Things That Matter

Here’s Why These Activists Are Urging You To Use Your Voice And Vote Today

Familia, it’s all going down today. If you’re reading this, there’s still time for you to get out and vote for the 2018 midterm. Vote for people who align with your beliefs and values because voting is a fundamental right. Vote for innovators who want to make college affordable to all Americans. Vote for people who see people and not “bad hombres.”

Voting in the midterm elections today is more important than ever, and these Latino bosses want you to help.

CREDIT: @news_liveworld / Twitter

Just a couple days ago, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Gina Rodriguez, Rosario Dawson and Zoe Saldana brought their star power to Florida to support Andrew Gillium, the current Tallahassee Mayor, for governor.

Overall, they were there for Latinos. According to Billboard, Eva Longoria came right out with it and said, “Latinos are under attack. We have the power to end Trump’s agenda against the Latino community.”

America Ferrera

CREDIT: @carmencitaloves / Twitter

Caption: “Ok, Ladies (& gentlemen), now let’s get in formation! ????‍♀️????‍♀️????‍♂️Tomorrow is Election Day! Grab your friends and vote!!!! Find your voting location at Vote.org”

Eva Longoria

CREDIT: @evalongoria / Instagram

Caption: “Calling all my fellow Texans! Tomorrow is the last day to register to vote! Make a difference this November: Get out there and VOTE y’all! ????”

Zoe Saldana

CREDIT: @wsvn / Twitter

Caption: “We ALL have at least one reason to vote on November 6. As a Latina, I know I have to vote.I’m voting because my vote is my voice.”

Gina Rodriguez

CREDIT: @NewFLMajority / Twitter

At the rally, Rodriguez tore up the dance floor. She also got real, as seen in her Instagram videos, saying, “I get it feels scary. I get it. It feels scary. I get it. It feels like a lot. Just know that when you vote, you snatch all of that fear.”

Rosario Dawson

CREDIT: @aaroncapturedit / Twitter

Caption: “So grateful to all the folks canvassing, phonebanking, galvanizing the #vote! We need you. Without you democracy can not be realized. Thank you to each and every one of you for individually choosing to give face to the movement of hope and change. For creating community with civility, grace, passion and love. I am only one vote, but together we are many…!”

Jennifer Lopez

CREDIT: @jlo / Instagram

Caption: “They think young people don’t vote, latinos don’t vote, women dont vote, PROVE THEM WRONG!!! This election affects us ALL. VOTE. It’s so important that ALL of our voices are heard, not just a few… we live in a beautiful country where we all have a say!!! I urge all of you PLEASE get out there and vote, there are so many issues at stake these elections!! And they affect us all in our daily lives in some way! If you are frustrated by what you been seeing and hearing, you can change it!! You have the power!!! I HAVE A BUNCH OF VOTER INFO IN MY STORIES TO HELP YOU!! #GOVOTE#VOTA #ELECTIONEVE #VOTETUESDAY”

Camila Cabello

CREDIT: @camila_cabello / Instagram

Caption: “JUST VOTED IN MY STATE OF FLORIDA!!!!!!!! ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 6 AND EARLY VOTING GOES TO NOVEMBER 4. GO TO VOTE.ORG TO FIND YOUR NEAREST POLLING PLACE, THIS WEBSITE’S INFORMATION IS SO CLEAR AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND. I AM SORRY FOR THE CAPITALS, I JUST FEEL REALLY EXCITED THAT I JUST VOTED BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IM TAKING MY FRUSTRATION AT THE INJUSTICES THAT HAPPEN IN OUR COUNTRY AND TURNING IT INTO ACTION!!! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US CAN TURN THOSE FEELINGS INTO ACTION WHEN WE SHOW UP TO VOTE. ONE VOTE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE CAN CONTRIBUTE AND HELP WRITE THE STORY OF OUR COUNTRY JUST BY TAKING A FEW MINUTES OUT OF OUR DAY TO VOTE!!! ALSO ITS MY GRANDMAS FIRST TIME VOTING IN THE UNITED STATES AND SHE DID HER RESEARCH AND PREPARED HERSELF AND WE ARE ALL FEELING SO GOOD !!! LETS. GOOOO. LETS VOTE! ➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️VOTE.ORG.”

