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SOMOS FOR BLACK LIVES

Somos Latinos and we demand that Black Lives Matter

By: Somos For Black Lives 

The heartbeat of racism is denial. The heartbeat of anti-racism is confession.” – Ibram X. Kendi

In the days after George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, we have seen thousands of people protest in the streets across the country demanding change. These protests are a result of the inhumane and unjust systems that have wreaked havoc on Black communities for generations, and leadership that has failed to hold police accountable.

This week’s actions come in the middle of a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted the health and economic well being of millions of Black and Latino people, who are dying at two times the rate of the rest of the  population. It will take decades for our communities to recover from the destabilization. This moment should serve as yet another wake up call to the insidiousness of anti-Blackness built into the fabric of our society.

Today, we are here to say unequivocally that Black Lives Matter! 

We commit to stand alongside the Black community and fight for justice with them.  We demand deep structural reform to address the problem of police violence  and police accountability, racial inequality, and opportunity gaps.

While we must hold the President and other leaders accountable, we must ask ourselves how we contribute to the exacerbation of racism and colorism in this country. Our collective inaction and silence is contributing to the lynchings of Michael Brown, Pamela Turner, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin. Add to that list many Latinos who have also been killed at the hands of the state: Reefa Hernandez, Antonio Arce, Francisco Serna, Anthony Baez, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Jessica Hernandez, David Silva.

We have failed to grapple with anti-Blackness that exists in our own community.   As Latinx, we are descendants of many countries.  According to the Pew Research Center, one quarter of US Latinos identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America.  Many in our community benefit from the privilege or illusion of proximity to whiteness,without acknowledging the depth of our own African diaspora.

We have been raised in families who refer to Blackness in the diminutive (morenita, negrita, prietita). We have remained silent when our tias have encouraged us to partner with people who have lighter skin than us so we can mejorar la raza. We have hated ourselves for our skin color, hair texture, our curves and our accents. Our faith traditions, the schools we attend, the families we love, the music we listen to are anchored in Blackness and our indigenous roots but we obscure that with whiteness.

Racism has influenced our own American experience. Our country was founded on stolen Native American land and the stolen labor of the enslaved. Generations of injustices have left us with prison systems that disproportionately cage and dehumanize Black and brown people; systems, laws, and socially expected behaviors that reinforce this basic idea.

As Latinx, we have experienced America’s hate when our children have been put in cages and our families are ripped out of our lives and deported. Hate is the reason that our immigrant family members are deemed as COVID-19 ‘essential’ but not noticed as ‘heroes.’ We felt it in the shameful response to disasters in Puerto Rico. Last week, we saw on live television when Omar Jimenez, an Afro-Latino CNN reporter was arrested while doing his job.

The path to healing starts with acknowledgement. Next must come action. We, the undersigned, are announcing the following commitments:

  • We commit to standing with the  Black community in saying unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter. We will take direction from Black organizers in our response to anti-Black police violence.  All signatories to this letter have donated to organizations  that are Black led and Black centered.

  • We commit to hold ALL politicians at every level of government accountable, for advancing bold, structural change, and we will challenge them when they stand in the way. We commit to include ending anti-Black racism in our legislative priorities. This means fighting for policies to end police brutality, promote economic policies that address  racial inequities and opportunity gaps and push to overhaul legal systems (voting rights, private prisons, bail bonds) that benefit and profiteer from Black, brown and immigrant oppression.

  • We commit to starting the process of acknowledgement and healing of racism and colorism within our own community and families. We will act on ways that have allowed anti-Blackness to stand in our own families, communities, and institutions.  We will dedicate resources to raise consciousness and disrupt anti-Blackness within our own organizations.

  • We hold our Spanish language and Latino focused media accountable for how they use their platforms to dismantle racism, colorism and anti-blackness in our own Latino community. We demand Univision, Telemundo and other media tell the stories of AfroLatinx people and the discrimination they face, and include more AfroLatinx voices in front of and behind the camera.

Over the coming months, there will be many attempts to divide Black and brown communities. In order to build the society that we want, where opportunity is for everyone and our communities are liberated from oppression that binds us, we must come together as we have in the past and fight together, united.

—–

Somos Latinos y exigimos que Importe la Vida de los Afroamericanos

Por: Somos For Black Lives  

La negación es el pulso del racismo. El pulso del anti-racismo es la confesión”. – Ibram X. Kendi

En los días posteriores al asesinato de George Floyd, a manos de la policía de Minneapolis, hemos presenciado cómo miles de personas protestan en las calles de todo el país exigiendo cambio. Estas protestas son consecuencia de sistemas inhumanos e injustos que durante generaciones han causado estragos en las comunidades negras y latinas, y de líderes que no han hecho responsable a la policía por su violencia.

