Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Taps San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz As Co-Chair For Presidential Campaign

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan has agreed to be one of four national co-chairs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign. The news comes just days after the 77-year-old senator announced that he was running for president again after a bitter defeat in the 2016 Democratic Primary. The support from Cruz is huge news in terms of name recognition as the Democratic field of candidates keeps growing.

With the backing of Sanders,Cruz brings diversity, a progressive agenda and a well-documented opposition of President Donald Trump.

Some forget that real power stems from people’s will to change. @BernieSanders understands that a movement for financial, social, racial & environmental justice starts from the bottom up. Honored to co-chair with @ninaturner @RoKhanna and Ben Cohen the political revolution. pic.twitter.com/opss7vnwes— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) February 22, 2019

Cruz agrees with Sanders on various platform issues like education, LGBTQ+ rights and environmental issues. She hopes that teaming up with Sanders will also shed light on issues that have plagued Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit back in 2017.

Cruz publicly clashed with President Trump in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, criticizing the administrations lack of response to the disaster. An estimated 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria including the weeks after the storm hit.

“This is personal. The president came and threw paper towels at us,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC News. “He continues to disregard the pain of people from Puerto Rico.”

While Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in the general election, despite being legal U.S. citizens, they will be able to vote in the primaries. With the support of the San Juan Mayor, Sanders is sure to gain some support in Puerto Rico.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democrat running for president, joined Sanders in co-sponsoring legislation to help with the Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt that it still deals with today.

“When it comes to Puerto Rico, I am confident that Bernie will help us usher a new path towards the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico including, but not limited to, a new relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States ensuring that with every step we forge a path to guarantee that all voices are heard and the will of the people of Puerto Rico sets forth the agenda.” Cruz said in a statement.

Having Cruz in Sanders’ corner means a high-profile Latina will have a voice in his campaign.

She has been one of Trump’s fiercest critics. Now San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is one of 4 natl campaign co-chairs for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. https://t.co/twu75av1v6— NBC Latino (@NBCLatino) February 22, 2019

One of the biggest criticisms of Sanders campaign in 2016 was his lack of support from voters in the Latino and Black communities. While he did receive support from younger Latino demographics in some states, Cruz’s support might play a big role when it comes to states like Nevada and Puerto Rico.

Cruz doesn’t expect to just be talking to primarily Latino groups for the campaign. She said there will not any “walls that keep us in our corner because that will be ineffective.”

Cruz joins what has already become an increasingly diverse group backing Sanders.

To defeat Trump we must build a team prepared to fight for economic, social, racial & environmental justice. That’s exactly what @ninaturner, @RoKhanna, @CarmenYulinCruz and @YoBenCohen have been doing their entire lives. I’m excited to announce them as campaign co-chairs.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 21, 2019

Joining Cruz as co-chairs of the Sanders campaign is Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) and Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The appointment of Khanna and Turner are significant not only because of the progressive policies they bring but the diversity they present to Sanders campaign.

Sanders recently made headlines with his campaign manager pick. The Daily Beast reported that Sanders had hired Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, for the head position. Shakir is likely to be the first Muslim American to head a major presidential campaign.

While the 2020 elections are still more than a year away, things are certainly gearing up on the Democratic side. At this time, there are 14 confirmed Democrats running for congress.

READ: Here’s Why You Need to Know Rep. Adriano Espaillat, The First Undocumented Immigrant in Congress

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They Supported Different Candidates At The DNC But These Two Delegates Both Cast Votes To Help The Latino Community

Things That Matter

They Supported Different Candidates At The DNC But These Two Delegates Both Cast Votes To Help The Latino Community

Anthony Santiago / Zenaida Huerta

Since Joe Biden clinched the Democratic presidential nomination in April, his team has been hard at work brokering a sort of truce with rival candidate Bernie Sanders, along with his dedicated supporters.

