Things That Matter

A New Study Finds Latinos Believe In The American Dream But That It Has Become Too Hard To Achieve

Latinos are very optimistic and generally happy people — it’s actually been scientifically proven. Despite the troubles we face, we tend to look on the bright side and hope for the best, which is why the results of a study conducted by the Pew Research Center about the American Dream isn’t all that surprising. Even with the kind of rhetoric from the White House and hate from so many people, Latinos believe that hard work is the key to success in the U.S.

While the majority of Latinos believe that with hard work they can achieve success, less than half feel like they can acquire the “American Dream.”

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The definition of the “American Dream” can vary depending on who you ask. Generally speaking it means attaining a good paying job, with benefits and owning a home for you and your family.

The 2016 study shows that 77 percent of Latinos say “most people can get ahead with hard work.” Interestingly enough, Latinos — more than any other group — are optimistic about the “American Dream.”

Furthermore, 75 percent of Latinos say that their way of life right now is a huge improvement from that of their parents. Seventy-two percent say their children’s lives will also be better than their parents. Of the rest of the general public — about 56 percent — say they are better off than their parents and only 46 percent feel like their kids lives will be an improvement from their own.

About 51 percent of Latinos feel like they have already gained the “American dream.” However, 74 percent say attaining the “American Dream” is too difficult.

More findings show that Latinos are making strides — at least now in the current booming economy. New census data released this week shows that Latino households are seeing an increase in their income.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the “median income for Hispanic households rose 3.7 percent in 2017, to $50,486, adjusted for inflation.” These figures show a 20 percent continuing trend that income in Latino households continues to increase for the past five years.

Another Pew Research survey shows findings that correlate to the higher income figures, and that the number of unemployed Latinos has reached a historic low. While the number shows that Latino unemployment rate is currently at 4.7 percent, the data also shows that Latinos have not fully recovered from the recession.

All of this data goes to show that Latinos are truly living better and more productive lives in this country. In the face of anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric, Latinos continue to push for better lives within the U.S.


READ: My Parents Made Way Less Money Than I Do, But This Is How They Managed Their Budget To Raise 5 Kids

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Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

Things That Matter

Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

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Eviction is a terrifying prospect. Even more so amid a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Imagine losing your house – a place you’ve called home with your family for months or even years. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that millions are facing as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy, millions are plunged into unemployment, and millions more struggle to make ends meet – including the most basic necessity of paying the rent.

Several cities and states have enacted temporary rent freezes or holds on evictions but landlords are still threatening their renters with evictions. Some of the most vulnerable communities – such as undocumented residents – are left feeling hopeless and with no where to turn since they may be afraid to seek legal help and have less access to government-funded resources. As a result, many undocumented residents are choosing to self-evict rather than risk going up against a hostile legal system.

A new report details how many undocumented migrants are choosing to self-evict instead of fighting back.

The Texas Tribune published a feature story on a hard-to-track aspect of the coronavirus pandemic: Undocumented immigrants are “self-evicting” from apartments, even while eviction moratoriums are in place, out of fear of retribution. 

“On paper, an undocumented tenant has the same rights as anyone else during the eviction process,” the report says. “But housing attorneys and tenant and immigration advocates say undocumented immigrants are frequently hesitant to exercise those options. Their fear of the legal system and lack of access to government-funded financial help prompt many to self-evict, or prematurely leave the property.”

In some cases, undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for certain government assistance programs that could help them keep up with rent or remain in their homes, the report says. In other cases, some are afraid to seek assistance because they don’t want to attract attention from immigration officials, according to the report.

Because of that, some undocumented immigrants choose to leave their homes even before a formal eviction is filed, turning to family members and community organizations for emergency housing. Immigrants have also lost their jobs at higher rates during the pandemic than other groups.

The legal system is a hostile one towards undocumented residents and help perpetuate fear in the community.

As the Coronavirus pandemic’s economic effects began to be felt across the country, many renters found temporary relief in eviction moratoriums, federal pandemic relief payments, unemployment checks and rental assistance programs. Undocumented migrants, though, either don’t qualify for such aid or are afraid that merely seeking it will alert immigration authorities to their presence in a country whose president has called some immigrants “animals,” makes racist remarks and consistently tries to create barriers for migrants.

Meanwhile, courthouses are intimidating places. And the mere idea that ICE officials are sometimes present in them (and they have indeed arrested undocumented immigrants who have shown up for court hearings that a unrelated to their immigration status) has left many too fearful to even attempt a legal challenge to a potential eviction.

For some, it’s also a language barrier as not all legal systems provide bilingual services.

In the report, Adriana Godines, of Dallas Area Interfaith, says that “When they want to ask for help from a nonprofit, and the staff only speaks English, they feel intimidated and don’t want to go on.” She adds “Even if I tell them that there will be no problem and they won’t ask for your Social Security, they prefer not to [ask for help].”

And even people who go to the justice of the peace courts, where eviction cases are heard, face similar hurdles.

“A lot of JP courts won’t have bilingual speakers,” said Lizbeth Parra-Davila, a housing fellow at the University of Texas School of Law. “Throughout Texas, that has been the case where I’ll call JP courts and they’ll say, ‘Yeah, we don’t have any Spanish speakers. We don’t have any Spanish interpreters.”

However, there are resources out there for undocumented residents facing evictions.

Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Getty Images

States from California to Connecticut have implemented varying degrees of aide to undocumented immigrants within their states. In Connecticut for example, the state has issued a $1 million fund aimed at supporting immigrants with rent payments. In California, the state is working to make unemployment benefits available to undocumented residents, which would go a long way in helping people pay their rent. The state has also launched a fund that provides up to $1,000 in financial assistance to undocumented residents in the state. You can learn more here.

NAKASEC’s Emergency Mutual Aid Fund will provide up to $500 in financial assistance, you can find the application here.

There are many other programs available to the community in states all across the country. Several resources are detailed further at InformedImmigrant.com.

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Has Brought Us Some Serious Talent But These Are Our Favorite Latino Judges In Herstory

Entertainment

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Has Brought Us Some Serious Talent But These Are Our Favorite Latino Judges In Herstory

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

It’s no secret that drag and, in particular, drag queens have made their way into the mainstream. Much of their success is easily attributed to the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has helped catapult hundreds of queens into the spotlight.

The show, which is now in it’s 12 regular season (plus countless spinoffs), has one eight Emmy Awards – but above all else, it’s helped create a community for LGBTQ persons who hadn’t grown up seeing people like them on TV. So many people say that the show has helped them accept their identities. It’s also helped launch the careers of dozens of drag queens.

It’s no surprise then, that the show has also attracted some of the biggest names in entertainment – from Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga to Ricky Martin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, several high-profile judges have helped judge the completion for their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.

Mike Ruiz

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Mike Ruiz was a tasty addition to the regular lineup of ‘Drag Race’ judges – having made several appearances over the course of the show. Although he hasn’t returned since season 6. He often launched the season with a photoshoot in which he had to find the perfect shot of each queen.

Maria Conchita Alonso

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

The Cuban-born telenovela star made her debut on Drag Race in the very first season of the show – where she helped judge the first ever ball. She made her way back to Drag Race during season 5, where she came back to coach the queens on their telenovela acting skills alongside Wilmer Valderrama. It’s obvious this two-time guest judge has a special place in her heart for drag!

Rosie Perez

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

The Acadamy Award-nominated actress also made her Drag Race debut on the show’s very first season, where she helped judge the first ever girl group competition. She judged alongside Mary Wilson and the duo were definitely one of the season’s highlights.

Jessica Alba

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Jessica Alba was one of the biggest-named actresses to appear as a judge – especially in the earlier seasons. She made her debut on Drag Race in season 7, which was jam packed full of big name guest judges – Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Mel B – just to name a few.

Jessica Alba didn’t disappoint fans on her visit to the show either having fun with the queens as they shot their parody music video. The winner of the episode – Kennedy Davenport – also scored a three year supply of products from Alba’s The Honest Company.

Demi Lovato

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Another season 7 judge, Demi Lovato’s appearance on the show left the queens gagged. She appeared in the season just two episodes after Ariana Grande had been on so the queens were being treated to some of the biggest names in pop.

Demi Lovato was joined by guest judge John Waters – who’s iconic films inspired the episodes maxi-challenge, of which Ginger Minj won. For the lip synch – between Miss Fame and Pearl – the queens got to perform Demi Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care.”

Christina Aguilera

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Getting none other than Christina Aguilera (a.k.a. Xtina) to appear in the premiere episode of season 10 (a.k.a. season X) was definitely a very clever idea. Besides, Christina Aguilera has been considered an important LGBTQ+ ally since her music video for “Beautiful,” which featured same-sex relationships during a time when this was not necessarily trendy for popstars to do.

On Drag Race, Christina Aguilera was more than willing to have fun. She even did a bit in which she pretended to be season 9 contestant Farrah Moan (who many believe looks like the singer). Overall, Xtina did not disappoint Drag Race fans!

Guillermo Díaz

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Cuban-American actor Guillermo Díaz made his Drag Race debut in season 11 on the third episode, alongside pop star Troye Sivan. The two were there to help judge one of my favorite maxi-challenges to date – the teams had to select a pop diva to worship in their TV evangelist show.

In the lip synch challenge, the bottom six queens lip synced to Jennifer Lopez’s “Waiting for Tonight” and it was everything.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Drag Race was one of the most revolutionary shows when it first started. Here were drag artists going on national TV and performing their art form, when it was still considered extremely taboo. Times have changed, thankfully, and so much so that one of the nation’s leading politicians made a guest judge appearance on the show. Enter: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made her debut on the show during season 12, episode 7.

This episode featured by far the very best ‘rusical’ every performed on the show – honoring pop queen Madonna. AOC was very visibly into the performance and gave plenty of constructive criticism and praise to the queens. She even snuck backstage during the taping of Untucked to have more one-on-one time with the queens, and reminding them of the power of their art form and their voice.

Ricky Martin

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars’ Season 5 is already a hit with fans and maybe Ricky Martin had something to do with it. Fans are loving him on the judges’ panel and didn’t hold back from expressing their love for him. The Puerto Rican singer-actor watched every performance with equal enthusiasm and awe — especially the last one where queen India Ferrah and lip-sync assassin Yvie Oddly battled it out in the elimination. 

And pretty much all of Twitter agreed that Ricky Martin has only gotten better with age – calling him the ultimate trade of ‘All Stars’ Season 5.

Did we miss any of your favorite judges? Or who would you like to see make a guest appearance on Drag Race?

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