Things That Matter

We Spoke To Some DACA Recipients About Their Uncertain Future. Here’s What They Said

On Tuesday, President Trump and his administration announced via Attorney General Jeff Sessions that they are rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) citing rule and law. The program was put forth in an executive order by President Obama on June 15, 2012. It allowed for people brought to the U.S. as minors without legal documentation to get work permits and driver’s licenses, and shielded them from deportation as long as they did not commit any felonies. Information on the status of the rescission can be found here.

Mitú went to the National DACA Mobilization Day in downtown Los Angeles and spoke with some Dreamers about what this decision means to them.

Maribel Serrano, Dreamer and filmmaker

CREDIT: mitú

“DACA gave me the permission to be the American on the outside that I’ve always been on the inside. It allowed me to work legally and to pursue passions that I have so I no longer have to work in the service industry,” Serrano says. “I no longer felt like I couldn’t sleep some days because I was afraid of deportation and it helped me to become more vocal and really tell my story and to get the heavy, heavy burden off my chest. At one point, before DACA, we were nonexistent. We had to live with this every single day. After DACA, we were able to tell everyone our stories, be open and just tell our truths. And that’s really all we’ve been doing is telling our truths.”

Edwin Soto Saucedo, Dreamer and law student

CREDIT: mitú

“I’m one of the primary incomes for my household. I have a single parent and we live in a lower privileged neighborhood, so taking away my job and everything that we’ve gotten used to for the past five years, we can’t even think about what might happen,” Saucedo says. “Obviously, I’m going to have to find another job that is paying under the minimum wage and just going back so much from what we are already used to. It impacts me and my little sisters. They know that I am undocumented, and trying to explain to a 5 and 9-year-old what the affects are and what DACA has done for me and what might happen because of it being rescinded is powerful. There are really no words to express other than it’s a major setback for my family, my community, my people and myself. My educational aspirations are also impacted. I fund my own education so it’s a lot.”

Nicholas Carrillo, ally

CREDIT: mitú

“I’ve have a few friends [on DACA] who’ve gone to college. I’m about to graduate from Cal State LA and I’ve been able to meet people that wouldn’t be in this country if it wasn’t for DACA. I wouldn’t have been able to grow alongside them and for them to teach me the lessons that they taught me if it wasn’t for that program,” Carrillo says. “I have friends that will have to go back into the shadows and family members who are afraid of losing the ability to work in this country and the ability to stay here. It’s devastating to be able to hold on to a little bit of hope and then for them to take [DACA] away. [Taking away] their ability to work, study and just have a family here, especially when all you’ve ever know is this country, is disgusting.”

Kim Mireno, ally

CREDIT: mitú

“I just think about all of that effort we put in to making our community better and it’s taken away just like that. I love my community. I love El Sereno. I love all the students of Roosevelt, Garfield, East LA, Boyle Heights [high schools]. I do this for them, and I just get so worried thinking about what their future is going to look like. They put so much into this country. They deserve to be here. My nephew deserves to see a better world where it doesn’t matter what status you have. You have an equal opportunity to pursue your dreams,” Mireno says. “They are the bravest people I know. I can’t even say that I have an ounce of the courage that they have. I look to them. They are my leaders.”

Justino Mora, Dreamer and co-founder of Undocumedia

CREDIT: mitú

“I’m undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic because I need to be. I have lost fear of this administration, of these white supremacists, because I understand that my community, that people power, is exactly what brings about change. We’ve seen this throughout history. The African-American community. The Civil Rights movement. The API community. Women fighting for the right to vote. We know that change is possible and that people power is greater than the people in power,” Mora says.

“My message to Congress is to get their act together. The Dream Act has been introduced several times. For more than 15 years, we’ve been fighting for the Dream Act or for comprehensive immigration reform,” he adds. “If they really mean what they say, they should pass it immediately. If they actually mean what they say about supporting undocumented youths, they should pass it tomorrow. That’s exactly what they should be doing, and they should pass other legislation to help the rest of the undocumented community come out of the shadows.”

Lauren Gonzales, ally

CREDIT: mitú

“I am documented but I see it affect everyone around me and I want them to see that I stand in solidarity with them, especially my boyfriend who is undocumented. So, I just want them to know that it’s really hard news. If this happens, they won’t be able to do a lot of what we’re able to do as citizens,” Gonzales says. “For my boyfriend, DACA made it so he was able to work. He was able to get his driver’s license. God forbid he ever gets detained to be deported. It would delay that. It’s helped him a lot with him supporting his family. I’ve seen it really help them because he really holds up his family and I’ve seen that.”

