Things That Matter

From A Poor Family To Being In The Run To Becoming The First Latino Governor Of Texas, Meet Lupe Valdez

Former Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez is running to be the next governor of Texas. The openly lesbian gubernatorial candidate is currently 20+ points behind incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott but she hasn’t given up yet.

Gov. Abbott is the governor who signed Senate Bill 4 prohibiting “sanctuary cities” within Texas and has raised a lot more money than Valdez. Abbott’s campaign has raised $65 million to Valdez’s $500,000.

Here are some facts about Valdez and her campaign as she runs to govern the state of Texas.

Lupe Valdez has already made history as the first Latina ever nominated for Texas governor by a major party.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

She ran against six other Democrats in the primaries and then, too, she was an underdog. One of her primary opponents was Andrew White, the son of former Texas Governor Mark White.

Her new goal is to become the first ever Latino governor of Texas.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

Texas is nearly 40 percent Latino. Yet, it has not yet elected a Latino to govern the state. Texas also hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990. Through it all, Valdez has continued her fight in the race despite the odds against her.

Valdez is from the poorest zip code in Texas.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

In her campaign video, she shares the story of how she had to get on a city bus to get to school and would immediately go to the school bathroom to clean her shoes every morning. She was the only kid from a pueblo that didn’t have paved streets. She walked through mud and dirt to get to the bus stop.

Valdez is the youngest of eight children to Mexican-American migrant farmworkers.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

Many of her siblings didn’t finish school and instead became farmworkers like their parents. One teacher in high school told her she had what it took to go to college and it changed her life forever.

She credits her mother for the courage and motivation to purse an education instead of working int he fields.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

Caption: “Because of my mother, I went from the crop fields to the classroom. I was fortunate to succeed and be the first in many things, but I am running so that I am not the last. That is why we keep going—to fight so that others can follow in our footsteps. #WomensEqualityDay”

Valdez paid her way through a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

She first earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University and then her Master’s at the University of Texas at Arlington. Education is a major issue for the gubernatorial candidate.

On her campaign website, she says, “I am where I am today because a Texas public school gave me the opportunity to succeed. Our public schools are the path to opportunity, but for too many Texans, that opportunity is slipping away under the current Governor’s failed policies.”

She’s here to raise salaries for teachers, remove the burden of financing local schools from the communities and back onto the government where it belongs, and remove caps on special education funding.

Valdez joined the Army National Guard where she was elevated to captain.

CREDIT: “Officer in the Army Reserve, 1974″ Digital Image. Lupe Valdez Campaign. 30 October 2018.

She eventually became a senior federal agent at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, right when it was formed. Valdez understands the deep structural flaws of the Texas prison system because she worked it from a jailer to a sheriff.

Her campaign also stands to improve the quality of care for mentally ill inmates, to reform the cash bail system that implicitly keeps poor minorities behind bars, to decriminalize misdemeanor possession of marijuana and ban for-profit prisons.

At times, she even worked undercover.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

This might be the raciest photo from a long history in investigating fraud in the United States to money laundering from drug lords in South America.

Valdez retired to run for sheriff of Dallas County, becoming the first openly gay Latina Sheriff in that position.

CREDIT: “Sworn in as Dallas County Sheriff, 2005.” Digital Image. Lupe Valdez Campaign. 30 October 2018.

Valdez served for 12 years as Dallas County Sheriff and at age 70 she resigned as sheriff so she could campaign for governor for Texas. She celebrated her 71st birthday on the campaign trail with a cafecito y Topocito.

She’s a cop who believes the system needs to be reformed in the wake of Black Lives Matter.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

“We must also work together with municipalities to strengthen the bonds of trust between police and communities and train our police forces to the highest standard, because better trained and accountable police forces means safer neighborhoods and safer cops,” reads her campaign website.

“Criminal justice has been the fight of my life, and I will push to make sure that Texas is on the front lines of the most effective and progressive practices and reforms possible.”

Some have criticized her for working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when she was a sheriff.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

During her tenure, Valdez cooperated with federal immigration authorities by holding immigrants in her jail cells when requested and handing them over to ICE. That said, she famously and publicly clashed with Abbott when he signed SB4 into law.

Valdez was required by law to cooperate with ICE, for fear of losing federal funding, which resulted in the deportations of thousands of Dallas residents.

Valdez does not have the young vote.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

In the September Quinnipiac poll, Sheriff Valdez’s favorability rating among young people is ten points lower than Governor Abbott’s. Meanwhile, one third of eligible Latino voters are aged 18-29.

In an interview with NPR’s Latino USA podcast, Valdez was adamant that Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a low voter state.

Valdez prides herself as being one of the people.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

In her interview with NPR, you can hear her campaign managers trying to steer her to wear an apron, to sit down for one second, etc., but Valdez is the abuelita that cannot be steered.

She’s going to serve enchiladas to people and when she sits down for the interview, she says that she feels bad she’s not helping to load up the truck.