Las acciones de esta semana se presentan en medio de una pandemia mundial que ha impactado de manera desproporcionada la salud y el bienestar económico de millones de negros y latinos, que están muriendo dos veces más rápido que el resto de la población. Tomará décadas para que nuestras comunidades puedan recuperarse de la desestabilización. Este momento debe servir como una nueva campanada de alerta contra el insidioso sentir contra las personas de color negro presente en nuestra sociedad y en nuestros sistemas a todo nivel.

Por ello hoy estamos aquí, ¡para decir de manera inequívoca que Las Vidas Negras Importan! 

Nos comprometemos a caminar junto a la comunidad afroamericana y juntos luchar para conseguir la justicia.  Exigimos una profunda reforma estructural que sirva para abordar el problema del prejuicio y la violencia policial en este país. Exigimos políticas económicas que cierren la brecha de la desigualdad racial y de oportunidades. También el foco debe estar sobre la revisión de nuestros sistemas legales que, en el presente, se benefician y aprovechan la opresión de las personas negros, latinas e inmigrantes.

Si bien debemos responsabilizar al Presidente y a otros líderes, también debemos preguntarnos de qué forma contribuimos a exacerbar el racismo y la discriminación por el color de piel en este país. Nuestra inacción y silencio colectivo contribuyó a los linchamientos de Michael Brown, Pamela Turner, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin. Agreguemos a la lista los nombres de muchos latinos que han sido asesinados en manos del estado: Antonio Arce, Francisco Serna, Anthony Baez, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Jessica Hernandez, David Silva y la muerte más, Sean Monterrossa quien protestaba pacíficamente en Vallejo, California.

Hemos fallado al no denunciar, destacar e interrumpir el sentir contra las personas de color negro existente en nuestra propia comunidad. Como Latinx, somos descendientes de muchos países. Según el Pew Research Center, un cuarto de los latinos en Estados Unidos se identifican como afro-latinos, afro-caribeños o de descendencia africana con raíces en América Latina.  Muchos en nuestra comunidad se benefician del privilegio o la ilusión de su proximidad física a los anglosajones sin reconocer nuestras raíces africanas.

Crecemos entre familias que se refieren a la negritud con diminutivos (morenita, negrita, prietita). Hemos guardado silencio cuando nuestras tías nos animan a buscar una pareja de piel clara para que podamos “mejorar la raza.” Nos hemos odiado a nosotros mismos por nuestro color de piel, la textura de nuestro cabello, nuestras curvas o nuestros acentos. Nuestras tradiciones de fe, las escuelas a las que asistimos, las familias que amamos, la música que escuchamos están ancladas en la negritud y nuestras raíces indígenas y, sin embargo, lo opacamos con el querer resaltar nuestra blancura.

El racismo ha influido nuestras propias experiencias en Estados Unidos. Nuestro país fue fundando sobre tierras robadas de indígenas americanos y el trabajo robado de los esclavos. Después de siglos de reforzar injusticias y sistemas de opresión durante generaciones, se nos heredan sistemas penitenciarios que de manera desproporcionada encarcelan y deshumanizan a hombres negros y latinos; sistemas, leyes y conductas sociales que refuerzan esta idea básica.

Como Latinx, hemos experimentado el odio que existe en los Estados Unidos cuando nuestros hijos han sido enjaulados.  El odio es la razón por la que miembros de nuestras familias han sido arrancados de nuestras vidas y deportados. El odio es la razón por la que miembros de nuestras familias inmigrantes son considerados personas ‘esenciales’ contra el COVID-19, pero no se les aprecia como ‘héroes’. Lo vivimos en la vergonzosa respuesta que se dio a los desastres en Puerto Rico.  Y la semana pasada, vimos en vivo por televisión, como Omar Jimenez, un reportero afro-latino de CNN, fue arrestado mientras cumplía su labor.

El camino a la sanación comienza con el reconocimiento. Sí, nos produce incomodidad, pero es necesario para poder lograr resultados distintos. Después debe llegar la acción. Tenemos mucho trabajo por hacer entre nuestras familias, organizaciones y comunidades.

El camino hacia la sanación es el reconocimiento. Lo que le sigue es la acción. Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, hoy anunciamos los siguientes compromisos:

  • Nos comprometemos a acompañar a la comunidad afroamericana al expresar de manera inequívoca que Las Vidas Negras Importan. Seguiremos las instrucciones de líderes de la comunidad afroamericana para responder adecuadamente a la violencia policial contra las personas negras. Todos los firmantes de esta carta han donado a organizaciones que abogan por y están lideradas por personas negras.

  • Nos comprometemos a responsabilizar a TODOS los políticos, en cualquier nivel de gobierno, a que comiencen un cambio audaz y estructural y los desafiaremos si lo llegan a obstaculizar. Nos comprometemos a incluir el llamado al fin del racismo contra los negros en nuestras prioridades legislativas. Esto significa adelantar campañas en defensa, educación y/o comunicacionales que incluyan políticas para el fin de la brutalidad policial, la promoción de políticas económicas contra la desigualdad racial y el cierre de la brecha de oportunidades, así como impulsar la reforma de los sistemas legales (derecho al voto, prisiones privadas, fianzas) que se benefician y se aprovechan de la opresión de las personas negras, latinas e inmigrantes.

