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We Have A Latino Running For The Presidency In 2020 And It Is Texan Julian Castro

Julian Castro / Facebook

After months of speculation, Julián Castro officially announced he would be running for Ppesident in the 2020 election. Castro was the secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014-2017 under the Obama Administration and prior to that, he was mayor of his hometown of San Antonio from 2009-2014. At his campaign announcement, Castro said he would be running on a platform for better education, healthcare reform, and improvements to the immigration system.

For now, at least, Castro can enjoy the distinction of being the only Latino in the Democratic field.

The grandson of a Mexican immigrant and son of a Latina activist, Castro brings with him years of leadership and an agenda that has gotten the support from many in the Democratic party. While there have been previous Latino candidates that have run for president, Castro is one of the most high-profile and accomplished Latino Democrats ever to seek the party’s nomination.

“You give me your support, and I give you my word: I will spend every day working hard to make sure you can get a good job, find a decent place to live, have good health care when you get sick and that your children and grandchildren can reach their dreams, no matter who you are or where you come from,” Castro said at his campaign announcement.

Castro has embraced his underdog role in the Democratic race as he’s done most of his political career.

At the age of 26, Castro became San Antonio’s youngest City Council member, and after a failed campaign for mayor in 2005, he was elected as mayor in 2009. Three years later, he spoke at the Democratic National Convention and would later be chosen by President Obama to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014.

Castro has embraced his underdog role and has credited his upbringing in San Antonio that taught him a lot about perseverance. In an interview with the New York Times last month, he spoke about what it means to be doubted in the political world.

“In my whole life, I don’t think I’ve ever started out as the front-runner,” Casto told the New York Times. “I grew up in a neighborhood where nobody growing up there was the front-runner at anything. So I’m not going to concern myself with who people think of as the front-runner and who they don’t.”

Just days after his announcement bid, Castro visited Puerto Rico to address the still lingering effects of Hurricane Maria.

Castro chose Puerto Rico as his first destination as a presidential candidate on Monday. He addressed concerns that President Trump is considering diverting funds for Puerto Rico’s recovery for the wall he wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Just the other day the president and his administration talked about taking money earmarked for Puerto Rico recovery and instead investing in [a border wall],” Castro said at the Latino Victory Fund (LVF) summit. “To do so is completely objectionable, immoral and should never happen.”

Castro has been very vocal against the Trump administration’s policies against immigration and environmental issues. He has vowed to make both issues some of the key items on his agenda if elected President.

Many on social media are excited to see Castro throw his hat in the race for President in 2020.

Whether Castro gets the nomination or not, he is making many people proud just by announcing his presidential bid. It’s not everyday a Latino gets to say “I’m running for President of the United States.”

Castro is running a relatable campaign and people love his underdog mentality.

While some see Castro’s bid as a long shot, it hasn’t stopped people from embracing him and his “no gimmicks” attitude. If Castro is to win the presidential bid, he would become the third-youngest person ever to become president. Whatever happens from now until the next summer’s primaries should be interesting for Castro but one thing is for sure. He has already guaranteed a Latino will be part of the presidential race in 2020.


READ: People Are Already Excited Julian Castro Announced That He Is Considering Running For President

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Detained Teenagers’ Artwork, Dubbed ‘Uncaged Art’ On Display In University Of Texas At El Paso

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Detained Teenagers’ Artwork, Dubbed ‘Uncaged Art’ On Display In University Of Texas At El Paso

UTEP

Between June 2018 and January 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services detained more than 6,000 teenagers from Central and South America in a tent city 40 miles south of El Paso. It was called the Tornillo Children’s Detention camp and was the largest detention center for children in the United States. While detained there, the teenagers, aged 13-17, were asked to participate in a social studies project to create art that reminded them of their home. Their art was on display around the tent city until a story by The New York Times shined a light on the teens’ paltry living conditions, and the government shut the facility down in January 2019.

