Things That Matter

Ritchie Torres Is Running For Congress To Give His Community The Representation It Deserves

Politics is getting particularly young, and we like it. From Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to State Senator Alessandra Biaggi to Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou to legislator Caleb Hanna, all of these young politicians are bringing a breath of fresh air to their policies and to the political discourse. Now, there’s another name to include in the list that is breaking barriers in more ways than one.

Meet 31-year-old Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres who is running for Congress. If he wins his next year, he will be the first openly gay black or Latino member of Congress.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

Do not think for a second that Torres, while young, is new to the game. Born and raised in the Bronx, Torress has been in the political world since 2013, bringing change on a local level but making a considerable impact. Currently, he is the chair of the Committee on Public Housing and is a deputy majority leader. He is also the chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee. 

Next year, Torres and 12 others will seek to replace Rep. José Serrano in New York’s 15th Congressional District. His competition includes Assembly Member Michael Blake, Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez, former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Tomas Ramos, among others, Buzzfeed reports. But he is a frontrunner in the campaign, and here’s why. 

While Torres is running against several other Latino politicians, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has officially announced they are officially endorsing him and helping to fund his campaign.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

“In a crowded field, Torres has been able to build a strong and diverse coalition of support from labor groups, LGBTQ groups, and many of his own colleagues on the city council,” Rep. Tony Cárdenas, chair of BOLD PAC, told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “He knows the issues that keep Bronx families up at night — not just from his time as a city council member — but from growing up in the Bronx and being raised by a single mother. He’s proven to be the stand-out Latino candidate in this field, and BOLD PAC is proud to put our full support behind his campaign to bring home a victory next November.”

Of this endorsement, Torres tweeted, “Honored to earn the endorsement @BOLDDems which has been at the forefront of strengthening Latinx representation in Congress. The backing of @BOLDDems is a game-changer in the #SouthBronx, which is home to one of the highest Latinx populations in the US.”

The ambitious politician is half Puerto Rican and half Black.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

“I was raised by a single mother who had to raise three children on minimum wage, and I lived in conditions of mold and vermin, lead and leaks,” Torres said in his campaign video. “I remember asking myself, why would the city spend $100 million on a golf course, rather than on the homes of struggling New Yorkers like my mother. I knew at that moment that I had to fight for people like me.” 

Here he explains further why he chose to become a lawmaker and serve his community in the Bronx.

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

“As a product of public housing, public schools, and public hospitals, I had a dream of fighting for my community in the hopes of building a better Bronx,” he said on his website. “At 25, against all odds, I became the youngest elected official in New York City, and the first openly LGBT elected official from the Bronx. I have represented Bronx communities on the New York City Council, and now I’m running to represent New York’s 15th Congressional District – because the Bronx needs one of our own to fight for us in Washington.”

His motto is: “If you do nothing, nothing will change.” 

Credit: ritchietorresny15 / Instagram

Torres is inspiring significant change already. Several of his staff employees are young people of color. One of the young Latinos that work for Torres said in a video published by the New Yorker that most kids that are from the Bronx work hard to leave the area. He said he remains there to give back to the community, which is why he works for Torres. 

Fun fact: he was named Ritchie after you guessed it: Ritchie Valens.

According to a 2015 interview in Newsweek, Torres said his mother wanted to name him Ritchie after she watched “La Bamba.” Well, that does it. He’s got our vote.

READ: This Is How Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Plans To Tackle Poverty In The US

A Trump Supporter Tried To Come For Cardi B After She Said She Wants To Be A Politician And Failed

Entertainment

A Trump Supporter Tried To Come For Cardi B After She Said She Wants To Be A Politician And Failed

iamcardib / Instagram

The 27-year-old queen of rap, Cardi B, announced to her Twitter followers Sunday that she’s thinking about becoming a politician. “I think I want to be a politician,” the rapper tweeted, adding, “I really love government even tho I don’t agree with Goverment.” Since then, the rapper has expanded on what she’s thinking she’ll do next to make those dreams come true, including returning to school. Since announcing her interest, Cardi B’s already started expanding on the issues that matter to her. She wants to represent the vast majority of Americans who don’t want war. Cardi B wants gun screening to look more like screening to join the military. Cardi B says she believes “we have the right to bear arms,” but she also believes in raising the minimum age limit to own a gun, requiring “mental check-ups” and “proper training” to screen for gun owners. 