  • Nos comprometemos a iniciar el proceso de reconocimiento y sanación contra el racismo y discriminación por el color de la piel dentro de nuestras propias comunidades y familias. Reflexionaremos y discutiremos las formas bajo las que hemos permitido que el sentir contra las personas de color negro ocupe un lugar entre nuestras familias, comunidades e instituciones.  Identificaremos el racismo contra las personas de color negro en nuestras organizaciones y dedicaremos recursos para crear consciencia, examinar nuestros valores y abordar y descontinuar el odio contra las personas de color negro.

  • Responsabilizaremos a nuestros medios de comunicación -tanto en ingles como en español- por como usan sus plataformas para desmantelar el racismo y la discriminación contra las personas de color negro en nuestra propia comunidad latina. Hacemos un llamado a que los medios en español relaten historias de personas AfroLatinx y la discriminación a la cual se enfrentan en este país, y que incluyan más voces AfroLatinx delante y detrás de las cámaras.

En  los meses por venir, habrá muchos intentos para dividir a las comunidad afroamericana y latina. Pero para construir la sociedad que queremos, donde exista equidad de oportunidades para todos, y ponerle fin a la opresión, debemos trabajar en conjunto como lo hemos hecho en en el pasado y luchar por nuestras comunidades, unidos.

Somos for Black Lives, un grupo de firmantes:

Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA

Alejandra Gomez and Tomas Robles, Co- Executive Directors, LUCHA

Amanda Renteria, CEO, Code for America

Ana Marie Argilagos, President & CEO, Hispanics in Philanthropy

Ana Sofia Peleaz, Executive Director, Miami Freedom Project

Andrea Mercado, Executive Director, New Florida Majority

Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

Becca Guerra, Director, New American Majority Fund, Democracy Alliance

Brenda V. Castillo, President & CEO, National Hispanic Media Coalition

Carmen Perez-Jordan, CEO & President , The Gathering for Justice, Justice League NYC

Cecilia Munoz, Vice President, New America

Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, Executive Director, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

Cid Wilson, President & CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)

Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director, United We Dream

Denise Collazo, Senior Advisor, Faith in Action

Diana Albarran Chicas, Co-Founder, Latinas in STEM Foundation

Elsa Marie Collins, Co-Founder, This is About Humanity

Frankie Miranda, President, Hispanic Federation

Hector Sanchez Barba, CEO & Executive Director, Mi Familia Vota

Irene Godinez, Founder and Executive Director, Poder NC Action

Janet Murguia , President/CEO, UnidosUS

Jess Morales Rocketto, Civic Engagement Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Liz Rebecca Alarcón, Founder & Executive Director, Pulso

Lorella Praeli, President, Community Change Action

Marco A. Davis, President & CEO, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)

Marcos Vilar, Executive Director, Alianza for Progress

Maria Elena Salinas, Independent Journalist, MES Multi Media LLC

María Teresa Kumar, CEO and President, Voto Latino

María Rodriguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition

Mariana Ruiz Firmat, Executive Director, Kairos

Melissa Morales, Executive Director, Somos Votantes

Dr. Mildred Garcia, President/CEO, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Monica Lozano, CEO, College Futures Foundation

Mónica Ramírez, President, Justice for Migrant Women and The Latinx House

Nathalie Rayes, President and CEO, Latino Victory

Rocio Saenz, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union

Sarah Audelo, Executive Director, Alliance for Youth Action

Sergio Gonzales, Deputy Director , The Immigration Hub

Sindy Benavides, CEO, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Stephanie Valencia, Co-Founder and President, EquisLabs

Susan Gonzales, Founder & CEO, AIforYou.org

Tory Gavito, President, Way to Win

Yadira Sanchez and Esteban Garces, Co-Executive Directors, Poder Latinx

Emmy Ruiz, Partner, NEWCO Strategies

Juan Rodriguez, Principal, SCRB Strategies

Matt A. Barreto, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Latino Decisions

Adrian Saenz, President, Mosaic Media Strategy Group

Claudia Rodriguez, Analyst, Latino Decisions

Michael Joaquin Frias, CEO, Catalist

Albert Morales, Senior Political Director, Latino Decisions

Crisanta Duran, New York Director of Democrats for Education Reform & former Colorado Speaker of the House, Democrats for Education Reform

