Things That Matter

Living With A White Mormon Family As A Foster Kid Was ‘A Real Identity Struggle’ Yet Something That Shaped His Career

Mickey Ibarra

Mickey Ibarra is a Latino political pioneer and has been serving our community for the past 30 years.

Mickey Ibarra
CREDIT: Mickey Ibarra

His resume for public service is impeccable: he was Director of The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs under the Clinton administration, worked for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund Board, and, among many other accomplishments, is the founder of Latino Leaders Network, a nonprofit that brings leaders together to share personal stories of the obstacles they conquered in order to help them achieve success.

Interestingly enough, Ibarra understands what it means to face obstacles and thrive despite them. “Started from the bottom” is an understatement when it comes to Ibarra especially when you consider that for him, the bottom was at two-years-old when he became an orphan.

Mickey Ibarra
CREDIT: Mickey Ibarra

How is it possible for a young boy — along with his younger brother — to endure a life of instability and racism and come out of that as a success? Ibarra tells mitú he had no other choice but move forward. Ibarra says that his life was turned upside down when his young father and mother divorced when he was two, sending his life into unknown turmoil.

“My father, a very dark indio from Oaxaca, Mexico, came to this country in 1945, and worked as a bracero.” Ibarra says. “He met my mother along the way who was white of European descent. They married when she was just 16.”

“I’ll tell you, a Mexican married to a white woman in Salt Lake City, Utah in the early ’50s was not a socially acceptable thing to do.”

Needless to say, that was just one of the many factors why Ibarra’s parents got divorced. Soon after his father went to fight the Korean War, Ibarra and his younger brother, David, were placed in foster care.

For the remainder of their adolescent lives, one of the families that cared for Ibarra and his brother was a Mormon family.

Mickey Ibarra
CREDIT: Mickey Ibarra

They lived with the Smith family for six years in Provo, Utah. Ibarra says that during this time, Mormons had a practice of taking kids right off the Indian reservation and placed them with white families that agreed to take them in and provide care and schooling. Ibarra says that they were often mistaken for being Native American. He recalls this period as not very pleasant, especially for his brother David who was darker than him.

“We were known to be the Indian kids, and I guess in many respects we were,” Ibarra says with a chuckle. “We definitely stood out… I’m here to tell you skin color makes a difference.”

Ibarra says that one thing he and his brother hated more than anything was being asked by people “so why are you living with the Smith family?” Ibarra says that question always forced them to remember that they were abandoned by their parents.

“It was a real struggle,” Ibarra says. “A real identity struggle.”

At 15, Ibarra and his brother were finally able to reunite with their father who by that time was living in Sacramento. It was only then that they were able to reconnect with their Mexican roots and their family.

Mickey Ibarra
CREDIT: Mickey Ibarra

His father went to the Hollywood Beauty College under the GI bill and opened The Mona Lisa House of Beauty, in Sacramento. After Ibarra finished high school he enrolled in Brigham Young University, and because he didn’t do well during his freshman year he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. However, he re-enrolled in Brigham Young, and graduated cum laude in political science.

His career in politics began during his senior year when he participated in the school’s Washington Seminar Program. Ibarra was assigned to the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teachers union. That truly kicked off his teaching and advocacy career which would lead up to a job with Bill Clinton.

Mickey Ibarra
CREDIT: Mickey Ibarra

In 1984, Ibarra moved to D.C. as he took a bigger role with the NEA. In 1996, he took a leave of absence to join Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.

“My leap to the White House didn’t happen immediately,” Ibarra told CNN. “After winning, Clinton’s chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, offered me a deputy position.”

While Ibarra never planned on working at the White House, his father and foster families instilled that an education would be crucial to his success. Clearly they were right.

His jobs at the White House consisted of serving as assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House in 1997, serving as one of the highest-ranking members of President Clinton’s senior staff.

It’s been three decades since Ibarra first began his career of serving the Latino community — and he’s not done by any means.

Mickey Ibarra with Antonio Villaraigosa, Eva Longoria, and Dolores Huerta.
CREDIT: Mickey Ibarra with Antonio Villaraigosa, Eva Longoria, and Dolores Huerta.

“Mickey is an incredible advocate for our community — not just the Latino community but for all communities of this great country,” former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wrote “Mickeyisms: 30 Tips for Success,” Ibarra’s book foreword. “He is a man who lives by his words. Others may try to tear us down but we must build each other up.”

We asked Ibarra what he thought of our politically divided country and whether Latino leaders should work with Donald Trump’s administration or resist it, to that, he said this:

“In these times of struggle, I think it’s important to re-commit ourselves to engagement. There’s a need for engagement now more than ever. Yes, it is challenging,” Ibarra said of our current political climate. “And we can be down about it but none of that will help change anything.

“We as a Latino community cannot have it both ways. We cannot demand to have a seat at the table, and then when a seat at the table is provided to us not walk through the door and accept it. We need to really consider that responsibility not just to ourselves but to our community.”

READ: Tom Perez Elected As The First Latino Democratic National Committee Chairman

Do you know anyone inspiring like Mickey Ibarra? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting in the section below. 

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

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The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

Things That Matter

Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

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Two Democratic members of Congress have just been barred from visiting Israel next week in a move that many fear will deepen the injured relationship between Democrats and the Jewish state and strengthen the bond between Trump and Israeli leaders. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from embarking on a planned trip to the country. 

Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed the ban in a statement to CNN. 

“The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The decision came after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing “great weakness” if they allowed the women of color legislators, who have both been very critical of the country, to visit. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people,” the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “There is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

The private trip was organized by a Palestinian-led nonprofit. The women were expected to visit Israel and the West Bank, where Tlaib has family, as well as Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. In the latter Middle Eastern city, they were to join members of the Palestinian Authority at the Temple Mount (called Haram al-Sharif by Muslims), a major holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The decision to block the trip comes one month after Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said that the women would be allowed to visit Israel, noting at the time that barring them would be impertinent.

“Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer, who is close to Netanyahu, said

For some on the left, the Israeli government’s decision to go back on their word is proof that the decision was made in spite of the women. 

Even more, they see it as potentially damaging to an already strained relationship.

“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”

In a separate statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the decision a “sign of weakness, not strength,” adding that “it will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America … Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”

Netanyahu’s main grievance with the women is that they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Both Omar and Tlaib voted for legislation that would have made it US policy to boycott Israel; the measure was thwarted 398-17 in the House.

Since about 2005, the BDS movement has attempted to force Israel to change its approach to the Palestinians through external pressure, like demanding companies to halt business with Israel, asking consumers to stop buying Israeli products and calling on scholars and cultural leaders to stop collaborating with colleagues in the country. For supporters, the mission is much like the boycotts that targeted apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. 

For opponents, however, the movement, and its followers are deemed anti-Semitic.

Democratic presidential candidates have chimed in on the matter as well, with some recognizing that difference in views does not equate to anti-Semitism and others directly placing their anger with Trump, who they believe helped stir up Isreali leaders with his damaging remarks against Reps. Tlaib and Omar.

“Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. “This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.”

Speaking to Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) called the president a bigot and told him, “opposing Netanyahu’s policies is not ‘hating the Jewish people.”

Former US representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) added: “President Trump, you show great weakness every single day—when you attack women of color when you degrade the office of the president, and when you ask our allies to stoop to your level.”

In July, Trump told Omar and Tlaib, among other members of their “squad” — which also includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — to “go back” to their countries. Tlaib was born in the United States, and Omar was born in Somalia and is a naturalized US citizen.

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