Things That Matter

Spurred By Anger At The Trump Administration, One Latina Entrepreneur Raised $9,000 For Migrant Children

When pictures emerged last week of the devastating conditions immigrant children were being subjected to at detention centers, Patty Rodriguez felt she couldn’t idly stand by. The images made such an impact on Rodriguez that she knew she had to do something to help the children any way she could.

In one weekend, the co-founder and author of bilingual children’s books Lil’ Libros mobilized her social media followers to raise over $9,000..

Credit: pattyrodriguez / Instagram

Rodriguez mobilized her 90,000 Instagram followers to raise enough money to send hundreds of pairs of shoes to a shelter in Texas. On June 28, Rodriguez saw a photo of a little boy about her son’s age, with a diaper completely soiled and wrapped in a foil blanket. The phot was enough to spur the entrepreneur into action.

“How are people debating this?” Rodriguez said while choking up during a phone interview with mitú.

Credit: pattyrodriguez / Instagram

“There’s no time to focus on that. I went on Zappos to buy shoes myself, and I thought I could purchase a handful myself, or ask my community on Instagram if they wanted to help,” Rodriguez said. “People want to help, they just don’t know how. There’s all this information that you can’t donate to detention centers, but there’s a loophole that you can donate to shelters, but people just don’t know that.”

The shoes are not the only way Rodriguez is using her platform to help the migrants. She recently teamed up with Super Mamá’s Bricia Lopez to raise money for RAICES.

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⁣ I can’t sit here and do nothing. ⁣ ⁣ We have seen the headlines. Migrant children being treated worse than animals. Living in the worst conditions, going days without showering and having a nutritious meal. Children as young as my little Oliver walking around soiled without diapers – having no one around to hold them and properly love and care for them. ⁣ ⁣ We have seen the horrendous images of a 2 year old and her father, having drowned after attempting to cross the border. ⁣ ⁣ My heart breaks. And I feel helpless. And I cannot continue to go about my life without trying to help and I think the best way right now is using our platforms. ⁣ ⁣ @bricialopez and I are coming together for a very intimate dinner with 100% of the proceeds— meaning, every penny will go to two foundations working around the clock to offering assistance to families and children at the border, @raicestexas and @thisisabouthumanity. I know many of you guys have asked how you can help. We hope that this dinner inspires you and encourages to help. ⁣ ⁣ This is your opportunity to pick our brains about anything and everything and help our children at the border. ⁣ ⁣ We will have drinks with you, dinner with you, we will even FaceTime your mom! ⁣ ⁣ Dinner will be at Bricia’s restaurant @laGuelaguetza on July 9 at 5p⁣. ⁣ Tag your friends. Let’s come together. We cannot continue seeing our black and brown children hurting and do nothing. ⁣ ⁣ Tickets are very limited and are $150, remember every penny will go to the organizations. ⁣ ⁣ You can purchase now by clicking link on my profile. ⁣ ⁣ And even if you can’t make it, I hope this inspires you to give what you can to the organizations mentioned above.

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“I called my girlfriend Bricia Lopez to do a dinner and use our platform to get people inspired. Within hours we had set up a website, it was $150 a ticket, and in less than 12 hours we had sold out. 100 percent of the proceeds go to RAICES,” she said.

RAICES is a non-profit legal services organization in Texas. They made national news when the migrant crisis started directly targeting children at the southern border. They offer legal aid to the migrants as they cross into the U.S. to guarantee the best outcome for their cases.

Rodriguez used the momentum from selling out her charity dinner in less than a day to push to do more.

Credit: pattyrodriguez / Instagram

“I saw a photo of a little girl, Afro-Latina, with foil blanket [strings] to tie her hair—things we take for granted. I got fired up and decided to put it [buying shoes] on Instagram Stories and show the receipts through the process,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez started posting on her Instagram Stories about buying shoes and asking her followers to help at 9 p.m. Friday night. By Saturday morning, her Venmo account had reached $7,000 with donations.


Credit: pattyrodriguez / Instagram

Sunday saw another outpouring of donations and her account hit $8,000. By Monday morning, $9,000 had been raised to help the children at the detention centers.

In total, Rodriguez estimates she was able to buy 50 pairs of high-quality shoes for every $1,000 raised. With $9,000, Rodriguez said she estimates Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande will be receiving close to 400 pairs of shoes.

Sizes ranging from toddler sizes to sizes for 15 to 16-year-olds will be shipped out and arriving as soon as this week.

“As a mother of two kids, I can’t sit down and do nothing. I spent Saturday on Zappos figuring out what’s the fastest way to get it done,” Rodriguez said.

No matter how small the action—or donation—Rodriguez sees it contributing to the good of the cause. Although some donors were writing to her that they didn’t think their $1 or $5 donation would do much but they wanted to help, she encouraged them by continuing to post on her stories that every dollar was helping a child get a new pair of much-needed shoes. 

Rodriguez calls it being the “granito de arena in a situation.” 

Credit: Instagram / pattyrodriguez

Tiny but mighty changes can make a big difference. When asked if a call for donations will happen again, Rodriguez said she is open to the opportunity.

“It’s spur-of-the-moment—that’s how I operate. I would like to think it’s something I can continue doing. Perhaps more streamlined—helping more shelters,” she said.