Camila Mendes

CREDIT: @camilamendes / Instagram

Caption: “i registered to vote while in canada shooting season 1 of riverdale — and as an overseas voter, i had to vote by snail mail — and i hate snail mail. @toryburch created a limited edition VOTE t-shirt, and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Yara Shahidi’s @eighteenx18initiative to engage the next generation of voters. get your t-shirt and support the cause, but more importantly, REGISTER TO VOTE! #ownyourvote”

Justina Machado

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Twitter

Justina Machado got tagged by a friend to record a short video telling the world why she voted. This is what she said:

“I’m voting because it’s my right. I’m voting because I care about this country. I’m voting because I care about you and I care about me. I’m voting because I care about decency. I care about the American dream andI still believe in the American dream. That’s why I’m voting.”

Oh, and then she tagged her TV daughter, Isabella Gomez to share her #whyivote story.

Isabella Gomez

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez_ / Instagram

In her Instagram video, Isabella told her world, “I was challenged by my mami, Justina Machado, to tell you why I vote. I voted because when I moved to this country I was told it was the greatest country in the world. For a long time it felt that way and I believe it still can. I also voted because I know if we all vote, it will make a difference in our everyday lives and because its my responsibility as a citizen.”

Rita Moreno

CREDIT: @TheRitaMoreno / Twitter

The living legend is not the most active social media user, and still, la abuelita to all of us took the time to share what it’s like to be Puerto Rican and forgotten by the American government.

It only takes one word to respond to todos los pendejos in charge: Vote.

George Lopez

CREDIT: @georgelopez / Instagram

Caption: “To everyone who early voted #thankyou To those volunteers who have dedicated their time to a candidate #inappreciation Nov 6th is just a few days away be #chingon #chingonas And remember whatever you do DONT THROW ROCKS ???????? thank you @miss_jalexander#loveyouVote and lets help the living #votolatino #vote lets stop dwelling in the past ( the future ???????????????? smell your Grandmother’s hair ribbons in 6 days @betoorourke #voteforbeto”

Lin-Manuel Miranda

CREDIT: @Lin_Manuel / Twitter

Meanwhile, in 2016, we all skipped to the polls. We mean business this year, and Lin-Manuel Miranda has been active registering people to vote.

Gloria Estefan

CREDIT: @gloriaestefan / Instagram

Well, actually, her grandson. Estefan posted a video of esto muñeco lindo telling the world that he wants everyone to vote because, “If [he] was 18, he would vote.”

It’s one of the perks of being an adult. Use it.

Jessica Alba

CREDIT: @jessicaalba / Twitter

Caption: “#VOTE for my kids and the world I want to raise them in that values equality, common sense, fairness and kindness. Why do you Vote? #midterms#whenweallvote #iamavoter”

Cyn Santana

CREDIT: @Cyn_Santana / Twitter

“Love & Hip Hop” star Cyn Santana has a strong, but clear message for all of us. She ain’t playin. Neither are we.

Selenis Leyva

CREDIT: @selenisleyvaofficial / Instagram

When you play a prisoner in a private, corrupt prison system on television, it changes you. Or maybe you’re just born Latina and you’re pissed off at the world right now and that’s enough.

Dascha Polanco

CREDIT: @sheisdash / Twitter

Caption: “Vote vote. VOTE. This is no time to be complacent. If you’re mad, if you’re frustrated, we need you on Nov. 6. YOU are powerful. November is coming — it’s time to send our elected officials packing. #NoJusticeNoSeat #TakeitBack”

Jenna Ortega

CREDIT: @jennaortega / Twitter

Even baby 16 year old Jenna Ortega, the younger throwback version of Jane Villanueva, is telling everyone to vote.

It doesn’t take long and you can reference voter guides offered by some of your favorite advocacy rights organizations (i.e. The Human Rights Campaign, Voto Latino, Progressive Voter Guides, y más). No matter who you vote for, the most important thing is that you’re out there doing it.


READ: Republicans Have Made Voting In This Majority Latino Town In Kansas Nearly Impossible

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Rep. Henry Cuellar Defeats Progressive Challenger Jessica Cisneros In Texas

Things That Matter

Rep. Henry Cuellar Defeats Progressive Challenger Jessica Cisneros In Texas

repcuellar / jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

Jessica Cisneros conceded the race for Texas’s 28th Congressional District to incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar. The young progressive was once an intern for Rep. Cuellar in Washington and wanted to unseat him to bring progressive ideas to Congress.

Update: Progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros conceded her congressional race to her primary opponent Rep. Henry Cuellar.

Despite the defeat, Cisneros is claiming a victorious because of the power the grassroots campaign had in southern Texas. In her concession speech, Cisneros praised her supporters and staff for making a difference in Texas politics through her campaign.

“I think one thing is clear, that our movement was victorious tonight,” Cisneros told supporters. “That’s because this fight has always been about an opportunity to prove how one of us, a brown girl from our community, with her whole community behind her, could take on an entire machine.”

Rep. Cuellar secured 51.8 percent of the vote which translates to 38,720 votes. Cisneros received 35,964 votes.

Jessica Cisneros is running for Congress to unseat Rep. Henry Cuellar.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

The 26-year-old immigration and human rights attorney is fighting to unseat a politician she once worked for. Cisneros worked for Rep. Cuellar in Washington as an intern answering calls and dealing with constituents’ requests. Now, the young Latina from Laredo, Texas is going to be on the ballot Tuesday trying to unseat him.

“It took me having to go to Washington to figure out how conservative he was,” Cisneros told BuzzFeed News. “I think about that experience a lot, because I get it when we go up to people’s doors and all of a sudden we, you know, hit them with the facts and what the congressman’s been up to, [and] many, many people don’t know.”

Cisneros is one of the many new faces recruited and promoted by Justice Democrats.

Justice Democrats is an organization that is working to elect more people to Congress to fight for working-class issues. According to the website, Justice Democrats is committed to recruiting, training, and election candidate who will fight for issues like “skyrocketing inequality, catastrophic climate change, deepening structural racism as the country becomes more diverse, and the corporate takeover of our democracy.”

Justice Democrats is the same organization the helped get Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez elected in 2018.

Credit: justicedemocrats / Instagram

Cisneros represents the generational change in ideology that can be seen across the political spectrum in the Latino community. Cisneros is in favor of Medicare For All and the Green New Deal, two things that are popular with younger voters.

Rep. Henry Cuellar’s campaign is being dismissive of Cisneros as a viable candidate to unseat the incumbent.

Credit: repcuellar / Instagram

According to the Buzzfeed News article, Rep. Cuellar’s team canceled a scheduled phone interview after insisting that they will not answer any questions that were in response to Cisneros.

“We’re not allowing a 26-year-old young lady who’s never done anything question the character of a dedicated public servant,” Colin Strother, a spokesperson for the campaign, told BuzzFeed News.

Rep. Cuellar is considered “Trump’s favorite Democrat” because of his voting record during Trump’s first two years in office.

Credit: repcuellar / Instagram

According to FiveThirtyEight, Rep. Cuellar voted with President Trump 75 percent of the time. FiveThirtyEight is known for their polling science and, according to them, Rep. Cuellar should only be voting with President Trump 10 percent of the time based on the needs and demands of his constituents. Despite this information, Rep. Cuellar tried to argue that it isn’t that simple.

“If you look at my record here since I started here back in 2005, I’ve always been a centrist. If you want to use voting with the Democratic Party as a measure, you and I are going to be off completely because I was not sent to Washington to vote with the Democratic Party. I am a Democrat, but I don’t see my job as to vote with the Democratic Party. And I think any Democrat or Republican that votes their party, then I think they’re doing a disservice to their constituents,” Rep. Cuellar told FiveThirtyEight in a 2017 interview. “My district is about +7 Democratic, but it’s still a diverse district in many ways. I do better than most Democrats here even though I’m a moderate conservative Blue Dog and I still do very well here. My hometown of Laredo, the border area, I’ll get 90, 95, 98 percent of the vote, so I must be doing something right here.”

The real test will happen during Super Tuesday to see if Texas’s 28th Congressional District will continue with Rep. Cuellar or usher in a new progressive voice in Cisneros.

Credit: jcisnerostx_ / Instagram

Make sure you vote to make your voice heard this election.

