Things That Matter

How Latinos Made History Across The Country During The Midterm Elections

ocasio2018 / catalinacruzny

On Tuesday, millions of Americans cast their ballot making their voices heard at the polling booth in what was one of the most divisive midterms in recent memory. For Latinos, issues like healthcare and education were some of the biggest issues and it showed. Early numbers show that Latinos came out in droves. Barriers were also broken on Tuesday as voters elected Latinos into office at record numbers in historically Republican districts. From the first Democratic Latina being elected governor in the U.S. to the youngest woman elected ever to Congress, Latinos made history across the country.

While the actual numbers of Latino votes won’t be out till all are counted, voter engagement was higher than the 2014 midterms and reached that of a presidential election.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Latino Decisions.

The final numbers from the 2018 election won’t be available for a few months, but absentee and early voting tallies show that Latinos voted in record numbers. There was an almost 120 percent increase in absentee and early ballots cast by Latinos compared with back in 2014.

“The net wave of the Democratic pickup is due entirely to strong support from minority communities who voted for Democrats.” Matt Barreto, a Latino Decisions pollster, said in a conference call. In an election eve survey by Latino Decisions, 73 percent of Latinos said they voted for a Democratic candidate. That could have been a huge reason behind Democrats taking back the House of Representatives by a tally of 222-196.

Latino voters made their voices heard in three key states; Florida, Texas and California. While Latinos couldn’t deliver wins to Democrats Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida, they came out to support in huge numbers.

In Texas, Latinos requested 365 percent more early and absentee ballots than in 2014 and Florida saw a 129 percent increase. Those campaign losses were’t due to lack of Latino vote rather due to voter suppression and a higher Republican turnout this year. This shows how powerful the Latino vote can be when engaged and candidates focus on issues that they care about. While Texas and Florida were one of the bigger high profile races, many Latinas succeeded in other races across the country making history along the way.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress.

In what was a landmark victory for women and Latinas, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Anthony Pappas to become the youngest woman elected to congress at 29 years old. Cortez gained momentum for her progressive politics, including Medicare for all, tuition-free college, and the ending of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She will now be the one of the faces for the progressive side of the Democratic party as young voters have energized the base.

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia have become the first Latina women elected to Congress in Texas.

While the state of Texas didn’t elect Beto O’Rourke, they did vote in the first Latinas from Texas to go to congress. Veronica Escobar will represent the 16th congressional district, taking the place of Beto O’Rourke. Sylvia Garcia will represent Texas’ 29th congressional district, which includes Houston and Pasadena.

Eleven of Texas’ 36 seats in the House of Representatives are occupied by Democrats. Of those 11 Democrats, two seats — soon to be four, with the addition of Escobar and Garcia — are occupied by women. Both women ran on platforms that included immigration policy reform and expanding affordable health care.

Michelle Luján Grisham was elected governor of New Mexico becoming the first Democratic Latina governor in the country.

History was made as New Mexico voters elected the first Democratic Latina governor in the U.S. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who made a name for herself as one of President Donald Trumps’s strongest critics on immigration, beat Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. The historic win flips New Mexico from red to blue for the first time since 2002. Grisham will replace Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who also made history when she became the first Latina governor elected in the U.S. back in 2010.

Catalina Cruz becomes first former ‘Dreamer’ elected to New York state Assembly.

Democrat Catalina Cruz will be the first “Dreamer” to hold office in New York. The Colombian-born “Dreamer” was raised in Queens after she came to the U.S. with her mother to escape the country and grew up undocumented.  Cruz will be the third “Dreamer” to serve in an elected office in the country. She plans to focus on affordable housing, immigrant rights and small businesses in her district.

The 2018 midterms showed how powerful the Latino vote could be and is a reminder of what is to come in 2020.

