Things That Matter

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

lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

Despite A Video, Mike Pence Attempts To Minimize The Horrendous Conditions In Detention Centers

Things That Matter

Despite A Video, Mike Pence Attempts To Minimize The Horrendous Conditions In Detention Centers

@jdawsey1 / Twitter

After hundreds of organized protests around the country, we would hope the Trump administration would send someone to a detention center in a sincere effort to address the problem. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence was sent in a political move to combat the assertions of Democratic Congress members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib from their visit.

Reporters were allowed into the detention facility for 90 precious seconds. Pence wasn’t able to maintain his initial statement once he saw the unsanitary conditions migrants were kept in.

“What people are going to see is not the situation many Democrats have described,” Pence told reporters on Thursday.

Credit: @VP / Twitter

His full statement was actually this: “What people are going to see is not the situation many Democrats have described, but actually a situation where our CBP agents are providing humanitarian care, health care, shelter, food, sustenance in a way that would make the American people proud.

But afterward, he said, “I was not surprised by what I saw. I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed.”

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

While he wasn’t able to reiterate that the conditions would “make the American people proud,” or offer any hope that he or his administration would do anything about it, he did try to blame Democrats for the conditions.

“The DHS facility in McAllen is a prime example of why we need to secure our borders,” he tweeted out after the visit. “The facility is overcrowded and our system is overwhelmed. It is time for Democrats in Congress to step up, do their jobs, and end this crisis.”

White House pool reporter Josh Dawsey was only allowed in for 90 seconds, and this is what he saw.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

Dawsey said “the cages were so crowded that it would have been impossible for all of the men to lie on the concrete. There were 384 single men in the portal who allegedly crossed the border illegally. There were no mats or pillows—some of the men were sleeping on concrete.”

Agents were seen guarding the cages wearing face masks.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

That’s likely because Dawsey reports that “the stench was overwhelming.” After talking with some of the people, they told him that they hadn’t showered in weeks. They wanted toothbrushes and food. In response, CBP said, “They were fed regularly, could brush daily & recently got access to shower.” Dawsey followed that up with asserting that “many hadn’t [showered] for 10-20 days.”

Reporters didn’t feel any air conditioning in a room where the outside temperature was already 97°F.

Credit: @passantino / Twitter

CBP said it was air-conditioned but Dawsey reports that the “heat was sweltering.” The facility doesn’t have a shower, but CBP says they all showered the day before “in an outdoor trailer.” What CBP told reporters directly contradicts much of what the migrants themselves had a chance to report to the outside world.

For example, CBP told reporters that nobody had been there longer than 32 days, but this man told reporters he had been there for 40 days.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

He wasn’t the only one who told reporters that they’d been there longer. The migrants told reporters they wanted to brush their teeth and were hungry. CBP told reporters they brush their teeth daily and are fed three times a day. In Dawsey’s own words, the “stench was horrendous. CPB said it was cleaned 3x a day.” 

This is the scene that Vice President Pence saw.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

When migrants told reporters they were thirsty, CBP said the water was outside the fence and that they could leave the barrier to get water after the press left. 

But this is the image he tweeted out to his followers.

Credit: @VP / Twitter

Conveniently, this image seems to have chairs. What Pence was directly staring at much of the time was human beings sleeping on concrete, in an environment so foul CBP agents were wearing face masks.

Dawsey reported that the children’s facility was “new and relatively clean and empty.”

Credit: @VP / Twitter

“There were cots & medical supplies & snacks,” Dawsey tweeted. “Children watched TV and told Pence through translator they were being taken care of. But at least two said they’d walked for months to get here.”

Is America proud yet?

@jdawsey1 / Twitter

The people in this image allegedly crossed the border illegally. We don’t know if they claimed asylum. We don’t know if these are people who have broken the law because they are effectively jailed without trial, in conditions worse than jail

Trump is the man behind it all. It was he who decided to enact a policy that, instead of allowing asylum seekers to set up roots in American society while awaiting trial, to detain them in facilities that are overcrowded with a judicial system that is backlogged.

Watch the video below of migrants letting reporters know what has happened to them in detention.

READ: Woman Pays The Bond Of A Woman Being Held In ICE Detention Center And The Internet Is Living For This Moment Of Kindness

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

Culture

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

juanpablodipace / Instagram

Argentinian actor Juan Pablo Di Pace recently came out in a TEDx video recorded in March. The video was released in late June giving Di Pace’s coming out story a special place in the 2019 Pride Month calendar. Social media erupted in applause and praise for the actor living his truth after so much time hiding in the closet.

Juan Pablo Di Pace came out of the closet as a gay man and is already living it up.

That’s right. Di Pace was living it up in Madrid during pride not long after the video of his talk coming out of the closet was publish. Honestly, it is something everyone should be celebrating. Someone being able to live their life fully is something that some people will never be able to understand. There is an attitude of in the Latino community that tries to shun and silence the LGBTQ+ community. Seeing a prominent member of the Latino community sharing his coming out story is such a positive example for younger people struggling to come out.

Di Pace’s coming out via a TEDx is one of the greatest moments of Pride Month 2019.

Not only did Di Pace come out of the closet, but his story about coming out and learning who he is is also very relatable to most members of the LGBTQ+ community. It wasn’t like he figured out that he was different. It had to be told to him.

“My mother says that I came out of her womb with a paper and pencil in my hand and that I used to draw until I fell asleep, which is why I had very few friends. But, actually, the truth is that, unlike most of the boys in my class, I preferred to play with girls. I was more comfortable. They were more fun,” Di Pace told the audience at his TEDx talk. “So, I didn’t think anything of it, right? Until I heard a word that I had never heard before. It started like a thunder that got closer and louder to me as it exploded like egg in my face: marícon, faggot. Well, I didn’t really understand that word at first but the word was here to stay for years. A little know book, as you might know as the Bible, starts with, ‘In the beginning, was the word and the word was made flesh and it dwelt among us.’ So, after failed attempts to fight against this word and try to make friends, my only option was to make friends with white sheets of paper. Paper would not shout or kick me. Paper was kind and on paper everything and anything was possible, just like in the movies.”

The moment of being made to feel and know that you are different from everyone else is something most people deal with at the beginning of coming out. It is a harsh, and some times dangerous, moment that starts the process of coming out and learning who you are as a person.

Fans of the actor showered him with praise and love for coming out.

Credit: judygeitz / Instagram

Coming out, no matter how old you are or how successful you are, is a terrifying experience. You have to be prepared for people to shun you. You need to be ready for people to speak down to you. It is not an easy or fun process for a lot of people.

The emotional reception to Di Pace’s coming is filled with love and appreciation.

Credit: iamlibrado / Instagram

This is something the Di Pace should be so proud of. It is so important for people to come out of the closet. By coming out of the closet, you force others around you to confront their own ideas of the LGBTQ+ community. When people know someone personally who is LGBTQ+, they tend to become more accepting of the community allowing for more people to come out in a safer environment.

You are with your chosen family now, Juan.

Credit: stillwater1979 / Instagram

All people in the LGBTQ+ community understand the importance of a chosen family. Even if your family accepts you, it is important to have a chosen family. It is a way to learn what it means to be gay and how to live life open in a world that can sometimes be really cruel. Your family will want to help but it is hard for your mom and dad to teach about LGBTQ+ culture.

Congratulations on coming out Juan. Sending lots of love.

READ: Grab The Tissues! These Latinas Told Us Their Coming Out Stories And We Have Been Sobbing In Pride

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