Oh, and this is her truck:

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

Caption: “While #GregAbbott flies around Texas on private jets loaned by his billionaire buddies, I’m chugging along in my pick-up truck meeting as many Texans as possible — face to face. Help us meet more Texans by donating at my website! LupeValdez.com”

The Latino community is stanning hard in the midterms.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

One woman interviewed by NPR said of Lupe, “After Selena, there hasn’t been anyone that has impacted my life that I can see myself in, like a woman of color. She’s brown like me. She speaks Spanish and English like me. She reflects so many pockets of voters. She’s just like us. The other day a tree branch fell and there she was with a chainsaw, cutting it up so that it wouldn’t get in the way of pedestrians. Yeah, she’s one of us.”

Latinos have rallied hard for Beto O’Rourke, but have been lackluster for Valdez.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

Valdez has known that her fight to become the next governor of Texas would be tough when competing against Gov. Abbott. Latino voters prefer Abbott over Valdez by 49 to 45 percent, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

Valdez is a fierce feminist.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. #InternationalWomensDay”

And she gives her constituents donuts.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

She’s getting one on one face time to talk about the issues that matter most to her: extending Medicare to the 76,000 Texan veterans without access to health care, ending gerrymandering by instead giving over the redistricting process to a nonpartisan commission and including more comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community.

She loves her perritos.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

I know. This is relevant information for your voting needs. I stand by it.

Whoever you’re voting for, just get out there, fam.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

Latino voters are a force to be reckoned with this election. We need to turn out in full force so that we look back and laugh at the naming of our uprising as anything other than the Brown Wave. Nos vamos.


READ: Trump Stokes Fear Of Immigrants As US Prepares To Send Thousands Of Troops To The Border

Please share this with your Tejano amigos and our allies. Gracias.

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Things That Matter

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

Things That Matter

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

Molly Adams / Flickr

The nine justices of the Supreme Court will return to the chambers to an explosive docket. The court is set to hear cases covering an array of social issues from abortion to DACA to LGBTQ+ discrimination to the Second Amendment. It is shaping up to be a major term for the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a series of cases that could impact some of the biggest social issues in American culture.

Credit: @hshaban / Twitter

All eyes are on the Supreme Court as major cases are being presented. Some of the cases included in the docket for this term of the Supreme Court are the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the definition of “sex” as it pertains to Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act and the LGBTQ community’s right to work without discrimination, an abortion case from Louisiana seeking to limit abortion rights, and a gun regulation from New York City.

On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments about discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

In almost half of the country, there are no laws protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community from being discriminated against in the workplace. The Supreme Court heard arguments from two gay men and one trans woman claiming that they were fired from their places of work because of their identity.

During oral arguments, when the employers being sued in the case argued that sex is different than same-sex attraction, Justice Elena Kagan suggested that the law does favor the employees.

“If he were a woman, he wouldn’t have been fired,” Justice Kagan told General Solicitor Noel Francisco, who is representing the employers. “This is the usual kind of way in which we interpret statutes now. We look to laws. We don’t look to predictions. We don’t look to desires. We don’t look to wishes. We look to laws.”

The Trump administration is aiming to get rid of DACA protections from almost 700,000 young people.

Credit: @SenWarren / Twitter

DACA is a program that was first created by President Obama. It gave almost 700,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the chance to go to college, get work permits, and protected them from deportation. The Trump administration ended the program in 2017 and immediately threw the lives of all DACA recipients in limbo.

United We Dream, a DACA-led media company filed its own brief with the Supreme Court. The brief is a first-of-its-kind video brief with DACA recipients arguing their case for preserving DACA. The organization also included an official written brief.

“DACA has accomplished far more than affording deferred prosecutorial action. It has created lifechanging opportunities for hundreds of thousands of promising young people. DACA has allowed them to lead fuller and more vibrant lives, including by seizing opportunities to advance their education, furthering their careers, providing critical help to their families, and giving back to their communities,” reads the United We Dream brief. “Able to make use of the basic building blocks of a productive life—a Social Security number, work authorization, or driver’s license, for example—DACA recipients have thrived. They are students, teachers, health care workers, first responders, community leaders, and small business owners. They are also spouses, neighbors, classmates, friends, and coworkers. Collectively, they are parents of over a quarter-million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen. They pay taxes, contribute to their local economies in myriad ways, and spur a virtuous cycle of further opportunity for many Americans.”

Another case people are watching is an abortion case coming out of Louisiana.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, isn’t aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade but it is hoping to limit the abortion rights of women starting in Louisiana. The law being challenged requires all abortion providers to get privileges are a hospital 30 miles from where the abortions take place.

The case is very similar to a Texas case that the Supreme Court rejected three terms ago. As such, the Louisiana case is asking the Supreme Court to distinguish between the two cases and to determine that the restriction is legitimate if a legislator vouches that the restriction is valid rather than it being valid in practice. As it stands, the law would leave just one doctor in the state of Louisiana allowed to perform abortions.

Another case getting some attention as it sits on the Supreme Court docket deals with the Second Amendment.

Credit: @DaigleLawGroup / Twitter

New York City’s original rule made it so handguns could only be transported to seven gun ranges throughout the city. While the case was originally contested because of the rule. New York City changed the rule and asked the court to dismiss the case as moot, but the court rejected the motion. This will be the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about the Second Amendment’s reach in over a decade and is being hailed as a victory for gun rights advocates.

READ: DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear