Things That Matter

Fort Worth Teacher Wins Appeal To Get Job Back After Tweeting Trump To ‘Remove’ Undocumented Students

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen several instances in which school staff made racist comments either toward students or behaved in a discriminatory manner on the school campus. Typically, not much is done about it. In some cases, the school will conduct an investigation, a teacher may be perhaps suspended for a day or so, but for the most part, it is back to business as usual. The students affected by their racist words and behavior must continue to be taught by them or abide by their authority. It’s an unjust situation. But at least one school district did fight back against a racist teacher and will continue to do so. Here’s how it all went down. 

A teacher in Texas was fired after she made public statements on Twitter that she wanted to report undocumented students at her school.

Credit: @Rebecca1939 / Twitter

The incident in question happened in May in which Georgia Clark, a then English teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, tweeted directly at President Donald Trump that she not only wanted to report undocumented students but also requested assistance to combat the undocumented community in the area. 

“Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District, is loaded with illegal students from Mexico,” Clark tweeted back on May 17, 2018. “Anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated.” Her account has since been deleted but the screenshots remain forever.”

Clark sent the tweets to the President, but she believed her tweets her private messages. Her comments were indeed public, and that’s how the entire school and community were made aware of her remarks.

Credit: @_SJPeace_ / Twitter

While the school board members voted unanimously to fire Clark this spring, she fought back and appealed her case. Now a Texas commissioner has ruled that the school district either gives her back her job or pays her a year’s worth of her salary. 

“The day the petitioner would have been reinstated is the day respondent tenders petitioner payment in full,” the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath, wrote in the ruling, according to the New York Times

An independent examiner also reported that Clark’s series of tweets to the President was a form of “free speech.”

Credit: @natashaaa_ / Twitter

“Clark’s tweets are statements of a citizen on a matter of public concern protected by the United States Constitution and do not contravene or impair policies or proper performance of the district’s functions,” the report said, according to the Times

Despite the fact that the report’s finding’s that her tweets were considered “free speech,” what type of parent would want Clark teaching students who are undeniably discriminatory against Latino kids? 

“I’m very surprised and concerned that this cruel woman has been berating our precious children for years,” a woman earlier this year, according to the Washington Post

“Her comments were hurtful, irresponsible, misleading, and distrustful to the students she is supposed to protect and educate,” another woman said to the board in June.

The school district said they stand by their decision to fire Clark and will appeal to the commissioner’s ruling.

Credit: @briiianaaa14 / Twitter

“The Commissioner’s decision was not based on the merits of the case but rather a procedural technicality with which the District does not agree,” the school district said in a statement. “Mr. Morath said, in his ruling, that the board did not adopt a finding that good cause exists to terminate Ms. Clark’s contract. Yet, the Board of Trustees did, in fact, do just that in its decision on September 17. Accordingly, the Fort Worth ISD will appeal this decision and will do so in the next 20 days.” Furthermore, Superintendent Kent P. Scribner said: “We stand by our decision because we firmly believe this is in the best interests of all students.”

Clark said she wants her job back, and that she can still be a good teacher despite her political point of view.

In an interview with WFAA, Clark was asked how she would be able to do her job properly and teach Latino students. To that, she responded by saying, “If you need someone to help your child graduate, you’re looking at her right here.”

What do you think? Should Clark return to her job or should the school district pay her a year’s worth of her salary?

READ: This Texas Teacher Thought She Was Private Messaging Trump About ‘Illegal’ Students And It Got Her Fired And People Are Laughing Way Out Loud

25 Years After Her Death, A San Antonio Art Museum Is Displaying Some Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Selena

Entertainment

25 Years After Her Death, A San Antonio Art Museum Is Displaying Some Never-Before-Seen Photos Of Selena

mcnayart / Instagram

If you’ve already given up on 2020, you’re wrong. This year will mark 25 years since beloved Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar. Of course, knowing the singer would have turned 49 years old this year is horribly tragic. However, the legal magic of ’25’ means that copyright law from her last year of life is about to expire. For the first time, some of the last photos taken of Selena are on public display at a San Antonio art museum. Photographer John Dyer had the privilege of photographing Selena for her cover shoot for Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995. Dyer has allowed for both sets of photographs to be put on display, and the contrast in her mood is striking. 

The second set of photographs was taken just months before her murder. 

Book your flights to Texas, and buy your tickets, mi gente!

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

There isn’t a look or photograph of Selena that a child hasn’t dressed up as for Halloween, that a Guarcado plushie hasn’t donned, or that the public hasn’t revered. From Selena’s purple jumpsuit to her fire red lipstick, everything the artist has done has become part of the Mexican-American zeitgeist. And yet… Selena is still giving us more to take in. The signature piece of the exhibit features the 23-year-old star wearing a sequined bustier and high waisted black pants, black patent leather heels firmly planted on a black and white tile checkered floor with a red curtain in the backdrop. 

The photo is so iconic that the museum has reconstructed a look-a-like set for visitors to take their own Selena-inspired photos.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

The exhibit, named in both English and Spanish “Selena Forever/Siempre Selena,” is on view at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio’s first modern art museum. “The exhibition pays tribute to ’90s icon, singer, designer, and Texas legend—Selena Quintanilla-Pérez—with a series of five photographs by award-winning San Antonio photographer John Dyer. Selena was the subject of Dyer’s photo assignments for the cover of Más Magazine in 1992 and again for Texas Monthly in 1995, just months before she was tragically killed at age 23,” the museum states.

The photographer noticed how much more muted Selena was in the shoot months before her death compared to three years prior.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

In an interview with Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, Dyer recalls how “she drove up by herself in her little red hatchback and parked in front of my studio” the first time they met in 1992, as Selena’s career was beginning to take off. “She jumped out of her car with a big smile,” and brought in her hand-made, self-designed performance costumes. The checkered floor print was taken during that first shoot. He recalls that “Selena’s quick smile, infectious laugh, and unending energy made her a pleasure to work with. This was in 1992.”

By early 1995, Selena was at the peak of her international fame when Texas Monthly hired Dyer to do another photoshoot. “She had just finished two exhausting days of shooting TV commercials for a corporate sponsor. She was tired. I had brought a beautiful hand-made jacket for her to wear. I posed her in the alcove on the mezzanine of the theater where the light is particularly nice. She was subdued and pensive. A far cry from the ebullient, excited young singer I’d photographed 3 years earlier. Later I thought her mood might have been an eerie harbinger of what was to come,” Dyer concluded. We may never know what was going on in the emotional world of Selena on that day — if tensions were rising with Saldivar, or if she was simply an exhausted superstar.

Between the time of the shoot and the magazine cover release, Selena was murdered.

CREDIT: @MCNAYART / INSTAGRAM

The magazine decided to use “one of the more somber shots” Dyer captured for the magazine cover which ended up becoming a story that chronicled her death. “It’s a cover I would rather not have had,” Dyer recalled. Tejanos and Selena superfans alike, Selena is waiting for you.

The “Selena Forever/Selena Siempre” exhibit is on display at San Antonio’s The McNay Modern Art Museum for the price of general admission ($20). The exhibit dates are Jan. 15, 2020, to July 5, 2020. Selena Forever/Siempre Selena is organized by the McNay Art Museum, curated by Kate Carey, Head of Education.

Pro tip: The museum is open for free on Thursdays from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

READ: The Comments in This Photo That Chris Perez Shared of Selena Proves That Her Fandom is Truly Timeless

Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

Things That Matter

Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

dr.giammattei / Instagram

Tuesday marked a new era of leadership in Guatemala as the Latin country swore in Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative doctor and former prison system director from the right-wing Vamos party. The 63-year-old won the presidency on his fourth attempt back in August with bold promises of changing a corrupt government and restoring the rule-of-law in city streets. 

“Today, we are putting a full stop on corrupt practices so they disappear from the face of this country,” Giammattei said at his swearing-in ceremony that had a five-hour delay.

His ceremony somewhat overshadowed by delays and protests against ex-President Jimmy Morales, who for four years dodged accusations of corruption. The scene of protestors throwing eggs and voicing anger at the outgoing administration was a reminder of the displeasure against the country’s deep-seated political corruption. It’s also a key reason why many are looking to Giammattei to bring change to the struggling country. 

As Giammattei takes office, there are questions on what his presidency will mean to Guatemala in the short and long term as issues over the future of an asylum deal with the United States comes into focus. 

One of the biggest issues confronting Guatemala and one that Giammattei will have to address early is the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) that was signed by Morales last July with the U.S. government. The agreement, which was highly opposed in Guatemala, lets U.S. immigration officials send Honduran and Salvadoran migrants that are requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border to apply for protection here instead. There is now increasing skepticism as reports say that the U.S. wants to expand the deal to include Mexican asylum seekers as well.

Last year, there were many Guatemalans that were part of a 3,000 migrant caravan that made its way up from Latin America to the U.S. The caravan consisted of people that were looking to claim asylum and became a symbol of the growing migration crisis at the southern border. President Trump frequently attacked the caravan and eventually threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemala if it didn’t agree to the asylum deal.

According to the Guatemalan Migration Institute, “as of Friday, 128 Salvadoran and Honduran asylum seekers had been sent as part of the agreement,” with only a limited number actually applying for asylum there and others returning home. Giammattei has previously said that he’s willing to make changes to the agreement but on Tuesday said he would revisit details later. 

The country, one of Latin America’s poorest nations, is a key part of President Trump’s plan to curb illegal immigration and asylum claims. mostly from those coming to the U.S. Southern border. The issue for many living in Guatemala is how to let those seeking asylum when itself has become a major source of U.S. bound migrants. 

Poverty levels have only grown in the last 20 years and income inequality levels continue to be a big problem in the country. 

One of the big platform issues that Giammattei ran his campaign on was helping the shorten income inequality gap and poverty levels that have only grown in the last 20 years. Fifty-nine percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line and almost 1 million children under the age of 5 are believed to live with chronic malnutrition, according to the AP. 

There is also the rampant problem of street violence and cartel gangs that have had a major effect on the daily lives of many in the country. Giammattei plans to address this with reforms that include designating “street gangs as terrorist groups.”

“This is the moment to rescue Guatemala from the absurd. It is the moment to combat corruption and malnutrition,” Giammattei said on Tuesday in his first address to the country as president. “There is no peace without security, I will present a law that aims to declare street gangs for what they are – terrorist groups.”

There is hope that Giammattei will turn a new page in Guatemala that will see change come to all in the country that has faced uncertainty for years. But only time will tell if this is indeed new leadership or business as usual.

“We will bring back the peace this country so dearly needs,” Giammattei said. “We will govern with decency, with honourability, and with ethical values.”

READ: In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative