Things That Matter

Here’s Why Representative Luis Gutierrez Will Not Be Seeking Re-Election To Congress

Luis Gutiérrez is leaving Congress but staying in the fight for immigrant rights.

Representative Luis Gutiérrez announced Tuesday that he would not be running for re-election after serving the 4th Congressional district of Illinois for more than 20 years. Instead, Rep. Gutiérrez has promised that he will move to the private sector to build a “new, fierce framework for immigrant rights.” The Illinois politician also announced his longing to help Puerto Rico, the birthplace of his parents and wife, to rebuild.

“I love Puerto Rico and she’s in a lot of pain,” Rep. Gutiérrez said through tears. “There’s a lot of people who turned their backs on her and she needs to be rebuilt. I cannot be here in the 4th Congressional district and rebuilding the home of my mom and my dad, where my wife was born; a place that I love so much. I’m going to work really hard until she is completely rebuilt to 21st century standards.”

Rep. Gutiérrez did turn things to a lighter note when he addressed questions about his sudden departure. Rather than waiting until he was an old man on a respirator, Rep. Gutiérrez told reporters that he is happy to leave standing with his beautiful wife and daughter by his side. Gutiérrez has since endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” Garcia to succeed him. Rep. Gutiérrez is expected to finish out his term, which ends in 2019.

People are saddened by the news because his voice had been so powerful.

Rep. Gutiérrez took to the floor of the House several times over the years to address the concerns of his constituents and the Latino community. He has been a vocal proponent of just immigrant rights and has recently been the most vocal politician fighting for Puerto Rico hurricane relief.

Gutiérrez is receiving thanks and appreciation for all the work he has done during his time in office.

“Congressman Luis Gutiérrez has fought tirelessly to uphold our deepest held values and been an ardent defender of immigrants, the Puerto Rican community, and hard-working Americans across this nation,” Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lejan Grisham said in an email statement. “To the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressman Gutiérrez’s example and enduring legacy of principled leadership will continue to guide generations of leaders. During his career, he courageously and boldly traveled to every corner of our country to give hope to all those who believed in the promise of America. It is for that reason that Congressman Gutiérrez’s impact should not be measured in words, but rather in the number of lives he’s changed for the better.”

His work has impacted the lives of so many people outside of his constituency.

He has been arrested numerous times fighting for the rights of DACA recipients and immigrant rights.

His work has made others long for more politicians like him.

Best of luck in your future endeavors, Rep. Gutiérrez. Your voice will be missed in Congress.


READ: Rep. Gutiérrez Arrested At White House Rally On DACA Anniversary

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Neighbors Raised $60k to Keep this Mariachi Band Family From Being Evicted During the Pandemic

Things That Matter

Neighbors Raised $60k to Keep this Mariachi Band Family From Being Evicted During the Pandemic

Photo via Cielito Lindo Family Folk Music/Facebook

While the pandemic has negatively impacted a lot of Americans, those who derived their income from in-person industries like food, hospitality, and live entertainment, have been hit the hardest.

Once COVID-19 shut the country down, many household were forced to scramble to make ends meet. And while the government offered some assistance, for many it wasn’t enough.

This predicament was exactly what the Chicago family, the Luceros, were going through.

The Luceros are a Chicago-based Mexican-American family who moonlight as the mariachi band, Cielito Lindo. Around Chicago, the Lucero family was known for their astonishing musical abilities.

Juan and Susie Lucero are parents to a talented team of seven children, all of whom play different musical instruments and have breathtaking singing voices. Diego, Miguel, Antonio, Carlos, Lilia, Maya, and Mateo all have different roles within the band, while Juan is the bandleader.

Before the pandemic, the Lucero family derived the majority of their income from their live performances. They would cover classic favorites like “El Rey” as well as doing mariachi-twists on modern pop hits like Cardi B’s “I Like it Like That”.

But when COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, the Lucero family was no longer allowed to play live events.

