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 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. 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Response To GOP House Candidate’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Joke Will Leave You Breathless

Things That Matter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Response To GOP House Candidate’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Joke Will Leave You Breathless

BRITTANY GREESON / GETTY

Dumb blonde jokes. They’re overwrought, trite, and pretty outdated. So it’s no surprise that one that came straight from the mouth of a GOP House candidate and directed at Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t go over so well.

GOP House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted a joke at Ocasio-Cortez’s expense on Twitter Monday and it failed miserably.

Greene, whose Georgia campaign is being supported by Donald Trump, attempted to hit at AOC’s intelligence on Monday in a tweet.

“As a blonde woman, I would like to take a moment to thank Congresswoman @AOC. She has single handily [sic] put an end to all ‘dumb blonde’ jokes. Blondes everywhere appreciate your service and your sacrifice!” Greene tweeted.

In response, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted Greene, writing, “Don’t worry Mrs. Greene, I completely understand why you need to swing + miss at my intellect to make yourself feel better. You seem to have some trouble spelling your own insults correctly. Next time try ‘single-handedly,’ it’ll work better.”

She signed off her tweet writing “Good luck writing legislation!”

It’s not the first time Greene has come for AOC and failed.

Greene attempted and failed to get under AOC’s skin earlier this month.

Facebook.com

In September, the candidate shared a photo of herself holding a rifle next to images of AOC and other Democratic lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to her Facebook page.

She captioned the post “Squad’s worst nightmare.” It was soon removed by Facebook who cited violations of its policies.

It didn’t take long for AOC’s supporters to strike back at Green to defend the congresswoman.

“Those who are jealous and envious of others typical attack those whom they envy because they need to feel important and try to gain some attention for themselves,” one user commented in the thread. “You are where you are @AOC because of your work and dedication. Mrs Greene knows she can’t compete so she attacks.”

According to People, “Greene has a track record of embracing false stories publicized by QAnon, a conspiracy theory-fueled group which alleges there’s a group of Democratic pedophiles operating around the country.”

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Users On Reddit Are Sharing Why They Didn’t Vote In 2016 And The Answers Will Make Your Stomach Turn

Things That Matter

Users On Reddit Are Sharing Why They Didn’t Vote In 2016 And The Answers Will Make Your Stomach Turn

Joe Raedle / Getty

In 2016, estimates from the U.S. Elections Project showed that nearly 43 percent of eligible voters failed to fill out a ballot for the presidential election. According to Pew Research, tens of millions of registered voters did so because of a “dislike of the candidates or campaign issues.” Shockingly, this means that in 2016, the number of people who were eligible to vote and chose not to greatly outnumbered who voted for Clinton, Trump, or a third-party candidate.

Curious about this, we turned to Reddit to find out WHY people were so quick to willfully toss out their voting power.

Check out the answers we found below.

“I wasn’t scared my brown or LBGTQ country folk would actually be fucked over. I assumed it was all his [Trump’s] ploy to get the people who voted Bush and Reagan in, to vote him in… Make the white people scared and make sure they don’t trust the Dems. or people of colour or alternative life choice. I’m from L.A.; we grow up mixed and if your a decent human you respect everyone or move back to whatever hate hole you come from.” – Sgrociopath

“I moved from a strong blue state to a strong blue state on November 7, 2016, which was too late to register to vote in this year’s election(and I re-checked multiple times to make sure that was the case).” –lovethenewname

“Didn’t pay enough attention when they first started running and by the time I was looking, everyon was so polarized biased I didn’t wanna dig through the bullshit to make an educated opinion.” –AndeeRin1031

“Didn’t find a candidate I could support. The only good thing anyone else had going for them was “eh at least it’s not Hillary” and when that’s your only good trait you’re not worth my support.” – egnards

“Because I didn’t want to pledge my allegiance to a candidate and then have to defend them for their choices. I want to complain about the president because a group of yes men ultimately get you sent to a psych ward.” –buk_ow_ski

“I didn’t have a permanent address and wasn’t sure how to even anything.” –weinerpug

“I live in a completely red state and didn’t give myself enough time. I left an hour and a half early for work, sat in line for 45 minutes, realized I wasn’t going to make it and said “fuck it” and left.” –Eensquatch

“I refused to vote (my first election that I did not) simply because both candidates were disgusting and there was simply no choice I could make.”-ultimatemayerfan

“I didn’t vote despite voting in the primaries. The reason why was aside from the fake propaganda essentially the democratic party really did know who they wanted and had enacted things to make primarying difficult in order to support Clinton. Dropping people from registries, cutting down primary locations, making it so you had to be registered so many months in advance Clinton was the only option. If your party deliberately makes it hard to vote you can’t turn around a few months later and tell everyone “Okay now get out and vote!”

Also the narrative against Sanders had been “1 man can’t change things that much”. But then when it was Clinton against Trump the narrative was “1 man will ruin everything”. You don’t get to have it both ways.

I was going to be a first-time voter but then I was basically told “we don’t want you to vote unless it’s who we tell you”

I don’t regret it. Especially since my state is so red (Utah) even had I voted for Clinton I would have just been another vote that didn’t win her the election.” –collin3000

“My ballot didn’t come in the mail.” –NutellaGood

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