Things That Matter

Rep. Ruben Gallego Broke Down Jared Kushner’s White Privilege In A Twitter Thread About Their Paths To Harvard

Jared Kushner recently made headlines for saying that Black Americans have to “want to be successful.” Kushner continued in the Fox & Friends interview saying that Trump policies are trying to help them with issues that “they’re complaining about.” Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona took to Twitter to call out Kushner and his easy, money-paved path in life after the interview aired.

Rep. Ruben Gallego has a few words about Jared Kushner’s claim that Black Americans don’t “want to be successful.”

Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, was being interviewed by Fox & Friends when he suggested that Black Americans don’t want to successful. He added that the Trump administration has created policies to help Black Americans. Specifically, the Trump administration has created policies to help Black Americans overcome things that “they’re complaining about.”

The interview was immediately slammed by Democrats and activists as being tone deaf. Furthermore, the rhetoric is reminiscent of language used against the Black community for decades to justify policies that disenfranchised and injured the Black community.

Rep. Gallego was one of Kushner’s classmates at Harvard and the two had very different paths to the prestigious school.

Rep. Gallego created a Twitter thread to show the hoops he had to jump through in order to make it to Harvard. As a Latino from a middle class family, Rep. Gallego didn’t have a lot of the same luxuries afford to him like someone of Kushner’s background. The congressman’s story about his way to the Ivy League school is something a lot of people of color can relate to.

The story is an extension and deeper dive into the college admission scandal narrative.

Rep. Gallego detailed his four years in high school with the mission of making it to Harvard. For him, that meant studying for his exams for years with free and used test preps he could get his hands on. There was a community support to make it possible for him to get materials he needed.

According to Data USA, Harvard’s student body is heavily white. The data shows that 41 percent of students are white, 13.5 percent are Asian, 8.19 percent are Hispanic or Latino, and 5.35 percent Black or African-American.

Even the interviewing process was something so many other students didn’t have to contend with.

Some universities, especially ivy league schools, require prospective students to interview with alums and administrators. These interviews weigh heavily in the process and for Rep. Gallego, they were not easy to get to. He had to rely on public transportation to make it to his various interviews around Chicago.

Rep. Gallego spent four years getting ready to go to Harvard.

After four years of hard work and sacrifice, Rep. Gallego was accepted to Harvard. His path to Harvard was filled with friends and family helping him along the way, which is common in Latino communities. It is a story that many of us are familiar with but it isn’t a truly universal story, as Rep. Gallego points out about Kushner.

Kushner’s easy path to Harvard is why the congressman took issue with Kushner’s comments.

Documents show that Kushner got into Harvard after his father pledged a $2.5 million gift to be paid in annual installments of $250,000. Both of Kushner’s parents were also members of Harvard’s Committee of University Resources and donated to the school. In an interview with ProPublica, a former administrator at Kushner’s high school admitted that no one at the school believed that he got admitted on his own merit. The official said that neither his grades nor SAT scores warranted his admission into Harvard.

Rep. Gallego ended his thread asking people to donate to the Biden campaign and the United Negro College Fund.

Rep. Gallego is clearly not letting this story go by without weighing in. Kushner’s comments have set off a firestorm of frustration with people across the nation.

READ: College Admissions Scandal Mastermind Reportedly Told Parents To Lie About Ethnicity To Further Advantage Their White Children

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This Latino In His Sixties Spent Half Of His Life Behind Bars, Now He’s Graduating College With Honors

Things That Matter

This Latino In His Sixties Spent Half Of His Life Behind Bars, Now He’s Graduating College With Honors

Photo via Facebook/Miguel de la Rosa

Once in a while, a story comes along that makes you realize that the phrase “you can do anything you put your mind to”, isn’t just an old cliche. One California Latino man proved that the phrase has some truth behind it.

62-year-old Joseph Valadez just graduated with honors from Cal State Long Beach after spending the half of his adult life behind bars.

Valadez’s story went viral when one of his fellow students tweeted about the California Latino man’s incredible story. “This man accomplished something incredible AND took the coldest pic of 2021,” said that caption.

The post is a screenshot of a Facebook post Valadez wrote, accompanied by some stunning graduation photos of the 62-year-old.

“I finished my last two semester at Long Beach on the ‘President’s Honor List’ for making straight As,” wrote Valadez on the CSULB alumni Facebook group. “Was also on the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.67. Not bad for someone who spent half his adult life in prison.”

“There’s a misconception about guys like me that I want to break,” he added. “If I can do it, anyone can.”

Since the picture went viral, Valadez opened up about the journey that took him from rock bottom to where he is now.