Janet Hernandez, Senior Project Manager at UnidosUS, says that this election showed how important the Latino vote is in key races across the country. “There was extremeness numbers in Texas that saw a 100 percent increase in multiple counties by Latinos and huge jumps in voter registration in Florida,” Hernandez said. “It’s very clear that Latinos rejected Donald Trump’s policy of hate and they elected Latino officials along the way.”

She says that her organization helped register new voters at numbers that matched presidential elections as a little over 81,000 Latino voters registered for the 2018 election. Of the 48,000 Latino voters that registered in Florida by UnidosUS, 52 percent are woman. Hernandez pointed out that 80 percent of Latinas are leading community campaigns in her organization and that was reflected in the midterm results. She says that one of the most encouraging things that came out the midterms was the rise in not only women running for office but Latinas that actually won races.

“We’ve been seeing Latinas elected to office at rates never seen before and that just shows that they’re not waiting for someone to lead them but they’re the ones knocking on doors and breaking barriers,” Hernandez said. “Latinos across the country are making their voices heard and if 2020 is anything like 2018, we expect to see even more Latinos leading the charge.”


READ: Latinos Are Expected To Make A Huge Impact During The 2018 Midterm Elections

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After Racist Chants At A Trump Rally Directed At Rep. Omar, Cardi B Has Come Out Supporting The Congresswoman

Entertainment

After Racist Chants At A Trump Rally Directed At Rep. Omar, Cardi B Has Come Out Supporting The Congresswoman

@ilhanmn Instagram / Presley Ann / Stringer Getty Images

As President Trump continues to lead a national racist attack on progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar, Cardi B showed her support for the Minnesota congresswoman with a simple Instagram post.

Within hours, #IStandWithIlhan was trending on Twitter, with public figures and fellow politicians weighing in.

Cardi B was one of the very first people to show her support for Omar.

In typical badass fashion, the “Press” singer quoted Beyonce when posting in support of Omar on Instagram, sharing a photo and writing, “You know you that b**** when you cause all this conversation.”

This is not the first time this week Cardi B, born Belcalis Almánzar, has weighed in on politics. The Bronx-born rapper tweeted Tuesday that she was “really sad” that Democratic voters “let down” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the 2016 presidential primary.

She wrote that the senator has “been fighting for equal rights, HUMAN rights for such along time.”

“Seeing this country become a better place been really his passion for a long time not a new front for a campaign,” she added.

Cardi B’s appreciation post comes after a disgusting rally where Trump continued with his racist rhetoric.

Credit: @AlmaNiqabae / Twitter

Trump held a “Make America Great Again” rally in Greeneville, North Carolina. During the rally, Trump continued to rant against Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressly and Rashia Tlaib, who have become known as “the squad.”

“Let ’em leave… they’re always telling us how to run it, how to do this, how to do that. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell ’em to leave it,” Trump said of the congresswomen.

Although Trump spent time going after each woman individually, only his attack on Omar elicited an offensive chant from the crowd.

“Omar smeared U.S. service members in ‘Black Hawk Down.’ She slandered the brave Americans trying to keep peace in Somalia,” Trump said of Omar.

Trump paused his speech to let the chant continue.

The president also claimed Omar blamed America for the economic crisis in Venezuela and she refused to condemn Al Qaeda. As the president ripped into Omar, people in the crowd began chanting “send her back” in the same way that they chanted “lock her up” during his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

After, Omar responded to the chants at the rally by tweeting, “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!” along with a photo of her on the House floor.

Cardi B fans have been stanning extra hard after her post.

Credit: @yashar / Twitter

To see this strong woman of color come to defend one of Trump’s most vocal opponents sent me any people into a frenzy. Her tweet was simple yet totally summed up what so many of us are thinking and feeling.

I mean she quoted the Queen Bey in her post. Like OMG.

That is some mad stanning right there. Quoting Beyonce lyrics to support a woman of color suffering racist attacks from the President of the United States and his supporters…it doesn’t get more powerful than that.

Cardi B’s favored presidential candidate always weighed in on Trump’s remarks about Omar.

