Things That Matter

A Latina Is Running To Be Mayor Of Salt Lake City And Her Views Are Slight Departures From Her Mormon Faith

For all the hardship and trauma inflicted on Latinos since Trump’s 2016 presidential victory, there has been an equal rise in Latinas giving voice to power through political office. The 2018 midterms gave Latinos a refreshing glimpse of hope for the future and has ignited a swell of women running for office.

Luz Escamilla has been ahead of that welcome uprising and is enjoying her third term as a Democratic Senator for Utah. Now, she’s running to become the mayor of the state’s capital, Salt Lake City. If she wins, she’d become the first person of color to represent the metropolitan city, a blue-voting population surrounded by a deep sea of red.

Luz Escamilla is a Mexican immigrant and was inspired to run for office in 2007, after a shockingly degrading policy move that treats first-generation Americans as second-class citizens.

Credit: luzformayor / Instagram

Escamilla was the director of the state Office of Ethnic Affairs when she listened to a Republican legislator dismiss equal education opportunities for “anchor babies” in a legislative committee hearing. The offensive term is used by anti-immigrant folks to describe American born children of noncitizen parents. She told The Salt Lake Tribune that she was in shock. Nobody in the room, including Democratic legislators, said anything.

Later, they told her that those children were not their “constituency.” She knew that Utah needed a representative who would adequately represent the most basic needs of marginalized immigrants.

Since 2000, the Latino population in Utah has doubled, making up 14 percent of Utah’s population.

Credit: luzformayor / Instagram

Latinos have flocked to Salt Lake City, a liberal hub in the otherwise deeply red state. Today, Latinos are the largest minority of Utah’s total population. As mayor, Escamilla will prioritize the families and children of Salt Lake City. She wants the city to help provide affordable, high-quality childcare for working parents, after school programs, and simplify access to healthcare by providing nurses and counselors to every Salt Lake City school.

Escamilla would also become the first Mormon to serve as Salt Lake City’s mayor in 30 years.

Credit: luzformayor / Instagram

While that fact may not be a problem for the rest of Utah, Salt Lake City residents are wondering how The Church of Latter-Day Saints’ belief system might be adapted as city policy. Like many practitioners of religion, Escamilla doesn’t see eye to eye on everything with her church. As Senator, she’s voted to ban conversion therapy, an effective hate crime against LGBTQ+ people. 

Knowing the LGBTQ+ community becomes leery after learning someone’s religion of choice discriminates against their basic rights, Escamilla has made a concerted effort during her campaign to ensure LGBTQ+ people know she’s on their side. Escamilla walked in SLC’s Pride Parade and tabled at the festival wearing a rainbow patterned serape. She’s also voted to loosen restrictions on alcohol sales.

Among her top three issues are clean air and homelessness.

Credit: luzformayor / Instagram

Homelessness is a multi-faceted issue, that Escamilla plans to tackle from SLC’s unique perspective. She wants to convene the forces of the public sector and non-profit and private sectors alike to share resources and research at getting to the root of the problem. In the meantime, her short-term plan is to invest in shelters and make more beds available during winter months.

As air pollution worsens, asthma rates skyrocket, and Escamilla wants to get at the source. Escamilla will first work towards creating a stronger public transportation system, which she calls “active transportation.” She hopes residents will feel more compelled to walk or ride than hop in their cars, reducing air pollution. Then, Escamilla will then redesign city-owned buildings to become as sustainable as possible while using as few resources as possible. 

Escamilla has been endorsed by many Democrats, including a March for Life co-founder.

Credit: luzformayor / Instagram

Escamilla was born in Tijuana, México, and moved to the United States in 1996. She finished high school in San Diego and moved to Utah to attend the University of Utah, where she majored in Business Marketing. She later earned a Master’s in Public Administration, after working in the nonprofit sector to help end domestic violence. Escamilla has since served 11 years in Congress and has passed legislation that creates after school programs, healthcare access and clean air for all. 

In a meet-and-greet reported by the Los Angeles Times, Escamilla told the crowd, “I’ve always had people tell me, ‘Voters will never elect a Mexican. They’ll never elect an immigrant. Now they’re bringing up my religion. People have been trying to put me in a box forever. It’s not going to work. I’m not just one thing.”

READ: Regina Romero Won The Democratic Primary In Tucson And Now Has The Chance To Be The City’s First Latina Mayor

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

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Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Months of investigations on Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani officially came to a head Wednesday morning.

The former New York City mayor’s dealings with Ukraine officials in 2019 have been under scrutiny for months by authorities who have been investigating allegations Giuliani lobbied for powerful Ukrainian interests. The investigations have also looked into claims that Giuliani also solicited the Ukrainian government for damaging information on President Joe Biden when he was running against Trump in the 2020 election.

There is also the matter of allegations that Giuliani attempted to find information on Biden’s son Hunter, who was part of the board of an energy company in Ukraine.

Federal investigators executed a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home on Wednesday morning.

The search was part of a criminal investigation into Giuliani‘s activities with Ukraine. According to The New York Times, “Prosecutors obtained the search warrants as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws as President Trump’s personal lawyer.”

Federal agents seized cellphones and other electronic devices as part of the investigation. The search warrant took place around 6 a.m. at Mr. Giuliani’s apartment on Madison Avenue and his Park Avenue office in Manhattan.

The execution of a search warrant against the former president’s lawyer is particularly shocking.

The warrant comes as a major development in the investigation that has been ongoing for some time and examines the former- mayor’s conduct during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“It was also a remarkable moment in Mr. Giuliani’s long arc as a public figure,” noted New York Times. “As mayor, Mr. Giuliani won national recognition for steering New York through the dark days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and earlier in his career, he led the same U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that is investigating him now, earning a reputation as a hard-charging prosecutor who took on organized crime and corrupt politicians.”

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