Things That Matter

Meet 8-Year-Old Latina Immigration Activist Sophie Cruz Who Is Changing The Conversation On Immigrant Rights

It’s a scary time right now for immigrants in the U.S., and nobody feels that more profoundly than 8-year-old Sophie Cruz, daughter of undocumented parents.

You’ve probably already heard of her from when she made international headlines when she handed the Pope a heartbreaking letter entrenched in her fear of ICE. She was just five years old then. Latina girls may just change the world.

Sophie Cruz is an American citizen of Oaxacan heritage.

@JuanSaaa / Twitter

Her parents came to the U.S. without documentation from Oaxaca, Mexico. She has a little sister, who, in the photos, hilariously seems pretty stoic about her hermana’s stage presence.

It all started on September 23, 2015, when she made it past the barricades to get to Pope Francis.

@tkbcinhayward / Twitter

She was desperate to hand him a letter to beg for help for her undocumented parents. He stopped the parade to give her a blessing and a hug.

They are why she was so desperate to make it past what the NYT called “one of the largest mobilizations of security officers in American history.”

@paolamendoza / Twitter

They had all traveled from Los Angeles to see the pope with an immigration activist group called the Catholic Delegation for Reform.

Security eventually stopped her but the Pope saw her run out from the crowd and invited her to come closer.

@yatzirizepeda / Twitter

Her courage and determination didn’t happen on a whim. She truly hoped to meet the Pope to ask for his help.

“Pope Francis, I want to tell you that my heart is very sad, because I’m scared that one day ICE is going to deport my parents.”

@fforrfeminism / Instagram

The letter she eloquently shared with the Pope goes on to say, “I have a right to live with my parents. I have a right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing metals. Immigrants like my dad feed this country. They therefore deserve to live with dignity, they deserve to be respected, they deserve immigration reform, because it would be beneficial to my country, and because they have earned it working very hard, picking oranges, onions, watermelons, spinach, lettuce, and many other vegetables.”

Oh and also, she wrote:

“Don’t forget about us the children…”

@latinaspoderosas / Instagram

“Don’t forget about us the children, or about those who suffer because they’re not with their parents because of war, because of violence, because of hunger.”

She even gave the Pope this muy bella drawing.

@ngjennings / Twitter

That super colorful dress and girl with the braids is how Sophie Cruz sees herself. Nos encanta.

The next day, the Pope brought up the issue with Congress.

@votolatino / Twitter

He had a joint meeting scheduled the next day with the United States Congress, and he took the opportunity to encourage more openness for immigrants and refugees. Five-year-old Sophie Cruz changed the Pope’s agenda.

The next year, she was invited to speak at the Washington Women’s March.

@MurielBowser / Twitter

At this point, she was just 6 years old and speaking in front of tens of thousands of people. ????She began with this touching moment, “We are here together, making a chain of love to protect our families. Let us fight with love, faith, and courage so that our families will not be destroyed.”

She gave her speech in both English and Spanish. ????

@Weasal / Twitter

She went on to say, “I also want to tell the children not to be afraid because we are not alone. There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love and tender to snuggle in this path of life.”

“Let’s keep together and fight for our rights. God is with us.”

@MurielBowser / Twitter

When she started speaking in Spanish, her mom just straight up started weeping.

Cruz became the face of DAPA, and sat in Supreme Court hearings to consider protections for parents.

@paolamendoza / Twitter

Beforehand, she spoke in front of five thousand immigrants, families and supporters in front of the Supreme Court. That said, her prominence has meant that she’s had to do a lot of this without her parents.

She met with President Obama and Joe Biden.

@LaCasaBlanca44 / Twitter

Her parents couldn’t pass background checks to enter the White House because of their status, so she went with documentary filmmaker Paola Mendoza. When Cruz isn’t speaking into a microphone to advocate for immigrants, she’s subtly wearing mariposas on her meet-POTUS dress in homage to migrants.

In October 2016, she submitted a question for the Presidential debate.

@elisafayemakes / Twitter

The question read, “If you deport my parents, what happens to me? I am 6 years old and an American citizen. I have a 3-year-old sister who is also an American. My heart is very sad, because I’m scared that ICE is going to deport my undocumented mommy and daddy.”

The question was not aired.

Even though she’s more than a decade away from being able to vote, she wants you to get the vote out.

@CalEndow / Twitter

Also, we must comment on her repping Oaxacan indigenous clothing in the cutest possible way, always.

Cruz has become a political icon for immigration activists.

@marimansfield / Instagram

And there is a ton of artwork on the Internet to prove it. She’s the muse for hope for change.

The San Jose Museum of Art recently created a mural in her honor in October 2018.

@sjmusart / Twitter

Caption: “The #SophieCruz mural of hope is already inspiring our community members. Stop by @PurpleMuseum to check its progress.”