Credit: @SenSanders / Twitter

Cardi B has been pretty vocal about her support of Bernie Sanders for president. She recently said about Bernie, “Seeing this country become a better place been really his passion for a long time not a new front for a campaign.”

READ: Cardi B Stands Behind Bernie Sanders Because Of His Desire To Fight For All People And Their Rights

AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

Things That Matter

AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

@domesticworkers / Twitter

After over a decade of lobbying, The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) work is on the verge of paying off. This week, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced legislation that would establish the first-ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

The bill would effectively include domestic workers as worthy of the same rights as other American workers–including “paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, meal and rest breaks, earned sick time, and freedom for workplace harassment,” according to NDWA.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal is leading the charge to ensure this bill is passed into law.

Credit: @RepJayapal / Twitter

“Did you know most domestic workers are not covered by federal anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws? Well we’re pushing back to change that,” tweets Rep. Jayapal. “My #DomesticWorkersBillofRights will give domestic workers the protections they deserve!”

The bill would grant basic worker’s rights to 2.5 million people in the U.S.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Of those 2.5 million people, 91 percent are women, mostly women of color. Given that domestic workers aren’t required to be paid even minimum wage, and that their work doesn’t include benefits like health insurance, it’s important to make sure every worker earns a living wage. According to NDWA, 70 percent of domestic workers are paid less than $13 an hour.

The workers who do the heavy lifting in the shadows of our economy may finally be recognized as worthy of rights.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

NDWA has worked hard over the years to make it easier for domestic workers (home care workers, nannies and house cleaners). They even created a web app that would allow clients to contribute to a PTO and benefit fund for domestic workers. This bill would ensure that the government is advocating for every worker, so that domestic workers don’t have to fight so hard to advocate for themselves.

Members of the group broke off to meet with their representative.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“We had a powerful meeting with @timkaine where our members in Virginia shared stories about abuse and exploitation in the workplace,” the organization tweeted. “Every single worker deserves to work safely and with dignity. Onward to a National #DomesticWorkersBillOfRights!”

The group met with AOC, who opened up about how the bill would help “little girls like [her].”

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“My mom was a domestic worker,” she tells the group. “As a child I grew up reading books on the staircases of other people’s homes, and doing homework on other people’s dinner tables, because my mom was pursuing domestic work so that I could go on field trips and have a future.”

For AOC, this bill is about reparations for a group of people who often go unseen in this world.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

She praised the group for their advocacy, saying, “When you all are fighting for this, you’re fighting for little girls like me. You’re putting a shirt on a little girl like me’s back. I can’t tell you the reparations it has to see people who are used to being unseen and that’s what this bill does.”

The group also live-tweeted a conversation between several domestic workers and Rep. Jayapal.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

The stories were shocking. A nanny named Thaty shared her experience, saying that “being a nanny takes so much hard work. I don’t know many people who can handle caring for 5 kids under 5 years old! But our work is still considered unskilled. We need to bring our work out of the shadows — so everyone can know what we do and how hard we work.”

Jayapal touched on something deeper than granting legal rights–this issue is about overdue respect.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

So many families rely on domestic workers to come home to a clean home, safe and cared-for children, and more. They’re often not seen as employees but rather, “the help.”

But “The Help” encounter medical issues and injuries while on the job, without any legal protections.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Domestic workers are not included in federal protections for workers injured while on the job. So when Sylvia shared that she never fully recovered from a bad fall on the job, and though it impedes her ability to continue to work, she just has to grimace through it.

That same Sylvia is an inspiration. She told Rep. Jayapal that her experience “meeting workers who felt too vulnerable at work to raise their own voices forced me to be brave enough to raise my own voice, for me and for them. That’s why I’m part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.”

We’re rooting for you!

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

As Latinos, so many of our own moms, tías or abuelas have driven this industry that, frankly, serves as the backbone to our economy. They offer support to middle and upper-class families who have money but don’t have time, and their work supports our families. Time to give some respect.

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