This outreach became ever more apparent at last week’s Democratic National Convention, as Sanders and his closest allies, as well as many of their one-time rivals, say the party is united behind Joe Biden in the face of a common enemy: Donald Trump.

In a live-streamed speech, Bernie said: “As long as I am here, I will work with progressives, with moderates, and, yes, with conservatives to preserve this nation from a threat that so many of our heroes fought and died to defeat.” He added: “This election is the most important in the modern history of this country. We need Joe Biden as our next president.”

The Biden team has worked hard to forge this bridge between Biden and Sanders supporters, and although Biden has also excluded a number of cherished progressive policies from his party’s platform, the relationship remains intact.

Biden and Sanders supporters want voters to know one important thing: it’s OK to change your mind.

Now, as many Sanders supporters and delegates to the convention come to support Biden, the two sides want to show voters that it’s OK to change your mind and to support the nominee – even if he wasn’t your first (or second or third…) choice.

We sat down with two young Latino delegates who proudly nominated their chosen candidate for President of the United States at this convention. They may not have cast their vote for the same candidate but they both agree that our community needs a voice at the table and that all of us will benefit from actual leadership in the White House.

They started out supporting different candidates but these two delegates agree on the importance of this election.

Meet Anthony Santiago and Zenaida Huerta – two young Latino delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Although they cast their vote for different candidates, they both share similar motivations for making sure their voice (and the voice of their community) was heard.

Anthony is a 19-year-old delegate from Kissimmee, Florida and, having been a Biden supporter from the very beginning, proudly cast his vote for Joe Biden.

Zenaida, from California, is a 21-year-old Bernie Sanders supporter and it wasn’t her first time attending the convention as a delegate – she also cast her vote for Sanders at the 2016 convention at just 17-years-old.

When asked about the importance of voting and getting involved in politics, they both pointed out how consequential this election is. Anthony said, “The single most important thing that any of us can do this year is vote. When we are united, our voice can make a huge, positive difference in our nation. There has never been a more important election in our lifetimes than the 2020 presidential election.”

Zenaida urges our community, especially young Latinos to “realize your power. We are in this fight for the long haul—not just until our friends stop posting about it. When we stay in this fight, we see change.”

Anthony came to the convention as a long term Biden supporter.

Anthony told Mitú that he came to appreciate and admire Joe Biden during the presidency of Barack Obama. He would watch the news with his mom every morning while getting ready for school and he felt that Barack Obama was a leader he could look up to.

He added that during the Democratic primary, he was “watching every debate and taking the time to look into each candidate and Joe Biden’s plan for healthcare was what I gravitated to most.”

Anthony also points out that for him, his support of Biden isn’t just about policy. According to Anthony, ”Biden’s personal story also really stood out to me. It’s filled with hardship and resonates with many Americans. Joe Biden knows what it feels like to feel true loss, and he knows how to push forward. After making it through all of these challenges, Joe Biden is now running for president and will win if we all do our part and vote for him.”

As a longtime Sanders supporter, it was important for Zenaida to cast that vote for his nomination.

To Zenaida, her support for Sanders is simple: “I support Bernie Sanders because I believe that working families deserve lives filled with dignity,” she told Mitú.

Among all demographics, Latinos in California suffer from the highest rates of poverty and Zenaida believes that Sanders’ policies will help uplift the most vulnerable among us. She says, “My grandparents and parents sacrificed so much for me to have a better life—yet, a better life is now out of reach for young Latinos. I support Bernie because he makes a better life within reach, not just for myself, but for my community.”

When asked about the importance of casting her vote for Sanders at the convention, Zenaida told Mitú, “Being part of the convention for the second time means that the progressive movement has been realized. Young people, particularly young Latinos, whose majority stood behind Bernie, were with him in 2016; they are with him in 2020; and they will continue to be an unmoved force in our party hereafter.”

Zenaida and her family have roots in the farm worker community and she sees Sanders as a true ally.

