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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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.

CREDIT: 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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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

Things That Matter

The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

@BillCorben / Twitter

Readers of the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald noticed a racist and anti-Semitic insert in one of the latest editions. The column in the insert compared BLM activists to Nazis while talking down about the Jewish community.

The Miami Herald recently published a racist and anti-Semitic insert.

The offensive piece, written by Cuban exile Roberto Luque Escalona, received harsh and immediate backlash. Escalona expresses his displeasure for the Jewish community and those seeking racial justice by joining BLM with one column.

“What kind of people are these Jews” writes Escalona. He then continues to “teach” Jewish people the history of the Holocaust and claims that BLM supporters are worse than the Nazis during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the Nazis simply destroyed things and didn’t steal.

The newspaper has apologized for the insert going so far as to admit that it was not properly vetted and that “internal failures” were at play.

According to an open letter, higher ups at the Miami Herald admit to the insert not being read and vetted by the staff. The obvious overlook led to a 40-page insert of right-wing propaganda to be distributed to the readers of both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Since the publication, the Miami Herald claims to have ended their relationship with Libre, the insert with the racist and anti-Semitic content.

Those responsible at the Miami Herald admitted to not reading the insert before it was distributed.

“We are deeply sorry that inflammatory, racist and anti-Semitic commentary reached our el Nuevo Herald subscribers through LIBRE, a Spanish-language publication that paid our company to have the product printed and inserted into our print edition as a weekly supplement,” reads part of an open letter to readers. “The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing. It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.”

Readers are outraged that the newspaper would allow such offensive things to be published and distributed.

The right-wing conspiracies pushed by Libre are part of a larger Spanish-language disinformation campaign targeting Cubans in southern Florida. The community has been inundated with disinformation ahead of the 2020 election preying on the fears and ignorance within the staunchly conservative Cuban community.

“It’s difficult to measure the effect exactly, but the polling sort of shows it and in focus groups it shows up, with people deeply questioning the Democrats, and referring to the ‘deep state’ in particular — that there’s a real conspiracy against the president from the inside,” Eduardo Gamarra, a pollster and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at Florida International University, told Politico. “There’s a strain in our political culture that’s accustomed to conspiracy theories, a culture that’s accustomed to coup d’etats.”

The disinformation is targeting Cubans because of the growing Latino communities who tend to vote Democratic.

According to Politico, the campaign is Cuban specific. The Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Dominican communities in Florida, which continue to grow, typically vote Democratic. These shifting demographics have left Republicans doing anything it takes to keep a strong hold of the Cuban community, even by means of racism, anti-Semitism, and disinformation.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Culture

Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Latinos for Trump has long been a confusing organization in the Latino community. President Donald Trump has built his administration and brand to be squarely against people of color. Now, the Latinos for Trump group caused a stir when they posted a collage of flags that are not quite right.

Latinos for Trump really thought they had something when they posted their Hispanic Heritage Month collage.

The first, and most obvious mistake, is that the Mexican flag is backwards. The flag is supposed to be green, white, and red in that order. As we can all see, the collage has a Mexican flag that is red, white, and green. The eagle is even facing the wrong way so someone literally flipped the flag the wrong way.

Of course, some people tried to make sense of the bizarre Mexican flag snafu.

Last year, the Trump administration announced that it was cutting aid to three countries in Central America. The countries were El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Fox & Friends picked up the story but told their audience that Trump was cutting aid to “3 Mexican countries.” Perhaps this Twitter user is right and the Latinos for Trump are trying to suggest the existence of other Mexicos.

Someone else pointed out the issues with the Guatemalan flag in the top right corner.

People are very defensive about their cultural heritage and national origin. Messing up someone’s flag is a very serious issue for people. Just ask a Cuban or Puerto Rican about people confusing their flags. It is never a good thing.

Some people fixed the image for them so the organization can see what it should have looked like.

Good, clean lines with all of the flags facing the right way. The creator even changed the message in the middle for the Latino community. It is clear that social media is still willing to show up and teach a couple of lessons here and there.

Others had a more direct message for Latinos for Trump.

We all know that social media is where things go to be manipulated and made fun of. It is very important that if you make something for social media that you take good care to make sure that you check all of the right boxes and execute your work right the first time.

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

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