Things That Matter

Catalina Cruz Might Become The First ‘Dreamer’ To Be Elected In New York. Here’s What You Need to Know

Catalina Cruz was born and raised in Colombia until her mother brought her through JFK airport when she was just nine years old in hopes of a better life. Today, 35-year-old Cruz is running for an Assembly seat in Queens’ 39th District. She is the first “Dreamer” to run for office in New York State, and is relying on folks turning out for the September primary elections to put her in office to become the third Dreamer elected to the U.S. government.

Her story will inspire you, and hopefully it will blossom into real reform for neighborhoods like Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

First thing’s first: Catalina Cruz is running for a Democratic seat.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

When she arrived in the U.S., neither her, her mother, nor her three American-born siblings knew English. In order for her family to survive, her mother had to work odd jobs, like selling pastelitos, nannying and even passing out fliers for $40 a day.

Cruz is an attorney and community organizer.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

She lived undocumented for ten years, and finally got her citizenship in 2009. She started her career as a housing attorney, which meant she was taking on low-income clients who were fighting banks and gentrification for their own homes.

Ahe is the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

She’s spent the last five years working to bring “Know Your Rights” presentations to underserved communities, and has been mentoring students in local law schools to understand law in the Spanish language.

Her issues are near and dear to Latino hearts.

CREDIT: @CatalinaCruzNY / TWITTER

In a Twitter post, Cruz wrote, “Research shows dual language students tend to perform as well as, or better, academically. We should expand dual language and bilingual programs to foster diversity and inclusion.”

One of her top priorities is public education reform.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

Cruz is running for one of the most diverse districts in the state, in the most overcrowded city. Along with expanding dual language programs in the school, Catalina wants to end annual standardized tests that are used to close schools, punish teachers, and give bonuses to principals. She wants to increase funding for STEM, programs and ensure food justice for all children by serving healthy and culturally affirming meals like halal, kosher, vegan, etc.

Shockingly, under state law, criminal charges can be brought against women who have abortions.

CREDIT: @CatalinaCruzNY / TWITTER

Not only does Cruz want to reverse that law, she always wants to help Roe v Wade to make reproductive rights affirmatively legal and safe.

Cruz is for single-payer health care reform.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

Latinos are the most under insured group in America with 1 in 4 Latinos living without health insurance. Finding a way to guarantee health as a human right will only further benefit our community.

Girl’s got a gay agenda. ????

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

She calls it an “LGBT Agenda,” and we’re here for it. She wants to ban conversion therapy and pass a bill called GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act) to include gender expression as a protected human right. She also wants to include LGBT history in schools’ curriculum, make sex education more inclusive and protect seniors seeking LGBT friendly social services.

Cruz wants airlines to fund parks, playgrounds and school upgrades to the communities they pollute.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

“Residents tell me everyday that airplane noise, traffic congestion, and pollution are on the rise in Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights,” Cruz says in a statement on her website. “I am running for the State Assembly to be an advocate for our community on the issues that most impact the lives of our children, seniors, and families. Communities that most experience the impact from airport operations should also experience more benefits. With the Airport Impact Fund, we have an opportunity to make this possible.”

With more than 90 percent of the 39th District being people of color, they’re even more at risk of being victim to our criminal justice system.

CREDIT: @CatalinaCruzNY / TWITTER

“We can create a truly more just system in New York,” Cruz says on her website. “As it exists, the entire criminal justice system targets poor communities of color from beginning to end. We can do much better.” Cruz wants to legalize marijuana and end the cash bail bond system, to start with.

A top issue for Cruz is fixing the housing crisis.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

With her legal experience in helping low-income families keep their homes, Cruz claims she can fix the problem. She wants to establish a state funded legal team to represent tenants, mandate that landlords renew rent controlled leases until the tenant decides to terminate and incentivizing developers to ensure rent remains affordable.

She is making it her mission to protect immigrants.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

Over 60 percent of residents in the 39th District are undocumented, which means that they can’t vote for Cruz. Cruz wants to implement a $100 million fund for immigrant legal services to ensure that families stay together.

She also wants to protect fingerprint information from federal agencies (i.e. ICE) by passing the NY State Liberty Act, and make driver’s licenses accessible to every resident, regardless of immigration status.

Cruz has a “Street Safety” plan.

CREDIT: @CatalinaCruzNY / TWITTER

“According to new research, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst are among the most dangerous neighborhoods to pedal or walk through,” Cruz says on her website. “We must make street safety a top priority.”

Cruz wants to prevent pedestrian deaths by increasing penalties for drivers who hit-and-run and adding time to pedestrian walk signals.

One of her key issues is fixing the New York subway system, which has been failing.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

For the last 30 years, funding has decreased for the MTA, which has weakened the sole source of transportation for most working families in the community. She wants to break the MTA up into several different agencies that can more easily manage smaller systems, and to invest more in repairs.

The attorney turned politician is here por los viejos.

CREDIT: Catalina Cruz Campaign

She has a whole five point plan to keep seniors in their homes, pass legislation to combat age discrimination in the workplace, fund “culturally competent” senior programs (i.e. ones that create a niche community for the LGBT community, Spanish-speaking seniors, etc.), and upgrade senior taxi services to be more like Uber/Lyft.