READ: Jessica Cisneros Is 26 Years Old And Has Some Big Plans To Rep Her District If Elected To Congress

Guatemala Is The Latest Country To Have Elected An ‘Outsider’ Politician And Here’s What That Means For The Country

Things That Matter

Guatemala Is The Latest Country To Have Elected An ‘Outsider’ Politician And Here’s What That Means For The Country

@drgiammattei / Twitter

This past Sunday, voters took to to the polls in Guatemala and voted in a new leader that will surely shape the country for the next four years. Alejandro Giammattei, a right-wing former prison chief, took victory in the presidential elections in Guatemala, winning nearly 60% of the vote over former First Lady Sandra Torres, who had 42% of the vote. The election was filled with many questions  and ultimately became a contest where Guatemalans viewed the election a battle between the worst possible options. 

Giammattei faced an uphill battle during the election cycle that many didn’t see him ending up on top considering this was his fourth attempt running for President. The 63-year-old spent several months in prison back in 2008, when he was then director of the country’s prison system, due to some prisoners being killed in a raid during this tenure. He would eventually be acquitted of wrongdoing.

“Today is a new period of the country,” Giammattei told supporters Guatemala City following his victory. “Those who voted for us, those who did not vote for us, and those who did not go to vote, it does not matter. Today we need to unite, today I am the president of all Guatemalans.”

Here’s what you need to know about Giammattei and why was elected to lead Guatemala.

Giammattei was at first viewed as a long shot to win the nomination but his get-tough approach to crime and his conservative viewpoints, which includes his strong opposition to gay marriage and abortion, won him over with Guatemalan voters in a presidential runoff. He ran on a platform with a promise to bring down violence, endorse family values and support the death penalty.

There are about eight million Guatemalans who are registered to vote in the Central American country. But the nation that has been hit with by poverty, unemployment and migration issues, had about 45% turnout which suggests widespread disillusionment and lack of confidence with the political process.

Giammattei will take office in January from President Jimmy Morales, who leaves a corruption-tainted legacy. He congratulated his successor and promised a “transparent and orderly” transition.

“I hope that during this transition the doors will open to get more information so we can see what, from a diplomatic point of view, we can do to remove from this deal the things that are not right for us, or how we can come to an agreement with the United States,” Giammattei, 63, told Reuters in an interview.

What does the election of Giammattei mean for Guatemala moving forward, particularly when it comes to immigration?

 Credit:@CNN/Twitter

One of the biggest issues facing Guatemala right now are the growing number of migrants that are leaving the country and heading towards the United States. At least 1% of Guatemala’s population of some 16 million has left the country this year due to a worsening economic situation and distrust in government. About 250,000 people from Guatemala were apprehended at the border since October, according to to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Back in July, the Morales’ administration signed an agreement with the U.S. that would require Salvadorans and Hondurans to request asylum at a port of entry in Guatemala. This was done in part to slow the number of migrants that were crossing through the country to reach the U.S. The new administration will have to figure out what to do with the agreement which could have huge ramifications when it comes to the inflow of Central American migrants coming to the U.S. border. 

This all will mean that Giammattei will need to negotiate with President Trump, who last month threatened to impose a travel ban, tariffs on exports and even  taxes on migrants’ remittances if the country did not work with him on immigration reform. But that relationship won’t be an easy task as many, including  Giammattei don’t agree with the deal. 

“It’s not right for the country,” Giammattei told NBC News. “If we don’t have the capacity to look after our own people, imagine what it will be like for foreigners.”

There are various takes on which direction Guatemala will go in with a new leader at the top. 

Credit:@mdmcdonald/Twitter

As a new era in politics takes shape in Guatemala many are reflecting on the possibilities and the economic effect the election may bring. Many in the country wanted change at the top due to the prior administration and the corruption that it was constantly wrapped in. 

“I decided to vote against Sandra Torres because of the accusations of corruption,” Rosa Julaju, an indigenous Kaqchikel woman, told Al Jazeera.”I hope Giammattei confronts the violence in our country. I voted for him for better security.”

Whatever the reason to vote, it’s clear the country is moving in a new direction that many hope will bring prosperity and more job opportunities. But that will all rest on Giammattei who is in control of a country that is just looking to get back on it’s feet after years of corruption at the top. 

READ: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Has A Theory To Help The Environment: People Should Poop Every Other Day