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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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Things That Matter

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Response To GOP House Candidate’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Joke Will Leave You Breathless

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Response To GOP House Candidate’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Joke Will Leave You Breathless

BRITTANY GREESON / GETTY

Dumb blonde jokes. They’re overwrought, trite, and pretty outdated. So it’s no surprise that one that came straight from the mouth of a GOP House candidate and directed at Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t go over so well.

GOP House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted a joke at Ocasio-Cortez’s expense on Twitter Monday and it failed miserably.

Greene, whose Georgia campaign is being supported by Donald Trump, attempted to hit at AOC’s intelligence on Monday in a tweet.

“As a blonde woman, I would like to take a moment to thank Congresswoman @AOC. She has single handily [sic] put an end to all ‘dumb blonde’ jokes. Blondes everywhere appreciate your service and your sacrifice!” Greene tweeted.

In response, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted Greene, writing, “Don’t worry Mrs. Greene, I completely understand why you need to swing + miss at my intellect to make yourself feel better. You seem to have some trouble spelling your own insults correctly. Next time try ‘single-handedly,’ it’ll work better.”

She signed off her tweet writing “Good luck writing legislation!”

It’s not the first time Greene has come for AOC and failed.

Greene attempted and failed to get under AOC’s skin earlier this month.

Facebook.com

In September, the candidate shared a photo of herself holding a rifle next to images of AOC and other Democratic lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to her Facebook page.

She captioned the post “Squad’s worst nightmare.” It was soon removed by Facebook who cited violations of its policies.

It didn’t take long for AOC’s supporters to strike back at Green to defend the congresswoman.

“Those who are jealous and envious of others typical attack those whom they envy because they need to feel important and try to gain some attention for themselves,” one user commented in the thread. “You are where you are @AOC because of your work and dedication. Mrs Greene knows she can’t compete so she attacks.”

According to People, “Greene has a track record of embracing false stories publicized by QAnon, a conspiracy theory-fueled group which alleges there’s a group of Democratic pedophiles operating around the country.”

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