All of their performances were canceled. Even their long-standing weekly gig at a local restaurant disappeared. Their income dropped by 40%.

While the Luceros tried to cut corners and make small changes, the reality was, they couldn’t keep up with their bills. By the time Christmas rolled around, they were $18,000 behind on rent. They got an eviction notice.

The family had heard that the government had launched a rent-assistance program, but they couldn’t find many details on how to apply. They were completely lost.

Desperate for help, Juan Lucero reached out to his Facebook friends, asking them if they knew how to apply for government assistance.

But what he got in return was something even better. Their community decided to step up and take action.

“A few of us talked and said, ‘We can’t let them be evicted from their home. There’s just no way,'” their neighbor, Robert Farster, recently told CBS This Morning.

Farster ended up creating a GoFundMe page for the Lucero family. “Our good friends, the Luceros, need help,” he wrote. “Juan, Susy and their seven kids are too proud to ask for it, so as their friends, we’re stepping in.”

Within days, Farster had raised over $60,000, veritably saving the Luceros from eviction.

“It’s like a miracle. We didn’t expect that,” Juan Lucero told This Morning. “It feels like a big warm hug from many people.”

Juan’s wife, Susy Lucreo felt the same way. Despite these divisive times, she felt tons of love and support from her community.

“We feel very much loved and accepted as a Mexican-American family with roots in Guadalajara,” she told This Morning. “And we come together to share that combination of culture, which really is what America is all about–this big melting pot.

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Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

Culture

Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

Undocumented communities are being left out of Covid relief plans. Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya in Chicago is working to help undocumented restaurant worker in the time of Covid. Abuse of undocumented workers is rampant in certain industries and Chef Dávila hopes to offer some kind of help.

Mi Tocaya is a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square that wants to help the community.

Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality industry with restaurants being hit exceptionally hard. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors for good as the virus dragged on with no decent relief plan from the federal government. As several countries financially support citizens to avoid economic disaster, the U.S. government has given citizens $1,800 total to cover 10 months of isolating and business closures.

Namely, Mi Tocaya is working to help the undocumented community.

Mi Tocaya, a family-run restaurant, is teaming up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits Dishroulette Kitchen and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. The goal is to highlight the issues facing the undocumented community during the pandemic.

The initiative called Todos Ponen, is all about uplifting members of our community in a time of severe need. The restaurant is creating healthy Mexican family meals for those in need.

”We asked ourselves; How can we keep our doors open, provide a true service to the community, maintain and create jobs, and keep the supply chain intact by supporting local farmers and vendors. This is the answer,” Chef Dávila said in a statement. “I confidently believe The TODOS PONEN Logan Square Project addresses all of the above and can very well be easily implemented in any community. Our goal is to bring awareness to the lack of resources available to the undocumented workforce- the backbone of our industry.”

The initiative starts in February.

Mi Tocaya is offering 1000 free meals for local farmers and undocumented restaurant workers. The meals are available for pickup Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647. to make this happen, Mi Tocaya also needs your help.

The restaurant has teamed up with two nonprofits to make sure that they can scale their operation to fulfill their commitment. They are also asking for donations to make sure they can do what they can to help undocumented restaurant workers.

According to Eater LA, 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off since the pandemic started. Some restaurants have had to lay off up to 91 percent of their staff because of Covid, about 10 percent of those are undocumented. In the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent of the laid-off restaurant staff are undocumented.

“People don’t want to talk about the undocumented workforce, but they’re part of our daily routine in most restaurants,” Jackson Flores, who manages the operations of Mi Tocaya, said in a statement. “They are in the toughest position in the whole economy because they’re an invisible part of it. Restaurant worker advocacy groups have added the creation of relief funds to their agendas, but there have yet to be long-term changes in protections for undocumented workers. Without access to unemployment benefits and other government resources, this group is especially vulnerable.”

READ: Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

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