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.

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.

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.

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.

@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.

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.

@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.

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. ????

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.

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.

@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.

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.

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.

@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.

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.

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.

@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.

@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.

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 9-Year-Old Girl Was Handcuffed And Pepper-Sprayed By New York Police Officers

Things That Matter

A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Handcuffed And Pepper-Sprayed By New York Police Officers

Updated March 10, 2021.

Police brutality is a civil rights violation that has long affected the Black community as well as other minority groups. While the issue has been highlighted extensively by these communities it seems that it’s only been very recently that the general public has developed concern over the issue. This is despite the fact that in so many ways police brutality has not only deeply harmed communities but also sparked major political and social movements such as the civil rights movement of the 1960s and anti-war demonstrations. So much so in fact, the United States has developed an ill-famed reputation for cases of police brutality. Particularly when it comes to the police’s mistreatments and murders of minors like Nolan Davis, Cameron Tillman, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Over the weekend, an incident in Rochester, New York brought attention to the issue once again after body camera showed officers handcuffing and pepper-spraying a 9-year-old girl.

The incident which took place last Friday showed officers brutally restraining a little girl after responding to a call for “family trouble.”

The Rochester Police Department in New York released body camera footage Sunday showing officers handcuffing and pepper-spraying a 9-year-old girl while responding to a call for “family trouble.”

In two disturbing videos, the little girl can be screaming for her father as officers attempt to restrain her. “You’re acting like a child,” a male officer yells at her in the video. “I am a child,” she screams in reply.

“I’m gonna pepper-spray you, and I don’t want to,” a woman officer warns the girl while attempting to put her feet inside of the police car.

“This is your last chance. Otherwise pepper spray is going in your eyeballs,” the officer adds.

The girl begged the officers not to spray her before they did.

Once pepper-sprayed, she cried, “It went in my eyes, it went in my eyes.” The child and her family, nor any of the officers involved in the incident have yet to be identified.

“I’m not going to stand here and tell you that for a 9-year-old to have to be pepper-sprayed is OK,” Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan of Rochester said at a press conference Sunday. “It’s not. I don’t see that is who we are as a department.”

This incident isn’t the first for the Rochester Police.

The police department’s top officials resigned last September after protests broke out over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died of asphyxiation after Rochester officers put a hood over his head. Prude’s face had been pinned to the ground by police.

Speaking about the incident Rochester’s Mayor Lovely Warren said that the pepper spray incident was “not something any of us should want to justify.”

Warren said watching the video of the young girl reminded her of her own daughter. “I have a 10-year-old daughter. So she’s a child. She’s a baby,” Warren explained. “And I can tell you that this video, as a mother, is not anything that you want to see. I saw my baby’s face in her face.”

According to Warren, she has asked for the police chief to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation in relation to the incident. She also noted that she welcomed a review from the police accountability board.

The incident reportedly occurred after officers responding to a report of “family trouble” around 3:21 p.m last Friday. Police reported to the area and were alerted that the 9-year-old girl was “upset” and “suicidal” and had indicated that she “wanted to kill herself and that she wanted to kill her mom.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line.

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Kanye West Received 60,000 Votes In His Run For U.S. President Across 12 Different States

Entertainment

Kanye West Received 60,000 Votes In His Run For U.S. President Across 12 Different States

Talk about a waste.

As the election edged closer to an end on Wednesday, rapper Kanye West finally threw in the towel and conceded a loss in his presidential run tweeting “WELP KANYE 2024” shortly after midnight. After a long night of waiting, the “Mercy” rapper tallied in a little over 60,000 votes for president of the United States. This is after being featured on the ballot in 12 states and bringing in millions of dollars (of which were primarily his own) to the campaign.

As of 10:30 a.m. PT on Wednesday, West’s exact count was 60,761.

According to Associated Press News, Kanye’s updated state-by-state count is below.

By 10:30 a.m. PT on Wednesday, with the exceptions of Colorado, Utah, Mississippi and Vermont, the states in question had above 90% of votes counted. Colorado, Utah, Mississippi and Vermont had only all above 70% counted.

Arkansas: 4,040
Colorado: 6,254
Idaho: 3,631
Iowa: 3,202
Kentucky: 6,259
Louisiana: 4,894
Minnesota: 7,789
Mississippi: 3,277
Oklahoma: 5,590
Tennessee: 10,216
Utah: 4,344
Vermont: 1,265

By midnight of the election, West’s name was trending on Twitter after he revealed that this would be his first time voting.

Kanye, who ran as an independent, received at least 60,000 votes from Americans. According to Deadline, “a few states were still under 80% reported as of this writing, our count puts him at 59,781 total votes. Thus, it’s a pretty good guess he’ll go over 60,000 by the time all states are fully counted.”

When it comes to states, West pulled in most votes from Tennessee, where he brought in a total of 10,188 votes. “While the rap mogul did rank 4th in some state races, his percentage of the vote was never more than .04%,” Deadline reports.

Soon after Joe Biden made his election night speech, Kanye tweeted his concession.

WELP KANYE 2024 🕊 pic.twitter.com/tJOZcxdArb

— ye (@kanyewest) November 4, 2020

According to The New York Times, West voted in Wyoming where he owns a ranch and has spent much of his time in quarantine. MarketWatch reports that West asked voters in California to write his name on their ballots but he reportedly missed the filing deadline to be a write-in candidate in the state.

According to the Federal Election Commission, the rapper raised $11.5 million for his campaign through mid-October. A little over ten million of those donations were loans made by West to his own campaign.

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