Santiago Martinez, Partner, Arena

Erica González, Director, Power 4 Puerto Rico Coalition

Lizet Ocampo, National Political Director, People For the American Way

Eva Hughes, Founder, Adira Consulting

Beatriz Acevedo, President, Acevedo Foundation

Lili Gangas, Chief Technology Community Officer, Kapor Center

Ana Valdez, Executive President, Latino Donor Collaborative

Ana Flores, Founder + CEO, #WeAllGrow Latina Network

Andrea Marta, Executive Director, Faith in Action Fund

Daisy Auger-Domínguez, Chief People Officer, VICE Media Group

Carolina Huaranca Mendoza, Founder, 1504 Ventures

Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President, Social Impact Strategy, MTV and Comedy Central

Katherine Archuleta, Partner, Dimension Strategies

Laura Marquez, Board Member, Latinos44

Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, Builder Capitalist, Author of LEAPFROG, O³

Paola Ramos, Latinx Advocate

Paola Mendoza, Artist/Author, Rola Productions

Lucy Flores, CEO & Co-Founder, Luz Collective

Nuria Santamaría Wolfe, CMO & Co-founder, Encantos

Eneida M. Roman, Esq, Co-Founder, Amplify LatinX, Amplify Latinx

Carmen Rita Wong, CEO, Malecón Productions

Blanca A Lassalle Vazquez, Founder, Creative Link Inc.

Marcela Valladolid, Author and Chef

Christy Haubegger, Chief Enterprise Inclusion Officer, WarnerMedia

Mildred Otero

Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera, Senior Vice President, The Estee Lauder Companies, The Estee Lauder Companies

Ramona E. Romero, Former General Counsel, USDA; VP & General Counsel, Princeton University

Monica Silva-Gutierrez, Sr. Leader, Google

Andrea Gompf Browne, Editorial Lead, Con Todo, Netflix

Lucinda Martinez, EVP, WarnerMedia Entertainment

Margarita Florez, Director, Education; Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Natalia Salgado, Political Director, Center for Popular Democracy

Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director, Center for Popular Democracy

Pili Tobar, Deputy Director, America’s Voice

Franco Caliz-Aguilar, Senior Political Advisor, Community Change Action

Frances Messano, Senior Managing Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund

Irma L. Olguin Jr., CEO, Bitwise Industries

Jessica Perez, Partner, Deloitte

Marissa Padilla, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy Group

Francesca de Quesada Covey, Head of Partnerships, Facebook

Stephanie Baez, Vice President, Global Strategy Group

Natali Fani González, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Marsha (Catron) Espinosa, Govt & Political Affairs Prof, personal capacity

Lia Parada, Director, Government Affairs, Center for American Progress

Amilcar Guzman, Ph.D., National President, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Alumni Association

Earl Francisco Lopez, President, Lopez Global Advisors

Elvis S. Cordova, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, National Recreation and Park Association

Carmen Lomellin, Ambassador (ret), Lomellin Global Partners

Soledad Roybal, Director of Engagement and Partnerships, RCAP

Ebetuel (Beto) Pallares Venegas, PhD, President/CEO – Joseph Advisory, Fund Manager – Arrowhead Innovation Fund, Board Member – Latino Business Action Network, Joseph Advisory Services

Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director, Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Estuardo V. Rodriguez, President & CEO, Friends of the American Latino Museum

Vanessa N. Gonzalez, Executive Vice President, Field and Membership Services, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Javier Saade, Managing Partner, Impact Master Holdings

Maritza Perez, National Affairs Director, Drug Policy Alliance

Fernando Treviño, Principal, Treviño Strategic Consulting, LLC

Anthony Reyes, Vice President, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

Dan Restrepo, Founder, Restrepo Strategies LLC

Nancy Santiago, Community Impact Lead, Ureeka

Shantel Meek, Founding Director, The Children’s Equity Project

Frankie A. Martínez Blanco, Associate Director, Strategy & Engagement, XQ Institute

Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President & CEO, Women’s Funding Network

Christian Esperias, Senior National Director, Our Turn

Juan Sebastian Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement

Johanny Adames, Associate Director, Latino Media & Comms, Planned Parenthood

Pedro Suárez, SVP, Data Science, GMMB

Kate Villarreal, Senior Director of Strategic Communications, Urban Institute

Victoria Suarez-Palomo, Senior Advisor, Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP

Scarlett Jimenez, Development Director, Alliance for Youth Action

Bibi Hidalgo, Co-Founder, Future Partners LLC

Jenny Montoya Tansey, Policy Director, Public Rights Project

Ysabella Osses, Gender Justice Organizer, New Florida Majority

Noerena Limon, SVP of Policy and Advocacy, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)

Abigail Golden-Vazquez, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program

Luis Sergio Hernandez Jr.