As Tornillo Children’s Detention Camp was being shut down, workers trashed nearly all of the 400 pieces of art. However, one priest and several community organizations came together and were able to save 29 of the pieces.

Father Rafael Garcia, a Jesuit Priest, was one of the few outside visitors allowed into the camp.

Credit: Sacred Heart Church, El Paso, TX / Facebook

“It is hard to describe the mood there; some kids were very glum and sad, others had no expression,” Father Garcia told NBC News. “Then there were others interacting like normal kids.” The artwork was on display until January 2019, when the U.S. government decided to close the camp. As officers were tossing the artwork, Garcia asked for permission to redistribute the art to others who may want it.

“If I hadn’t been there, and received permission to keep some of the pieces, it probably would have all been thrown in the dumpster,” Garcia said.

With the artwork in hand, Garcia called Yolanda Chávez Leyva, Ph.D., University of El Paso Texas Professor and co-founder of El Paso’s Museo Urbano.

Credit: Borderzine Reporting across fronteras / YouTube

Leyva would go to the Tornillo Children’s Detention Center on her days off to visit with the kids. Garcia knew that she co-founded El Paso’s community museum known for preserving borderland history. Garcia wanted the museum and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to protect the artwork. They did one better and put all the art on display at UTEP’s Centennial Museum. 

Father Garcia sees the final outcome–an exhibit featuring their work–as “a ray of light from a grim experience.”

Credit: UTEP

The Museum website describes the exhibit as reflective of “the resiliency, talent, and creativity of young men and women who trekked 2,000 miles from their homes in Central America to reach the United States.” The exhibit, titled ‘Uncaged Art,’ “provides us with a window into the personal world of migrant children whose visions and voices have often been left out of mainstream media accounts,” reads the website.

Still, the art is on display behind a chain-link fence, to remind visitors of the conditions the young artists were in at the time.

Credit: Borderzine Reporting across fronteras / YouTube

The social studies teachers allowed the students four days to create the art and allowed them to create individually or in groups. There were no other instructions other than to think of their home. Those instructions resulted in an array of mixed media art including dresses, sculptures and hundreds of drawings and sketches. Then, “camp officials” judged the art and selected their perceived best works to display around the camp.

Human rights attorney, Camilo Pérez-Bustillo thinks that the camp released the artwork as a PR stunt to look good.

Credit: UTEP

Pérez-Bustillo had interviewed about 30 children from the camp and believes the artwork was essentially curated by the facility. “I think they released it to look good,” Pérez-Bustillo told The Texas Observer. “They had so much negative publicity at the end from the national media, especially after news reports that their employees did not have to submit to FBI checks, they decided to shut it down and cut their losses.”  

For now, we don’t know the faces behind the artwork.

Credit: UTEP

In June 2018, Beto O’Rourke led hundreds of protesters to the tent city demanding humane conditions for the ever-expanding tent city. Temperatures were over 100 degrees while the children were living in tents. A DHS spokesperson told the public that the tents were air-conditioned. Some of the children told an attorney that the worst part of the facility was never knowing when they’d get out. Some kids would keep track of the days that passed by scribbling numbers on their forearms.

Still, the government’s response to the problem was to loosen the strict requirements for sponsorships. All of the children are now sponsored by people around the country.

Wherever they are, we hope that they see their artwork is cherished by our community.

Credit: “tornillo art” Digital Image. Texas Observer. 23 August 2019.

We know that the symbol of the quetzal bird created in this artwork is a symbol of freedom for Guatemala. In the words of one of the artists, as told by The Texas Observer, “The quetzal cannot be caged or it will die of sadness.”

READ: Texas Detention Officer Charged With Sexual Assault Of An Undocumented Mother’s Child

Julian Castro’s Mom Gave Serious Wisdom About The Racism Latinos Face Today

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Julian Castro’s Mom Gave Serious Wisdom About The Racism Latinos Face Today

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

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