Things That Matter

Meet One Of The Students Who Walked Out During Mike Pence’s Notre Dame Commencement Speech

On Sunday, May 21, as Vice President Mike Pence took the stage to give a commencement speech at Notre Dame, a large group of graduates walked out of the ceremony. The moment immediately went viral.

To onlookers, the walkout could be interpreted as a spontaneous moment of protest against Pence and the Trump administration. However, this show of resistance was an organized effort coordinated by students.

The walkout was not a spontaneous effort to protest Pence, but a thought out plan by several students, including Xitlaly Estrada.

Facebook/Xitlaly Estrada

The Latina graduate from Bakersfield, Calif., was one of the students who spearheaded the walkout.

In an interview with mitú, Estrada, who is also the president of the Latino Student Alliance on campus, says she was immediately bothered that Pence was chosen to give the commencement speech.

“Initially when the invite went out, we were all a little more than hesitant to attend, especially because this administration has been denigrating people of color and minority groups,” said the 21-year-old, who graduated with a double in Political Science and Latino Studies.

Estrada added:

“My biggest concern was that this day, that was supposed to be for my family and their sacrifices that led me to be able to graduate from the University of Notre Dame, would be overshadowed by someone who has openly endorsed their denigration and has corroborated their marginalization as an immigrant group, as Mexicans, as, at one point, people who worked in the fields, as people who work in the service sector, and they would have to hear that person speak at my commencement.”

Estrada says she and her family have had several conversations about the threat they face under the Trump Administration.

Xitlaly Estrada and her sister who graduated from Law School

So Estrada and a group of students at Notre Dame decided they had to build a platform in order to fight against the hateful rhetoric.

Estrada is a part of We Stand For, an organizing coalition of student activists at the University of Notre Dame that has initiated several protests on campus, including the walkout.

Facebook/We Stand For

On its website, We Stand For says: “We first organized in support of sanctuary campus policies for our undocumented/DACA students Now, we continue our work in support of all those marginalized by University or government policies, to ensure that everyone has access to a safe and supportive educational environment.”

“This administration is not ready to represent us,” says Estrada.

Facebook/We Stand For

“There’s a perceivable threat, with the upping of deportations, and that is sending a real message to our community,” Estrada says. “Just because you’re not undocumented, you have friends and family that are, and that reverberates in the community.”

Estrada’s family decided not to attend the commencement ceremony.

Xitlaly Estrada

Her family opted to attend other graduation festivities because Estrada says she didn’t want to subject them to any issues.

“My parents are immigrants and they’re in constant state of discomfort,” Estrada says. “I don’t think my parents have ever felt comfortable in this country,” adding that both her parents speak in broken English.

Estrada says her parents didn’t want her to partake in the walkout because they were simply worried about her.

Xitlaly Estrada with her family.

They also didn’t want Pence or any negativity to take away from her big moment. But she insisted and told them how important this moment would be.

Estrada told her family that she didn’t want to be complacent and her mother was the first one to give her full support.

“She wanted to make sure I didn’t walk out alone,” Estrada says. “She told me ‘la union hace la fuerza.'”

About 150 graduates walked out during Pence’s speech. Here’s the celebration that took place afterwards.

Posted by We Stand For on Sunday, May 21, 2017

Several groups from campus took part in the walkout including Latinx, LGBTQ, and other minority groups and supporters. They planned the walkout for weeks and made sure they took all things into consideration, including having a coherent message and answering questions from concerned students.

Estrada plans to follow in her sister’s footsteps and attend law school. She said her dream job as a lawyer would be to work for the Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund.

READ: Why I Put Aside My Greatest Fear For A Good Cause

Do you agree with students walking out of their commencement to protest Pence? Share this story and comment in the section below!

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Fierce

AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Things That Matter

An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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