Vivian M.Leal, Communications Director, Indivisible Northern Nevada

Kenneth Romero, Executive Director, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)

Lisa Pino, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights and Former Deputy Administrator of SNAP, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Krystal Ortiz, Director, NEWCO Strategies

Nery Espinosa, Director, NEWCO Strategies

Juan-Pablo Mas, 1) Partner [at APVC] and 2) Founding Board Member [of LatinxVC], Action Potential Venture Capital and LatinxVC

Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO, Latino Community Foundation

Ana Sol Gutierrez, Board President, MoCo Education Equity Forum (MCEF.org)

Christian Esperias, Senior National Director, Our Turn

Renata Soto, Founder, Mosaic Institute

Yvanna D Cancela, Nevada State Senator, Nevada Legislature

Karina Claudio Betancourt, Director-Puerto Rico Project, Open Society Foundations

María J Torres-López, Founder, Diáspora En Resistencia

Maruxa Cardenas Surillo, President, Our Revolution Puerto Rico

Nate Snyder, Executive Vice President and Board Member, Cambridge Global Advisors and LATINOS44

Mario Catalino, CEO, Jangueo Boricua Miami and Catalino Productions

Catarina (“Katie”) Taylor, Executive Director, Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)

Ian Haney Lopez, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, UC Berkeley

Maria Revelles, Florida Director, Vamos4PuertoRico

Felice Gorordo, CEO, eMerge Americas

Stacie Olivares, Trustee, CalPERS

Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, Principal, Polivox787

Bernadette Carrillo-Hobson, Principal & Founder, Resilient Strategies

Felix Sanchez, Chairman & Co-founder, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts

Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer, Culinary Workers Union Local 226

Evelyn Pérez-Verdía, Democratic Strategist & Founder of Political Pasión, Politicalpasion.com

Natascha Otero-Santiago, Founder, Parranda Puerto Rico

Cindy Polo, State Representative, Florida House

John G. Amaya, Of Counsel, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

Luis Guerra Moreno, Don, West G Entrepreneurs, Inc

Luis Avila, Founder, Instituto

Ricardo Garcia-Amaya, Founder, Top US Latinx Tech Leaders

Adria Márquez, Chair, Obama Latinos Alumni Association

Jason Ortiz, President, Minority Cannabis Business Association

Jennifer Allen Aroz, Senior Vice President of Community & Civic Engagement, League of Conservation Voters

Juliana Ospina Cano, Executive Director, Conexión Américas

Gilda (Gigi) Pedraza, Executive Director, Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia)

Omar Angel Perez, Lead Organizer, Congregation Action Network

Frances Colón, Ph.D., CEO, Jasperi Consulting

Alicia Contreras, Executive Director, Corazón Arizona

Teresa Acuña, Associate Director, Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

Rev. Rubén N. Ortiz, Latino Field Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Lizette Olmos Godfrey, Consultant, Olmos Strategy Group

Cesar Ramirez, President, Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida

Karina Cabrera Bell, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, OpenAccess

Angela Cobian, Treasurer and Director, Denver Board of Education

John B. King, Jr., President, The Education Trust

Laura I Rodriguez, Former Chief of Staff, Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Principal, Guerrera Strategies, LLC

Paul M. Landa, Director, Community Family Centers

Alejandra Ruiz, Executive Director, Youth Engagement Fund

Ramón Zayas, Inversionista, Renters-Union.com

Keylin Rivera, Latinx Change Agent

Monika Mantilla, Managing Partner, Small Business Community Capital

Jimmy Torres Velez, President, Iniciativa Acción Puertorriqueña

Evelyn Perez-Verdia, CEO and Founder, Transnational Relations, LLC

Andrea Lopez Pearce, Legal Advocate

Jose Hernandez-Paris, Executive Director, Latin American Coalition

Omar Jimenez, Youth Vice Chair, 23rd Senatorial District Tejano Democrats

Bernadette Carrillo-Hobson, Principal & Founder, Resilient Strategies

Matt Nelson, Executive Director, Presente.org

Mayra E Alvarez, President, The Children’s Partnership

Wendy Mateo-pascual, Principal Consulting, Crossways Consulting

Omar Esposito, Chief Revenue Officer, Stackfolio

Lizette Olmos Godfrey, Consultant, Olmos Strategy Group

Sylvia Marcela Gómez, Partner, Culture Shift Team

Marietta Vazquez, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician, Director Yale Children’s Hispanic Clinic

Nilda Ruiz, President, National Puerto Rican Agenda

Nancy Torres, Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member, Latinx MBA Association

Karen Coronel, Regional Manager, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation

Diana G. Hume Rivera, Ms., Villanova University (Class of 2024)

Samantha Ramirez-Herrera, CEO/Founder, Offtharecord, Inc.

Ericka Gomez-Tejeda, Organizing Director, Organize Florida

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, PhD, Executive Director/Directora Ejecutiva, Ciencia Puerto Rico

Mónica Feliú-Mójer, Director of Communications (Ciencia Puerto Rico) & Associate Director of Diversity (iBiology), Ciencia Puerto Rico and iBiology

Pedro Viloria, Operations Coordinator, Latino Community Fund of Georgia

Sofia Ferber, Invariant

Valeria Carranza, Chief of Staff, Montgomery County Council

Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO)

Sean Salas, Co-Founder and CEO, Camino Financial

Nury Castillo Crawford, President, Georgia Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents

Para el sitio original/for the original site, please visit https://www.somosforblacklives.com/

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Georgia Secretary of State, Election Board Must Safeguard June 9 Primary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / LINK

June 2, 2020

Contact: Gabrielle Abbott, Gabrielle@AllVotingisLocal.org, 773.369.5358

 

 

Georgia Secretary of State, Election Board Must Safeguard June 9 Primary

Lack of funding and preparedness leads to delays and safety concerns

ATLANTA — All Voting is Local Georgia and more than 10 civil rights organizations, including The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Campaign Legal Center, the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, and Black Voters Matter, called on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and State Election Board members to establish uniform standards and provide funding to counties to fix widespread ballot processing problems, voting delays, and unsafe conditions at polling places for the June 9 primary.

 

Georgia voters are being denied the right to vote privately, securely, and safely. Voters are not receiving the mailed ballots they requested, are not being informed of election changes in a timely or inclusive manner, and have reported a lack of sanitation procedures at polling places.

 

In their letter, groups said: “Despite the challenges of these times, Georgia voters demand fair, equitable and efficient elections. Providing all active voters with absentee ballot applications and allowing counties to install ballot drop boxes have been a helpful start, but without the additional actions outlined in this letter, the integrity of the June 9th primary election is still at risk. Boards of elections and voters need the additional support of time, better information, and enforcement of uniform protocols to reduce the impediments to their absentee ballots being counted and to have safe in-person voting if that is what they choose to or must do.”

 

The groups are demanding state officials make these changes immediately:

  • Extend the deadline for receipt of mailed-in absentee ballots.
  • Implement an enhanced communications strategy to adequately inform voters of the addition of absentee drop box locations and changes to in-person polling locations.
  • Enforce uniform protocols related to the provision to and use of personal protective equipment by poll workers and voters throughout the state.

The letter is available here.

 

The following groups signed the letter: ProGeorgia State Table, All Voting is Local Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Black Voters Matter, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause, Georgia Association for Latino Elected Officials, Georgia Stand Up, The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The League of Women Voters Georgia, NAACP-GA, The New Georgia Project, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, Campaign Legal Center.

 

All Voting is Local has created a visual tracking tool on the number of absentee ballot applications, by day and county, which can be found here.

 

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All Voting is Local fights to eliminate needless and discriminatory barriers to voting before they happen, to build a democracy that works for us all. It is a collaborative campaign housed at the Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For more information about All Voting is Local, visit https://allvotingislocal.org and follow us on Twitter @votingislocal.

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Jerry Gonzalez:  Surviving COVID-19

Jerry Gonzalez:  Surviving COVID-19

June 1, 2020

By:  Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO

It was Mother’s Day.  I woke up with a slight fever and a slight persistent cough.  I felt some body aches as well

My husband woke up and was feeling fine, but felt my skin warm to the touch.  He took my temperature and it was 100.5.  Immediately, he recommended we get tested for COVID-19.  We got tested at a facility that had 30 minute turn around for results and we were also lucky to get an appointment on that same day.

Upon arriving, the process moved along smoothly.  We had to have our appointment proof and our ID’s ready.  Our windows closed the whole time, volunteers and police pointed to where we needed to go.  Then, we were approached by either a volunteer or medical professional fully geared in PPE with gowns, face mask & shield, gloves.  With the window cracked enough for a swab, she instructed us to take the swab from her and how deep we needed to go into our noses for an effective test.

Then, we waited in our car to receive the results.  Thoughts of all of the serious hospitalizations and deaths were top of mind for us while we also reassured each other.  The time waiting for the results seemed like the longest wait we had experienced. Finally, we did get a call from a nurse with the results.  We were both positive for COVID-19; and, the world stopped for a long moment for both of us.  She proceeded to let us know we should isolate at home and not leave the house for any reason other than for seeking medical care.

During our short ride home, we discussed what we needed to do and discussed scenarios in case one or both of us were to get hospitalized, or worse put on a ventilator.  We had to prepare ourselves for that reality.  We also began to second guess ourselves on where we fell short in our efforts to prevent infection.  Where did it happen?  The coronavirus is everywhere.  It could have happened anywhere and all the virus needed was one opportunity to infect us both.

After getting home, we had to call our mothers to wish them a “Happy Mother’s Day” but we had both decided we would not let them know anything about our results until the quarantine period passed.  We did not want to worry our parents needlessly given the daily news of deaths and growing infections.  We hoped and prayed we would be able to tell them after our quarantine time was over and that it was uneventful…we hoped and prayed for that.

Fortunately, we do have a close circle of friends who are doctors, specifically who work in the emergency rooms and with infections diseases.  We did get a best scenario discussion with them and they advised on what we needed to do now and what we needed to look for to head to the hospital, in case it did come to that.  One of the two things that was helpful for us to consider was the taking of baby aspirin daily because of the situation with COVID-19 causing strokes in some people.  In addition, our friends warned about ensuring we did daily checks of our oxygen levels in our blood through a simple pulse oximeter, which we were glad to have access to.  If our levels fell below 92%, we were to head for the hospital.  There had been cases of healthy people waiting too long before they sought medical care and ended up either dying or being placed on a ventilator because of the delay in seeking medical care.

The days and night that followed were difficult. Anxiety was high for us both thinking of the worst-case scenarios hourly.  Yes, in hindsight, that is irrational; but, when you are dealing with it yourself, your mind races with anxiety and your emotions take over our rational thinking goes out the window.

We are both fortunate that we had each other.  We are blessed to have our home to quarantine together.  We had stocked up with food in our pantry to last us two weeks.  We have a tight circle of friends that checked in on us daily and provided needed supplies.  We are fortunate that we had the resources to have some groceries delivered to our home.  We are privileged to be able to also work some from home during this period of quarantine.

My slight fever and cough lasted four days.  The body aches lasted a bit longer and my body felt weak.  Each day was filled with anxiety and hope of the fever passing.  Each hour, I was thinking about whether my symptoms would worsen and whether I may require hospitalization.  My husband, on the other hand, was asymptomatic the whole time; yet, he was also feeling terrified that one of us could wind up in the hospital.

Last week, our nation reached a grim milestone of over 100,000 deaths from COVID-19.  Last week, we also ended our 14-day quarantine without requiring any hospitalization.  The CDC recommendations for quarantine were only for 10 days, but we wanted to make certain we would not be responsible for spreading the virus to anyone else.

The coronavirus causing this global pandemic is still with us and it is everywhere.   With loosening of lockdown processes everywhere, the virus will continue to spread.  Everyone out in public should wear a mask in order to significantly reduce the spread by asymptomatic people.  This virus is deadly still and we have a grim reminder of the 100,000 deaths we just mourned together as a nation.  Despite hospitalizations being down in some areas, the virus is still taking a serious toll on people.  The virus is disproportionately seriously impacting the poor, essential workers, the elderly, African Americans and Latinos.

In order to honor those we have lost, we must work collectively to contain the spread.  It is up to us all to stop the virus; and we have a common shared sense of responsibility to do everything that we can to slow and stop the spread of the virus.

Wash your hands.

Don’t touch your face.

Wear a mask in public.

Stay home as much as you can.

Avoid large crowds.

Follow CDC guidelines and please do take this virus seriously until we have a vaccine.

Despite the fact that I came out of this situation with minimal symptoms or impact on my health, I would not wish what we went through on anyone.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

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COVID-19 and Elections (Coronavirus y las Elecciones)- Edición Bilingüe

By Natalia B. Dutra

31 May 2020

COVID-19 and Elections

The world, as we know it, is going through drastic changes; a microscopic organism has halted our daily lives and has devastated many communities. As we continue to practice social distancing, staying inside when possible, practicing good hygiene, and helping others, there are ways to resume our regular habits. One thing that should not be affected by this pandemic is our democracy. Although it is currently less safe to vote at your polling station, there are other ways to make your voice heard. 

The Georgia General Primary was initially scheduled for May 24th and the Presidential Preference Primary for some time in March, but since the Coronavirus outbreak, the date has jumped around. As of today, the elections have been both pushed to June 9th. Just because election day has been postponed doesn’t mean you have to wait to exercise your civil rights; there are ways to vote right now from the comfort and safety of your home. The state has announced that all active, registered voters will receive absentee ballot applications in the mail in hopes of increasing voter turnout. Once this form is completed and returned to the mailing address, you will receive your absentee ballot, which allows you to vote in the election. After mailing your completed ballot, you will officially have participated in the election. Congratulations! 

It is as simple as that, but what should you do if you have not received anything in the mail? You can find the absentee ballot application online at the official Georgia Secretary of State website. Once you download and complete the form, you can submit it to your local County Board of Registrar’s Office through the mail, fax, or even email. Once you finish the application process, you will receive your ballot in the mail. We recommend you return it via mail by June 1st. 

Despite these unprecedented times, voting is still crucial. This election cycle will determine what the general election looks like, and the upcoming general election will significantly impact the future of our community. Many positions are up for reelection, such as congressional seats; therefore, it is of paramount importance that we continue to participate in elections. It is our civic duty to ensure that the people in office are fighting for legislation that supports, protects, and uplifts our diverse community so that in trying times like these, we have competent leadership. 