Zenaida remembers as a little girl attending labor marches and rallies with her father, who was a campaign manager for AFL-CIO in Los Angeles. She was moved by the thousands of people, standing together, united to make a difference.

But labor and community organizing runs deep in her family. Her grandfather, Juan Huerta, worked alongside Cesar Chavez as a United Farmworkers organizer. When asked about why he worked so hard for so little in return, Huerta told Zenaida, “It was a lot of work, but it was right.” These words guide Zenaida in her activism today. She told Mitú, “I am involved not just because I am one voice, but because I am one of many. I am following in my grandfather and father’s footsteps because I am continuing their struggle.“

Biden’s support in getting the Affordable Care Act (aka. ObamaCare) passed helped Anthony’s family in untold ways.

Like so many other Americans, healthcare is one of the most important issues our community faces. So many are unable to afford important medications or medical procedures, while others are simply too afraid to visit the doctor for fear of deportation. Therefore, it’s no surprise that healthcare is consistently rated among the most important issues to Latinos.

Anthony’s family has benefited from the ACA, which was signed under the Obama presidency with Joe Biden’s support. Anthony points out just how important this was to his family.

He says, “Joe Biden’s plan for healthcare was what I gravitated to most. My abuela was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer a few years ago, and thanks to the ACA she has been able to get affordable treatment and is doing very well today.”

Anthony and Zenaida are not alone: major parts of the progressive wing are coming together to support Biden’s campaign.

A progressive group that opposed Joe Biden in the Democratic primaries is rolling out a new campaign to urge progressive voters in battleground states to back the presumptive presidential nominee in November.

RootsAction.org, a group run by supporters of Bernie Sanders, launched its #VoteTrumpOut campaign Wednesday and said while it hopes to help push the former Vice President over the edge against President Trump, it will work to hold him accountable should he win the White House. 

“Donald Trump is waging a war on truth, on decency, on our planet, and on working people. For the sake of everything we care about, we have to get him out of the White House in 2020,” the group said on its website. “As progressives and leftists, we are not going to minimize our disagreements with Joe Biden. But we’re also clear-eyed about where things stand: supporting the Democratic nominee in swing states is the only means we have to defeat Trump.”

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Here’s Why AOC Nominated Bernie Sanders At the DNC Instead Of Joe Biden

Things That Matter

Here’s Why AOC Nominated Bernie Sanders At the DNC Instead Of Joe Biden

Handout / Getty

While speaking at last night’s Democratic National Convention, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a daring stand for the progressive side of the Democratic Party. Speaking to viewers and voters, Ocasio-Cortez managed to take on the entire progressive agenda, explain it, and second the nomination of Sen. Bernie Sanders. All in 90 seconds flat. The nomination, which was strictly symbolic, saw Ocasio-Cortez encourage the Democratic establishment to listen to the progressive wing of the party as it continues to drive policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Despite the fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s nomination of Sanders was only symbolic, many were confused by the procedural seconding.

Sanders’ presidential run might have ended in April and he might have recently endorsed candidate Joe Biden, but the senator was still in line for Tuesday’s formal delegates count. It is required by the DNC that every presidential candidate who draws delegates to the party convention be formally nominated by someone. Ocasio-Cortez was tapped by the Democratic National Convention to second the nomination of Sanders for president.

During her convention time, Ocasio-Cortez celebrated Sanders for his works and the progressive efforts he’s backed in the name of the Democratic party.

Ocasio-Cortez’s speech spoke of a movement for progressives and highlighted policies like universal healthcare and free education.

“A movement striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny, and homophobia and to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “A movement that realizes the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few at the expense of long-term stability for the many and who organized a historic grassroots campaign to reclaim our democracy.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s speech led the rest of the convention into the roll call process which officially named Joe Biden the Democratic nominee for president.

Ocasio-Cortez confirmed on Twitter that will be voting for Biden in November. So no need to worry.

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