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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Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Entertainment

Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic

We all remember Carlos Villagrán as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho.” The actor and Mexican icon is now entering the world of politics. Villagrán is entering the race for governor of Querétaro.

Actor and comedian Carlos Villagrán wants to be governor of Querétaro.

Affectionately known as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho,” Villagrán is someone we grew up with. Now, decades after his famous role ended, Villagrán is hoping to open a brand new chapter in his life: politics.

“After 50 years of making people laugh, I find myself on another platform, which does me a tremendous honor,” Villagrán said during a press conference after filing paperwork.

Villagrán has been thinking about entering Mexican politics for a while.

It is never easy to decide if you want to become a politician. Your private life is no longer private and everything you do is suddenly under intense scrutiny. Villagrán did take time mulling over the idea before filing his paperwork to be a candidate for governor of Querétaro. He registered under the local Querétaro Independiente Party.

“I can’t say anything, because I still don’t know anyone and I have to talk to people to find out what it is about. So, I could not say anything at this moment,” Villagrán told El Universal when still debating the idea.

Villagrán created a Twitter account after announcing his candidacy and is hitting the talking points hard.

Villagrán’s official Twitter account has only pushed tweets highlighting QiBook. The social media platform is specific to Querétaro and is hoping to foster some economic and commercial success in the state.

Fans around the world are wishing him so much success.

Villagrán character Quico is one of the most celebrated characters in Latin America. The wild success of “El Chavo del Ocho” has made Villagrán a face that people throughout Latin America know and love.

However, some people are not excited to see another entertainer enter politics.

We have seen entertainers become politicians and it isn’t always a good thing. The current governor of Morales is Cuauhtémoc Blanco, a former soccer player, and people are not loving him and his leadership. We will no better about his chances of running on Feb. 8 when things are finalized.

READ: FIFA21 Releasing ‘El Chavo Del Ocho’ Uniforms To Honor The Icon For Limited Time

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Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Things That Matter

Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

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