Of course, Trump supporters have come to drag Cardi B, using coded language to attack her intelligence, education and slut-shame her. Good thing Cardi B is self-secure enough to combat classism.

First, Cardi B says she wants to go back to school “a couple of years” to “shake the table.”

CREDIT: @IAMCARDIB / TWITTER

“I deadass have sooo much ideas that make sense,” Cardi suggested, saying, “I just need a couple of years of school and I can shake the table.” A few minutes later, Cardi B recalled all the war documentaries she’s been watching lately. “No matter how many weapons a country have you need people! How are you trying to go against a country and possibly start a war when this country lacks patriotism? I barely see people claiming they LOVE being American,” she tweeted.

Trump supporter and internet personality Mindy Robinson decided to try Cardi B.

Credit: @IHEARTMINDY / TWITTER

You’re going to need more school than that.  👌🏻,” Robinson tweeted, along with a proofread version of Cardi B’s tweet and the subversive white supremacy symbol. “Your spaces are off too…but hey, how can we hold you accountable for kindergarten level sh*t, am I right?” Robinson asked of Cardi B. 

Cardi took the bait and clapped back with a warning: “don’t want to dog walk you ❤️”

CREDIT: @IAMCARDIB / TWITTER

“Sis your lips ashy and you barely have none …Leave me alone,” Cardi responded to the MAGA right’s internet poster child. “I didn’t insulted your party or your believes so please don’t try me and let’s keep sweet OK….don’t want to dog walk you  ❤️,” Cardi added. Of course, Robinson soaked up the attention and responded to essentially assert classism. “I went to college for both American History and Political Science,” Robinson tweeted, adding, “although to be fair…even my cat is more qualified to run for Congress than Cardi B. 👌🏻” 

Robinson concluded her tweet once again with the controversial “👌🏻” emoji, which was initially used by a small set of white supremacists who thought the hand gesture symbolized the “w” and “p” in “white power.” It’s since grown into an internet sensation for the right as a way to “troll” liberals. The “👌🏻” is so ubiquitous that it’s easy for someone who uses it maliciously to just say they’re making an “okay” symbol. From MAGA far-right supporters, it’s become a well-protected microaggression to people of color.

In response, Cardi followed through on her word and dog walked the mierda out of Robinson.

CREDIT: @IAMCARDIB / TWITTER

“You really mad cause you stay takin pics like this and mention Trump 20 times a day to get his attention,” Cardi B tweeted back along with a photo of Robinson in an American flag bikini. “HEY! Don’t take your anger out on me cause he don’t wanna fuck you sis  🤷🏽‍♀️ 😩😩,” Cardi B added. The MAGA-supporting right has been consistent in retweeting photos of Cardi B stripping or wearing bathing suits along with captions like, “she and ole AOC can compare how their cup size is inversely proportionate to their IQs.” A “Women for Trump” account with over 5,000 followers shared the news along with calling the rapper “Low IQ Cardi B.” We don’t even need to explain why “low IQ” is a racist dog whistle.

“Cardi B for Congress” has started a conversation on classism and has already generated campaign banners.

Credit: @PEOPLE4BERNIE / TWITTER

The irony of suggesting someone couldn’t be a member of congress because of their grammar despite the fact that the president you so vehemently support uses nothing higher than 3rd-grade level diction 🤦🏾‍♂️grammatical skills ≠ intelligence,” another supporter tweeted at Robinson and Cardi. “Let me tell you something cause every time I post anything political I get attack all type of crazy,” Cardi later tweeted. “If you are a conservative & if you support a opposite party that’s OK( unless you racist)we can get into friendly debates on here voice your opinion… And I’ll voice mines HOWEVER don’t try me and don’t take my kindness for weakness.I BE VIOLATING!!! I don’t really like being on that type of time. We grown! Let’s be grown. Lets teach and learn.”