Like many people in the prison system, addiction fueled Valadez’s life of crime. In an interview with Long Beach Post, he revealed that he began using heroine when he first joined the army at the age of 18.

“All the crimes I did were related to trying to get drugs, selling drugs,” the California Latino man told the Long Beach Post. He would spend 38 years of his life battling addiction.

After that, his life spiraled into a cycle of addiction, homelessness, violence, and crime. In total, Valadez has been to prison 40 times. He has spent more than 30 years behind bars.

Valadez finally decided to change his life in his 50s, when he realized that if he kept living this way, he would die soon.

In 2013, Valadez checked into an adult rehab facility. He stayed there for a year while he got clean. Soon after, he enrolled in Orange Coast Community College before ultimately transferring to Cal State Long Beach. In total, it took six years of challenging coursework for him to graduate. But from the look of pride in Valadez’s face, it was worth it.

Throughout his journey in the educational system, however, Valadez has discovered all the ways that the system failed him. Despite getting good grades in high school, teachers didn’t suggest college as an option for him. Instead, they suggested he pursue landscaping or construction. Similarly, when Valadez bounced in and out of jail due to his addiction, no one ever suggested rehab as a way for him to break the cycle.

Now, Valadez wants to take the lessons he learned and give back to his community.

At CSULB, Valadez excelled in sociology, and was interested in exploring how the criminal justice system is set up to target people of color. “I know a little bit about that subject because I lived it,” he said. “I wanted to understand the ‘why?’.” As of now, he is waiting to see if he gets accepted into CSULB’s Social Work masters program.

Valadez wants to use his new degree to help young kids who are at-risk of being failed by the system, like he was. “I’m going to inspire somebody, I’m going to motivate somebody, I’m going to give somebody hope,” he said. “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”

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Strangers Raise Over $175k For a Latina Student Who Used Her College Savings Towards Her Mom’s Rent

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Strangers Raise Over $175k For a Latina Student Who Used Her College Savings Towards Her Mom’s Rent

Photo via GoFundMe

So many of us have parents who have had to overcome impossible obstacles to give us the chance at a better life. The older we get, the more we recognize the amount of sacrifice it took our parents to give us a better future than they have. But sometimes, things don’t go according to plan–like for Alondra Carmona.

18-year-old Alondra Carmona gave her mother her entire college savings when she discovered that they were two months behind on rent.

And Alondra hadn’t been planning to go to just any school, but Barnard–an all-girls Ivy League school in New York City. Barnard had been Alondra’s dream since she was 15-years-old. She worked hard throughout her four years at high school and, luckily, all that hard work paid off. In December, she found out she was accepted, and she felt like all of her dreams had come true.

Barnard had offered to cover $60,000 of her tuition each year, and Alondra had planned on covering the rest of the costs with her own money–which amounted to about $2,000 that Alondra had saved from her high school jobs and internships.

But earlier this month, Alondra was hit with a blow: her mother had secretly been unemployed for the last 3 months and now they were facing eviction.

Photo via Alondra Carmona/Facebook

According to Alondra, she had no clue her mother was having financial problems. Her mother had hid it from her family because she didn’t want to worry them.

“When she told me that, I wanted to cry,” Alondra told local news station KHOU.”I knew I had to accept I couldn’t go to Barnard.”

Without hesitating, Alondra offered up her own personal college savings to help her mom cover their rent. “I knew I wanted to help her,” Alondra said. “I really didn’t think twice about it. I told her I’m going to give you my savings and make a GoFundMe page to see if I can get enough to replace the money in my savings.”

And so she did. Alondra posted a heartfelt GoFundMe page that kindly asked strangers to help chip in to cover her college tuition costs.

Photo via Alondra Carmona/Facebook

Alondra laid out her hopes and dreams on the GoFundMe page, explaining that she hoped to study the STEM field at Barnard and, ultimately, pursue an M.D./PhD in medicine.

“I have worked tirelessly to look for programs and opportunities that my small school could not provide,” she wrote. “All of my college savings will go to paying the rent that we are behind on. As much as I dream of going to Barnard College, it is not looking promising right now. I am turning to this as a last resort because Barnard will not be able to change my financial aid package.”

Within days, Alondra had raised $171,000–far more than her original $10,000 goal.

Alondra, for her part, is blown away by the kindness and generosity that complete strangers have shown her. “I am incredibly thankful and crying right now,” she wrote, shortly after her GoFundMe page took off. “I can’t even describe how grateful I am. I have no words. Everyone is so supportive and loving, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

But above all, Alondra Carmona is grateful to her mother–the person in her life who gave her everything. “I love my mom so much,” Alondra told KHOU. “She really has done so much for us just coming from El Salvador to give us a better chance at a good education. I’m so grateful to her.”

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