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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Ted Cruz is Roasted On Twitter After Posting Bizarre Video Saying He Was ‘Heckled’ at the Border By Cartel Members

Things That Matter

Ted Cruz is Roasted On Twitter After Posting Bizarre Video Saying He Was ‘Heckled’ at the Border By Cartel Members

Photo via Twitter

Ted Cruz is, once again, in the headlines. The Texas senator took a break from feuding with celebrities on Twitter to take another trip to Mexico. But this time around, Rafael Cruz wasn’t fleeing his state for a quick Cancun getaway.

This past weekend, Senator Cruz took a trip to the U.S./Mexico border along with 18 other Republican senators. Their mission, ostensibly, was to shine a light on what they deem to be a “border crisis”.

Instead, what ended up grabbing headlines was Ted Cruz’s bizarre documentary-style video of the trip that he released on Twitter.

Surrounded by tall grass, Ted Cruz addresses the camera in hushed tones, much like he was hosting a nature documentary. “So it’s past midnight. I’m standing on the shore of the Rio Grande. I’m down at the Texas border along with 18 senators who made the trip to see the crisis that is playing out.”

In the grainy video, he continues: “On the other side of the river we have been listening to and seeing cartel members – human traffickers – right on the other side of the river waving flashlights, yelling and taunting Americans, taunting the border patrol.”

Later, Ted Cruz also visited a migrant shelter and attempted to film the migrants for his social media posts.

A worker intercepted Senator Cruz and repeatedly asked him to respect the migrants and stop filming. “Please respect the rules sir, and give the people dignity and respect,” says the woman. “Full heartedly I ask you, please respect the people. This is not a zoo, sir, please don’t treat the people as such.”

Indignant, Sen. Cruz refused to comply. “You were instructed to ask us to not have any pictures taken here, because the political leadership at DHS does not want the American people to know,” he responds.

Despite Rafael Cruz‘s goal of bringing attention to what’s happening at the border, his nature documentary ended up being what really captured the internet’s attention.

As is usual with Rafael Cruz, the internet couldn’t help but see his Crocodile Dundee-style documentary as the ploy that it was. And because Rafael is so easy to drag, that’s exactly what the internet did.

Mainly, Twitter mocked Ted Cruz for the irony of him being in Mexico when he was just there weeks ago under very, very different circumstances.

The jokes kept coming…

And coming…

And coming.

The bottom line is, Ted Cruz never publicly cared about the huminitatirna crisis of border camps (which, by the way, are problematic) when Trump was president.

But now, Ted Cruz is using the increased migrant numbers as an opportunity to virtue signal and fan the flames of fear among Americans. As Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar said, Cruz’s Rio Grande trip was “political theater”.

“These are people who are about to engage in political theater, use the border as a prop, [and] do a whole lot of complaining and finger-pointing,” she said in a recent podcast interview. “But these are the same people who’ve been in the Senate for a number of years.”

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Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

Things That Matter

Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

As the United States ramps up its vaccination program (with more than two million people getting vaccinated each day), many Americans are eager to get that jab in the arm. But who is eligible varies from state to state and sometimes even county to county.

Despite the different eligibility thresholds in each state (depending on age group or risk factors), there is no immigration requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level. However, not all places are following that guideline and some undocumented residents are being incorrectly turned away.

The pharmacy chain Rite Aid is apologizing after two undocumented residents were denied vaccines.

The giant pharmacy chain Rite Aid has apologized to two undocumented immigrants who the company said were “mistakenly” denied COVID-19 vaccinations at Southern California stores. However, since then, the two women have been invited back by Rite Aid to get their vaccinations and the chain has issued an apology.

Rite Aid spokesperson Christopher Savarese described both cases as “isolated” incidents resulting from workers at the stores not following established protocols for vaccine eligibility. The employees will be re-educated on the protocols to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In a statement later sent to ABC News, Rite Aid officials said, “In such an unprecedented rollout, there are going to be mistakes and there will be always areas for providers to improve — we’re seeking out those opportunities every day.”

Savarese added, “This is very important to us that this is corrected. Both of the situations that we’re talking about have been resolved, and both of those people will be getting their vaccine at Rite Aid.”

To clarify, just who is eligible for the vaccine at this moment?

Although vaccine eligibility does vary from state to state, even county to county, there is nothing requiring that someone prove their immigration status to receive a vaccine. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, who represents Los Angeles, told ABC News that the legal immigration status of a person is not supposed to interfere with them getting vaccinated.

“That is not a requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level, and that organization (Rite Aid) has been told very clearly that that was wrong, and they immediately apologized for doing so, but it left the woman very distraught,” Cárdenas told KABC of Rager’s employee.

On Feb. 1, the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that the agency and its “federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants.”

“It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the DHS statement reads.

However, the confusion over whether undocumented immigrants qualify to receive vaccine has continued to occur not only in Southern California, but elsewhere in the country. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley issued an apology to at least 14 people who were rejected Feb. 20 at its vaccination site because they could not provide proof of U.S. residency.

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