Yesenia Zavala, Dreamer and college student

CREDIT: mitú

“I’m very devastated because I know my parents sacrificed a lot to bring me to the United States. I was only a year old. I had no say in coming and to know that a man can just take all of my hopes and dreams away is just devastating,” Zavala says. “Because of DACA, I was able to get a job and go to school. I’m a full-time worker and a full-time student and with that I’m able to help my parents. I was able to get my own car. I have big dreams and hopes for myself and if that’s taken away, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Marisol Hernandez, Dreamer and educator

CREDIT: mitú

“I heard on the announcement that I am taking somebody’s job and I’m asking Trump, ‘Whose job am I taking?’ In my field, we’re short staffed and those kids need me. Whose job am I stealing? If you’re going to get somebody’s job, it’s because they didn’t deserve it. You get the job, fair and square. We’re not stealing anybody’s job and we’re not criminals. We’re teachers; we’re doctors. We’re not criminals,” Hernandez, an early education teacher assistant and teaching student, says.

“Please help us. Please. We’re humans, we’re not animals,” Hernandez adds as a plea to Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017. “They define us as ‘illegals’ and that’s a wrong term because calling us ‘illegals’ dehumanizes us. Please. We’re human. We want a better life. Help us.”


READ: The Trump Administration Has Officially Rescinded DACA. Here’s What You Need To Know.

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Bruises And Cuts Are Visible, But Emotional Wounds Are Harder To Spot: Monica Lewinsky Launches “Epidemic” A Powerful Anti-Cyberbullying PSA

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Bruises And Cuts Are Visible, But Emotional Wounds Are Harder To Spot: Monica Lewinsky Launches “Epidemic” A Powerful Anti-Cyberbullying PSA

Noam Galai / Getty images

There may be no better person placed in our culture to talk about online bullying and harassment than Monica Lewinsky. Her story has been co-opted and manipulated for personal and political gain purposes for over two decades now. It’s taken long enough for the culture to catch up. She’s been speaking up about this for years and finally, she’s in control of her own narrative. In her latest campaign, the PSA “Epidemic”, Monica Lewinsky wants to raise awareness about the silent and lethal epidemic that is online bullying. 

Online bullying is a silent and lethal form of harassment and Monica Lewinsky wants to raise awareness around this issue so we don’t miss the signs.

credit Youtube The Epidemic

In her latest campaign, the third of a series of ads designed to raise awareness about a silent and lethal epidemic, Monica Lewinsky wants to shine a light on how this silent and invisible this form of bullying can be, and how a psychologically challenging situation can quickly escalate and become physical. In “Epidemic”, we’re introduced to a teenage girl whose health seems to be deteriorating for no apparent reason over the course of the film.  First she stays home from school, she can’t eat, she can’t sleep. In a panic, she reaches out for a bottle of pills. The viewer sees her go from a normal teen to an unconscious girl in an E.R. It’s obvious that she’s been sick all along, but what’s the disease?

The words “The story is not what it seems” appear across the screen. “Go to the-epidemic.com/realstory to get the message.”

Once you follow the link, a new screen message asks viewers to enter their phone number. When the video starts over, the person watching it is receiving the same texts messages that Hailey, the protagonist of the film, is getting. The cruel messages are a deluge of threats, harassment and abuse. And by receiving the texts, viewers don’t just watch it all unfold, they experience it. “It’s like the difference between seeing something in 3D and seeing something in VR,” Lewinsky told Glamour of the campaign’s interactive elements. It makes the abuse that people face on the internet, through their phones, and IRL feel real, immediate, and dangerous. 

Although cyber-bullying happens online, the feeling can be very real, and it can even lead to sickness.

credit Youtube The Epidemic

The feeling of being bullied isn’t just one of fear and shame. Bullying can affect your physical and mental health in potentially dangerous ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being bullied can increase your risk of sleep difficulties, anxiety, depression, headaches, stomachaches, and more. Since bullying can lead to illness, it’s a sort of sickness in itself. Andd that’s exactly what Lewinsky is trying to convey in the PSA in partnership with advertising agency BBDO New York, and Dini von Mueffling Communications.

“We compare [bullying] to an illness for several reasons,” Lewinsky, an anti-bullying advocate, speaker, and former bullying victim, told Teen Vogue. “Just last year, a Pew Research Center survey found that 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. But the problem is, it can be hard to see the signs when somebody is going through something like this. With cyberbullying, even though it may take place online, it has offline consequences — and these consequences range from bad to grave.”

The film was a deeply personal project for Lewinsky who was bullied on a national scale in 1998.

credit Instagram @Notablelife Lewinsky was famously bullied on a national scale after her relationship with former president Bill Clinton went public when she was 24 years old and an intern at the White House. She has personal experience with how severe bullying can be and it’s something she’s spoken out about consistently. It’s that very issue which made this project a challenge she wanted to tackle. “It was hard for me to do this,” she admits. Drawing from her own experiences, Lewinsky, wanted to capture what she calls “that cascading feeling, that overwhelming feeling, the tsunami of texts that come in and the vitriol.” Not just in the video, but in the messages that participants receive. With “The Epidemic”, Lewinsky wants to show victims of bullying that they’re not alone and that they don’t need to remain silent about what they’re going through. 

While bruises and cuts are visible to parents, teachers, and friends, emotional wounds can be harder to spot.

Credit Twitter @MonicaLewnsky

“This is everybody’s worst nightmare—to miss the signs,” Lewinsky said on The Today Show. “And I think one of the best things that we can be doing is have these kinds of conversations, and what we hope to be a positive result from this PSA is that it brings awareness to the kinds of conversations parents should be having with their kids.” Lewinsky who is now 46 years old, remembers that when she was growing up, her parents would tell her, “Be home by sundown.” They wanted her to to be safe. But now, as she notes, “kids can be safe in their physical home, but they’re not emotionally safe because of what may be happening online.” 

The PSA supports a several organizations, including Amanda Todd Legacy, The Childhood Resilience Foundation, Crisis Text Line, Defeat The Label, The Diana Award, Ditch The Label, Organization for Social Media Safety, Sandy Hook Promise, Sit With Us, Think Before You Type and The Tyler Clementi Foundation. If you or someone you know is being bullied, tell someone right away or call the bullying hotline to speak with a professional. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

Things That Matter

Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

elizabethwarren / juliancastrotx / Instagram

Democrats have officially wrapped their third round of Democratic debates. Last night, 12 candidates for the Democratic nomination went head to head on the debate stage in Ohio. The biggest topics of the night were President Trump’s sudden withdrawal of troops in Syria leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Turkey’s attacks and what to do with billionaires. There were some clear winners and losers from the debate. Here is your quick breakdown from the candidates trying to be the Democratic nominee for president.

Elizabeth Warren delivered a powerful message on the inequalities of the abortion debate.

“I think there are a number of options. I think as Mayor Buttigieg said, there are many different ways that people are talking about different options and I think we may have to talk about them,” Sen. Warren said when asked if she’d add justices to the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights. “But, on Roe v. Wade, can we just pause for a minute here. I lived in an America where abortion was illegal and rich women still got abortions because they could travel. They could go to places where it was legal. What we’re talking about now, is that the people who are denied access to abortion are the poor, are the young, are 14-year-olds who were molested by a family member. We now have support across this country. Three out of 4 Americans believe in the rule of Roe v. Wade. When you’ve got three out of four Americans supporting it, we should be able to get that passed through Congress. We should not leave this up to the Supreme Court. We should do it through democracy because we can.”

The U.S. has seen a series of laws passed on the state level aiming to limit access to abortion. The laws have attempted to shutter Planned Parenthood clinics, which offer many more services than abortions, and Alabama’s law sought to put physicians in prison for 99 years for performing abortions. Louisiana has a law that is being heard by the Supreme Court this session that could force all but one doctor in the state to stop performing abortions.

Julián Castro spoke out about increasing police brutality and deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

“I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots at night,” former HUD Secretary Castro said when asked about preventing handgun homicides. “I can remember ducking into the backseat of a car when I was a freshman in high school across the street from my school, my public school because folks were shooting at each other.”

Castro continued by speaking about a topic that has been frequently discussed among the candidates, government buybacks of guns. Castro pointed out that he doesn’t like the idea of a mandatory buyback program since some people have not been able to define it. Furthermore, Castro states that if authorities are not going door-to-door then it isn’t going to be effective.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 39,773 people died from gun-related incidents in the U.S. in 2017. The deaths came from suicides, murder, law enforcement, accidents, and undetermined circumstances.

Castro also made a point to name the latest victim of deadly police violence.

Atatiana Jefferson was home in Fort Worth, Texas with her nephew playing video games when neighbors called the police to check up on Jefferson. The officer who killed Jefferson, Aaron Y. Dean, resigned before he could be fired, according to The New York Times and has been charged with murder in the death. It is also reported that there have been six police-involved killings in the Fort Worth area this year.

Beto O’Rourke doubled down on his plan to create a mandatory buyback program of assault rifles.

If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47, one of these weapons of war, or brings it out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, which we saw when we were at Kent State [University] recently, then that weapon will be taken from them,” former Congressman O’Rourke told the audience when asked about finding the weapons and taking them away. “If they persist, there will be other consequences from law enforcement. But the expectation is that Americans will follow the law.”

Bernie Sanders, fresh from a health scare, let the billionaires have it.

“When you have a half-million Americans sleeping out on the streets today; when you have 87 million people uninsured or under-insured; when you have hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt,” Sanders said. “Then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage and that truth is we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality and we cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war for 45 years.”

The night was filled with other candidates bringing up issues of the opiate crisis, Russian meddling in American democracy, the need to bring dignity back to jobs, and Biden was confronted about the Ukrainian scandal his son is involved in.

READ: From Gun Reform To Immigration, Here Are The Highlights Of Last Night’s #DemDebate