregarding Latinos.

Credit: @cristela9 / Twitter

This overt move by “SNL” actually made the skit not very funny but cringeworthy. The erasure of the only Latino running for the presidency was glaring.

You know “SNL” messed up bad when Latina moms get involved. 

Credit: @anabpez9 / Twitter

If you make Latina moms mad, asking for their forgiveness won’t be easy to do. Trust us. We have all been there. However, when you really try to make things up to them, they will accept it.

Since “SNL” screwed up the premiere, will they correct their huge mistake by the next episode?

Credit: @XorjeO / Twitter

There’s another debate coming up very soon, and if “SNL” is going to stay relevant in the political comedy stage they better include Castro or they will risk not only alienating a core audience but also looking like they can’t handle diverse comedy.

And, if “SNL” can’t find anyone to play Castro, there’s one person that will be happy to do it. 

Credit: @Castro4Congress / Twitter

Julian’s twin brother, Joaquin Castro — who’s pretty busy right now working on Capitol Hill himself — said he could step in and portray him on the show. We think he’d do a fabulous job because he clearly knows him best right?

Either way, “SNL” needs to get their act together. There’s no reason to exclude a strong candidate for president only to be replaced by a white woman who isn’t running for president anymore. It’s an obvious omission that “SNL” needs to stop. 

READ: New Latina “SNL” Cast Member Called Out Over Controversial Tweets