Things That Matter

Candidates of Color on Their Way to Historic Wins

June 5th saw eight states head to the polls to vote for everything from Sheriffs to U.S. Senators. Those races had a lot of historic potential with candidates of color seeking to make history with unprecedented wins. Here’s who made it through to the November general election.

Kevin De Leon

Kevin de León grew up in the San Diego neighborhood of Logan Heights and was raised by his immigrant mother who supported her family by working as a housekeeper. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and later went on to become the first Latino Leader of the California Senate. de Leon came in second place in California’s top-two winner primary election system and will face first place winner, Dianne Feinstein.

After his primary win, de Leon said, “This race is a fight for California’s future…Real leadership is doing the right thing even when no one is watching – or running against you in an election.”

Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland is a former New Mexico Democratic State Party Chair, attorney, and former tribal administrator. She is a member of the Laguna-Pueblo Tribe and if she wins in November, she will be the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Congress in the 242 years since Native Americans were first colonized.

“Tonight, New Mexico made history,” Haaland said after her primary win, calling her victory a “victory for working people, a victory for women and a victory for everyone who has been sidelined by the billionaire class.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Michelle Lujan was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and grew up in Santa Fe, and serves New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. She is currently the Chair for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She won her primary putting her on track to become the first Democratic Latina Governor in U.S. history. She would succeed Susana Martinez, who is term-limited and was the first Republican Latina Governor in U.S. history.

Ricardo Lara

Ricardo Lara was raised by immigrant parents and in 2012 became the first openly gay person of color to be elected to the California Senate. If Lara wins the November election for Insurance Commissioner he would become the first openly gay statewide officer holder in California history.

“We must fight for our place at the table and show the world we have the right to pursue our dreams,” he said. “I look forward to working together with grassroots leaders to advance a progressive, inclusive and effective agenda for all and make history in California.”

Ammar Campa-Najjar

Ammar Campa-Najjar, 29, is running for Congress in California’s 50th district. He lived in San Diego before his family moved to Gaza as a child. However, Campa-Najjar, his brother and mother relocated back to San Diego after the war broke out. His working-class upbringing motivated him to run and give back to working families.. Born to a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian father, Campa-Najjar could be the first Latino-Arab American to be elected to Congress.

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Things That Matter

Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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‘Hamilton’ And When We All Vote Get Creative To Engage Voters In The Upcoming Election

Entertainment

‘Hamilton’ And When We All Vote Get Creative To Engage Voters In The Upcoming Election

Walter McBride / WireImage

When Disney+ started streaming “Hamilton,” the wildly popular Broadway musical made it into the homes of millions. The mix of rap lyrics and American history set the musical apart from the beginning. Now, “Hamilton” is teaming up with When We all Vote to get people charged up for the election.

“Hamilton” has never been shy to get involved in politics.

The musical has a diverse cast of Black and Latino actors and singers deliver a tremendous performance with a powerful message. The musical makes the case that every American should have the opportunity for their voice to be heard.

Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda raises the importance of unification no matter race, religion, or socioeconomic status. His work emphasizes the notion that all Americans can make the difference in reframing our nation’s narrative. “Hamilton” is not the only project where he aims for others to feel inspired for change.

Miranda has partnered up with When We All Vote to focus on voter education.

When We All Vote is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization launched by Michelle Obama and Janelle Monae in 2018 aiming to to focus on bridging the gap around race and age within voter culture. The organization hopes to raise awareness on the importance of voting especially in the upcoming election in November. Knowing Miranda’s activistm, he was bound to do so with an exciting spin.

Miranda is taking music from “Hamilton” and changing the lyrics to encourage voters.

Miranda and When We All Vote want all people out there to stand up and make their voices heard. Lyrics like “I’m just an ordinary citizen/ I’m not political, I’ve never been/ And I don’t vote/ I don’t vote” in the tune of “Alexander Hamilton” raises awareness that choosing not to vote weighs equally as heavily in the election and has resulted in the swayed outcome of our past presidential election back in 2016, where the nearly 100 million voters who were claimed as non-participatory contributed in swinging it more in the favor of the current occupant of the white house. 

Miranda is conscious of all sides of why the public may be hesitant to be active such as voter fraud and the lack of education on how to register amidst the current Covid-19 restrictions. The team addresses every concern with ingenious lyrics and tunes that create an exciting atmosphere around election talk. With a creative, exciting, and revolutionary way of getting information so you can vote in the next primary, who wouldn’t want to get involved? So go get your ballot ready and “Let’s get this done!”

For more information on When We All Vote’s initiative, click here. And to register to vote, visit our homepage and click on the Register to Vote icon pop up because “you are not throwing away your shot.”

READ: ‘Hamilton’ Won’t Be Eligible For An Academy Award Next Year

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