She has been vocal about rejecting corporate and big pharma money.

CREDIT: @CatalinaCruzNY / TWITTER

She wants to unequivocally fight for a single payer health care system.

Cruz wants to inspire other people like her with her campaign for New York Assembly.

CREDIT: @AmplifyHerNYC / TWITTER

Granted, there are so, so many other candidates with beautiful stories, but we know without a doubt that Cruz will have Dreamers’ and Latinos’ backs.

So if you’re reading this, go do your own candidate research and vote.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. The Cut. 18 August 2018.

The most important thing anyone can do is to to vote for themselves and for their community. Don’t forget that elections have consequences.


READ: Two Government Agencies Are Being Sued For Arresting Undocumented Spouses Of US Citizens Seeking Legal Status

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A-Rod And J.Lo Are Trying To Raise Enough Money To Buy The New York Mets

Entertainment

A-Rod And J.Lo Are Trying To Raise Enough Money To Buy The New York Mets

mets / jlo / Instagram

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are always in the headlines. The power couple was vocal and present when it came to helping Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricanes in 2017. Then their engagement set the Internet on fire. Now, with a wedding postponed, the couple found another way to grab headlines thanks to the New York Mets.

Alex Rodriguez and J.Lo are allegedly considering buying the New York Mets.

First reported by Variety, several reports allege that J.Lo and A-Rod have retained JP Morgan Chase to help raise the funds needed to make the purchase of the New York Mets. The baseball team was founded after both the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants left leaving behind no baseball for city residents.

A-Rod and J.Lo aren’t the first people interested in the baseball team.

According to Variety, the Wilpon family, the current owners, were trying to sell 80 percent of the team to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen. The team was valued at $2.6 billion ahead of that deal. The deal with Cohen fell through which put the New York Mets back up for sale.

People are comparing this move to buy the New York Mets to mirroring his former teammate Derek Jeter.

Jeter is a part-owner of the Miami Marlins owning 4 percent of the Florida team. For his 4 percent, Jeter reportedly paid $25 million in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. Combined, J.Lo and A-Rod have a net value of $700 million meaning they would need to partner with some other deep-pocket investors. JP Morgan Chase would have to help J.Lo and A-Rod find people to make up the rest of the $2.4 billion deal.

A-Rod, a former professional baseball player is familiar with the Mets.

A-Rod was considering signing with the Mets when he was a free agent. Instead, A-Rod signed with the Texas Rangers before being traded to the New York Yankees. While at the Yankees with Jeter, A-Rod helped the team win a World Series.

We will all just have to wait and see if the power couple ends up being part-owners of the Mets.

One thing is for sure, A-Rod has some expertise in what makes a baseball franchise great. It also shouldn’t be too surprising that a former baseball player of A-Rod’s caliber is purchasing a Major League Baseball team. It just seems like a natural progression of his involvement with the sport.

What do you think about the potential selling of the New York Mets?

READ: Italian Mayors Are Showing J.Lo A Lot Of Love After She Mentioned Wanting To Move To The Country

NYC Mayor Cancels All Major June Gatherings, Including Puerto Rico Day Parade, Because, Well, You Know

Culture

NYC Mayor Cancels All Major June Gatherings, Including Puerto Rico Day Parade, Because, Well, You Know

Unsplash

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled all nonessential gatherings in June, including NYC Pride and Puerto Rican Day parades. The news is just another in a long line of major cancellations across the globe because, well, you guessed it, the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has forced NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to cancel all nonessential gatherings in June.

The Puerto Rico Day parade is one of the most important and celebrated events to happen in New York City. It is a time when Puerto Rican New Yorkers take to the streets and revel in their cultural pride as Americans.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a Puerto Rican woman representing New York’s 7th Congressional district tweeted her own disappointment about the cancellation. However, the representative reminded her constituents who might be upset that it is all necessary for the greater good.

Mayor de Blasio acknowledged that he was not sure when major cultural events would go back to normal.

Tbh, a ticker tape parade for all of the women and men serving in the frontlines of this virus seems like a must. The healthcare workers are not only putting themselves at risk to save us but their families are also sacrificing their time with them and, potentially, their own health.

While some residents agree, many would like to see the first responders paid more for the work they do.

According to Glassdoor, Salaray.com, and Indeed, the average pay for an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is around $32,000 a year. For reference, ZipRecruiter ranks New York state as the highest salary for EMT workers making $15.32 an hour. California is ranked 17th with EMTs making $13.74 an hour.

While the loss of these events might be saddening, New Yorkers seem ready to sacrifice to fight the coronavirus.

Health experts have warned Americans to prepare for longer safe-at-home orders as the virus continues to spread. There is talk about opening some states sooner than others and some experts have warned that opening too early could lead to more spikes and deaths as well as a harder economic time ahead.

We all just need to hold on until the end so we can get this virus in check and we can return to the outside world.

We’ve made it this far, we can go all of the way. Just hold on tight and know that we are all in this together.

READ: These Latino Teens Have Turned Shopping For Vulnerable Neighborhoods Into Full-Time Work