Define American named her “Activist of the Year” in 2018.

@DefineAmerican / Twitter

Caption: “Sophie Cruz is our Activist of the Year for her advocacy for undocumented families.” Get it, girl!

The county of Los Angeles has even awarded her for her activism.

@HildaSolis / Twitter

Politician Hilda Solis invited Cruz to share her message in front of the County Board of Supervisors. Cruz deserves all these awards and more.

What Cruz really deserves is to feel like her family is safe.

@DavidCamposSF / Twitter

And while her parents have not been deported, likely due to the public outcry at this point, they could be legally deported at any time. Sophie needs us all to dig deep past the exhaustion and hopelessness and unearth a passion like hers to create a safer future for all our kids.

Thank you, Sophie. You’re our hero.

READ: Sophie Cruz’s Mom Wiping Her Tears As She Watched Her 6 Year Old Speak At The Women’s March Is All Of Us

George Floyd’s Daughter Opens Up About What She Knows About Her Father’s Death

Things That Matter

George Floyd’s Daughter Opens Up About What She Knows About Her Father’s Death

Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

George Floyd was killed by police on Memorial Day during an arrest in Minneapolis. Cities have experienced large-scale protests and unrest demanding justice for Floyd and his family. His 6-year-old daughter Gianna recently spoke with “Good Morning America” about her father and you will need some tissues.

“Dad changed the world.”

“Good Morning America” recently sat down with Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter, and her mother Roxie Washington. The two were asked about George and the man/father he was leading up to his death in police custody. Gianna remembered her dad as someone who was always there to play with her. Now, she remembers him for being a man who changed the world and becoming a name that everyone knows.

Washington had nothing but good things to say about Gianna’s father. George, according to Washington, was an exceptional father to Gianna and had moved to Minneapolis from Houston to better provide for his daughter. Washington first learned that George had been killed through a phone call from a friend. She found the video online and could only watch a small portion of it before crying.

Through tears, Washington explains that she hasn’t been able to tell Gianna the real way that George had died. It is too hard for her to explain George’s death and Washington wishes she would have been able to do something about it.

A fundraiser for Gianna is up on GoFundMe and has raised more than $1 million for the young girl.

There have been several fake GoFundMe pages crop up for Gianna but there is only one official one managed by Stewart Trial Attorneys. The legal team is not collecting any of the funds raised through GoFundMe. If you would like to donate to Gianna’s fund, you can click here.

Gianna’s own words about her father’s legacy are leaving an impression on everyone who hears her.

Four words with so much power have gone viral on social media. “Daddy changed the world,” Gianna says as she rides on George’s best friend’s shoulders. Gianna might not fully understand how her father has changed the world but it is clear that she knows that his life mattered and that his life has the chance to generate much-needed change in the U.S.

Stay strong, Gianna. Your father clearly loved you so much. His life is making a difference because your dad is going to change the world.

READ: Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

Black Books To Read To Your Children Right Now

Fierce

Black Books To Read To Your Children Right Now

The Books Wars

Black children of today are being forced to face literally a world of uncertainty and so much pain. Still, that doesn’t mean that the world they look at is without its potentials and that their efforts won’t make an impact.

In light of recent events, we’ve gathered a list of children’s books to read to your children as a reminder that they are powerful and that Black lives really matter.

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Amazon.com

This poetic and lyrical children’s book for Black readers is a reminder to dream big. Beautifully illustrated and perfect for out-loud reading, this book will instill pride in the radical and cultural identity of those who are Black.

Ages 3–10.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Amazon.com

Published in 1962, The Snowy Day is a children’s book that follows Peter, an African American boy, who takes a walk around his neighborhood after the season’s first snowfall. Written by Ezra Keats this book received the 1963 Caldecott Medal for its artwork and was the first picture book that featured an African American protagonist.

Ages 2 and up

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

Amazon.com

This book might be intended for children ages 3 to 7 but it’s an important one for children and people of all ages. Educational and inspiring this book is a dedication to forty Black women in American history. Flip through these pages and learn more about the activists like abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and poet Maya Angelou.

Ages 3 – 7

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Amazon.com

Teach your little one about self-love and Black beauty with this book about Zuri a girl who has hair with a mind of its own. Fortunately, her dad steps in to take up the phone and help her sort through her kinks, coils for a special event.

Ages 4 – 8

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Amazon.com

Written by Black actress Lupita Nyong’o, this whimsical book is a celebration of Black skin and beauty. Nyong’o’scharacter Sulwe has skin the color of midnight and yearns to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister but a magical journey in the night sky, fortunately, changes her opinion of everything.

Ages 4 – 8

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson

Amazon.com

Nelson’s children’s book takes flight with one of America’s best-known songs and follows a boy and his family as they live in and engage in the world we live in.

Ages 4–8.