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Date night with my heart. @lafc

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Rodriguez said she is aware that as much as shelters are in need of basic necessities, they also don’t have enough hands. She continues to wonder what shelters may be in most need of besides shoes, and if it’s better to send money to the shelter or if sending over boxes of items is better.

“I haven’t thought that far,” Rodriguez said. “I want to continue helping because this situation won’t have a solution anytime soon. We have to continue advocating and continue collaborating as a community.”

While she said there’s not much we can do right now besides calling Congress, she still wants to encourage others to galvanize awareness.

“What we can do as a community is mobilizing to donate and help shelters where kids are being held,” she said.

Rodriguez said she hopes this inspires others to start their own donation drives within their own community, work, and a group of friends. When one granitode arena joins with another, it can be a sandstorm of change.

READ: All Of The Migrant Children That Have Been Killed At The U.S. Border

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#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

Things That Matter

#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

@salmahayek / Instagram

The 2020 election is heating up. There are a lot of hot button issues at stake from reproductive rights and affordable access to healthcare to climate change and civil rights. The Latino Victory Project is using their resources to get Latinas to commit to voting with the understanding that their children will inherit the world they leave behind. Here’s how.

The #VoteLikeAMadre campaign is just that, voting like a mother.

The campaign is getting people, specifically Latinas, to vote for their children. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing people during the 2020 elections. That is why #VoteLikeAMadre is asking for people to pinky promise a better future for their children using their ability to vote.

The campaign hinges on the most important promise you can make to your kids: a pinky promise.

A pinky promise is so important with the children, you know. We all remember making our parents make pinky promises to make things happen for us to to give us things we really wanted. They were unbreakable promises that you constantly reminded your parents of making.

People are already taking the pledge to vote for candidates who have plans to combat climate change.

An estimated 1 billion people live in areas that are being affected by climate change. These people could all become climate refugees by 2050. That is one-seventh of the world’s population being displaced because of climate change. Our actions now can help to mitigate some of the damage that scientists expect.

People of color are among the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the negatives affects of climate change.

Latinos, as well as other communities of color, put a lot of importance on the climate crisis. Environmental justice is an issue that Latinos have been fighting for as our communities are often subjected to negative climate and environmental issues. According to a Yale study on climate change, Latinos are the most concerned about the climate crisis and its impact.

Early voters are already following through with their promises to fight for the climate.

Fighting for the climate is the same as fighting for the children. It is not a surprise that those who are younger will be the ones to inherit and live on the planet longer. Actions now can either ruin or save the planet and its climate for the generations to come.

“Many people assume that the only people who really care about climate change are white, well-educated, upper-middle-income, latte-sipping liberals, and it’s just not true,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication told PBS. “Actually, the racial and ethnic group that cares more about climate change than any other is Latinos.”

You can learn more about #VoteLikeAMadre, go to their website.

You can learn more about the campaign and the fight to save the climate here. Share with us about what you want to see most in the next leaders of the U.S. by commenting below.

READ: American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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ICE Just Deported A Key Witness in A Sexual Assault Investigation Against Them

Things That Matter

ICE Just Deported A Key Witness in A Sexual Assault Investigation Against Them

According to the Texas Tribune, the key witness in the ongoing sexual assault investigation at an ICE detention center has been deported. She was previously being held at a Customs Enforcement detention center in El Paso, Texas.

While the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General initially forbid ICE from deporting her, the office apparently reversed their decision on Monday. According to reports, the office determined that “further interviews could be done over the phone”.

via Getty Images

According to previous reports, the unidentified 35-year-old woman alleged that guards had “forcibly kissed” her and touched her on the private parts.

Documents, which were extensively reported on by ProPublica, described the harassment as a “pattern and practice” at this particular detention center.

The woman also alleges that the guards would attempt to extort sexual favors from her and other detainees when they were returning from the medical unit back to her barrack. One guard allegedly told her that he would help get her released “if she behaved”.

The unnamed woman reported the harrasment to her lawyers who then filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. The DHS then opened an investigation into the ICE Detention Center in El Paso.

The FBI has, since then, interviewed the woman extensively. According to documents, the woman gave investigators a tour of the facility where she showed them where the alleged harassment took place–in what were identified as security camera “blind spots”.

According to her, the guard told her that if she reported him, “No one would believe her”.

via Getty Images

Since the woman made these accusations, at least two other women at the same detention center came forward with similar claims. One of these women has already been deported.

According to previous reports, the unnamed woman accusing ICE officials of sexual assault was being held at the El Paso detention center for a drug-related crime and illegally entering the country. She claims she initially fled Mexico after a cartel member sexually assaulted and threatened her.

While ICE says that they have “zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse or assault against individuals in the agency’s custody”, the reality is much bleaker.

According to the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants, ICE has had 14,700 complaints filed against them between 2010 and 2016 alleging sexual and/or physical abuse.

In the most recent statistics available, ICE reported 374 formal accusations of sexual assault in 2018. Forty-eight of those were substantiated by the agency and 29 were still pending an investigation. According to Freedom for Immigrants, only a fraction of these complaints are investigated by the Office of Inspector General.

The woman’s lawyer, Linda Corchado, has not been shy about expressing her displeasure over her client’s deportation.

“[The government] allowed their most powerful witness to be deported,” Corchado said. “How can we possibly take this investigation seriously now or ever pretend that it ever was from the outset?”

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