In conclusion, in the words of another Twitter user, “If Donald Trump is the president of the United States right now I don’t see why Cardi B can’t be a politician.”

READ: Cardi B Made A Video With Bernie Sanders And It’s Not Totally What We Expected But It’s Still Vital

A White Woman Is Suing Two Black Teachers Claiming Reverse Racism After She Banned Black History Lessons

Things That Matter

A White Woman Is Suing Two Black Teachers Claiming Reverse Racism After She Banned Black History Lessons

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For the past several years, the country’s educational system has been challenged over what students should be learning in school and, for a good reason. The classes, in particular, history, are antiquated and, even more importantly, incorrect. As a society, we’ve been taught a white version of America’s history, and it’s only when we get to college or continue our studies elsewhere that we begin to discover the truth. But little by little, through education reform, teachers are attempting to change that in order to teach students about the real America and how their ancestors make up the fabric of this country. Some, however, in power positions don’t want that. 

A legal battle has ensued between a Bronx principal and teachers in which both parties are calling each other racist.

Credit: @TravelsWithTony / Twitter

The issue between these two parties began in 2018 when Mercedes Liriano, a teacher at Bronx Intermediate School 224, began teaching her sixth graders about the Harlem Renaissance in her art class during Black History Month. 

Patricia Catania, a white principal of that school at the time, told her to stop the lesson immediately. She took away posters that students were carrying that depicted the image of singer Lena Horne. Catania said that Liriano didn’t approve her lesson plan for Black History Month, but Liriano, a black teacher, said she submitted her entire lesson plan for the year. Furthermore, in an interview with the Washington Post, Liriano said that she has been teaching those lessons during Black History Month for the past 14 years. 

Teachers and parents were so appalled that the principal would prevent the teacher from teaching the Harlem Renaissance during Black History Month that they protested the matter.

Credit: YouTube

The matter last year garnered national attention, and many high-profile black activists got involved. 

“We’re learning about slavery and Harriet Tubman, but she says that I’m an ELA teacher and therefore should not be teaching that,” Liriano said last year to a local news station. “But it’s part of the New York state curriculum.”

While the school board investigated the matter, Catania continued to work at the school. This June, however, Catania got a demotion and was moved to another school just a mile away. She became the assistant principal at a different school. 

Now, months after her demotion, the former principal has filed a lawsuit against three black teachers and the union because she says they falsely accused her of being racist and claims they discriminated against her.

Credit: National Black United Front / Facebook

“There is literally not a racist thought in my head, nor a racist molecule in my body, nor have I ever made a racist comment, or acted in a racist manner in my life,” Catania said in a sworn deposition.

Her lawyer adds, “She’s been portrayed as the villain, but she’s really the victim here,” Anthony Gentile, Catania’s lawyer, said in an interview with the Post. “It was racism, pure and simple, [even though] some people may not see her as sympathetic as when this happens to a brown-skinned person.”

Liriano wrote on Twitter, “Reverse racism does not exist when we were not or have ever been the oppressors! All I have ever done was instill PRIDE! in my students! My children! By teaching them about their rich culture and true stories!!”

We shall see how this matter plays out in court. 

Last year, another Bronx school official was also investigated after she made some of her black students act as slaves so they could endure what they did.

Credit: YouTube

Teacher Patricia Cummings at another Bronx school had some of her black students lay on the floor to reenact a “slave trade — and then stepped on their backs to show them what slavery felt like,” The New York Daily News reports.An investigation found that she didn’t do everything she was accused of. She was still fired, and she is also suing the school board for a billion dollars. Yes, you read that right. 

“They’re on the record for saying the reason I’m being terminated is because of my performance as an educator and the report,” Cummings said according to ABC News. “My performance as an educator, I’ve been rated effective by the Department of Education. I’m an effective teacher.”

READ: Students At This High School Apparently Thought It Was OK To Drag A Black Mannequin By A Rope At Their Homecoming Game