—-

Coronavirus y las Elecciones

El mundo, como lo conocemos, está pasando por cambios drásticos; un organismo microscópico ha parado nuestras vidas diarias y ha devastado muchas comunidades. A medida que continuamos practicando el distanciamiento social, permaneciendo dentro cuando es posible, practicando la buena higiene y ayudando a otros, hay maneras de resumir nuestros hábitos normales. Una cosa que no debería verse afectada por esta pandemia es nuestra democracia. Aunque actualmente es menos seguro físicamente emitir un voto, hay otras maneras de hacer que su voz sea escuchada.

La Primaria General de Georgia se programó inicialmente para el 24 de mayo y la Primaria de Preferencia Presidencial por algún tiempo en marzo, pero desde el brote del coronavirus, la fecha ha cambiado varias veces. A partir de hoy, las dos elecciones se llevarán a cabo el día 9 de junio. Sólo porque el día de las elecciones ha sido pospuesto, no significa que usted tiene que esperar para ejercer sus derechos civiles; hay maneras de votar ahora mismo desde la comodidad y la seguridad de su hogar. El estado de Georgia ha anunciado que todos los votantes registrados y activos recibirán las solicitudes de papeleta por correo con la esperanza de aumentar la participación electoral. Una vez completado este formulario y devuelto a la dirección de correo, recibirá su boleta para votar por correo, que le permite votar en la elección. Después de enviar su boleta completa, usted habrá participado oficialmente en la elección. ¡Felicidades!

Es tan simple como eso, pero ¿qué debe hacer si no ha recibido nada en el correo? Puede encontrar la solicitud de la papeleta de ausencia en línea en el sitio web oficial del Secretario de Estado de Georgia. Una vez que descargue y complete el formulario, puede enviarlo a la Oficina del Registro del Condado a través de correo postal, fax o incluso correo electrónico. Una vez que termine el proceso de solicitud, recibirá su boleta por correo, y una vez que haya terminado, la devolverá por correo,  antes del 1 de junio.

A pesar de estos tiempos sin precedentes, la votación sigue siendo crucial. Este ciclo electoral determinará cómo serán las elecciones generales, y las próximas elecciones generales tendrán un impacto significativo en el futuro de nuestra comunidad. Muchos cargos se presentan a la reelección, como los escaños del Congreso; por lo tanto, es de suma importancia que sigamos participando en las elecciones. Es nuestro deber cívico asegurar que las personas en el cargo estén luchando por una legislación que apoye, proteja y eleve nuestra diversa comunidad para que, en tiempos difíciles como estos, tengamos un liderazgo competente.

 

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How COVID-19 is Affecting Immigration

By Cyntia Sosa

31 May 2020

How COVID-19 is Affecting Immigration

The pandemic that has been brought on by COVID-19 has affected various parts of our society, especially in closing different businesses and forcing citizens to socially distance from others. A major affect that this pandemic has on society is how it is impacting immigration and immigrant communities. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they will be closing their offices until June 4th, which could have an impact on different systems such as DACA renewals and appointments that had been scheduled during the closures.

These closures and halt on services has caused various services to be cancelled or rescheduled such as interviews, naturalizations, biometrics appointments, oath ceremonies, and much more. Because of this, many immigration benefit processing’s have also been stalled. U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have been closed which will affect visa services. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) announced that there would be a delay in the enforcement of detaining people who are not considered public safety risks, as well as not pursuing them in hospitals or other health care facilities (Redmon, 2020).

Even though the USCIS offices are closed, DACA renewals are still being processed. USCIS has announced that they will be using previously submitted biometrics for renewals for people who had appointments scheduled ahead of time. There are many DACA recipients and immigrants who are in the frontlines working to care for others during the pandemic, but they have been excluded from things such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (C.A.R.E.S ACT), which was created to provide American citizens with assistance during these difficult times, however it excluded the vulnerable population of immigrants. They were excluded from provisions that would ensure testing and economic relief to those who were eligible for the assistance, which not only poses a risk for these communities but also for the people that they are around every day. COVID-19 affects everyone in the community, regardless of race or ethnicity, so people should have equal access to resources ensuring that we move forward as a country in public safety and in our economy.

Works Cited

ACLU News & Commentary. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/news/immigrants-rights/covid-19-doesnt-discriminate-neither-should-congress-response/

Chishti, M., Chishti, S. P. M., & Pierce, S. (2020, April 9). Crisis within a Crisis: Immigration in the United States in a Time of COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/crisis-within-crisis-immigration-time-covid-19

Frequently Asked Questions about DACA Renewals in the Middle of COVID-19 Crisis. (2020, April 2). Retrieved from https://unitedwedream.org/2020/04/frequently-asked-questions-about-daca-renewals-in-the-middle-of-covid-19-crisis/

https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/practice_alert-uscis_updates_covid19_final.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://research.newamericaneconomy.org/report/undocumented-immigrants-covid-19-crisis/

Redmon, J. (2020, March 26). Immigrants, refugees in Georgia vulnerable amid coronavirus pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/immigrants-refugees-georgia-vulnerable-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/pJJFmzOZzyiUTJRyiEBzoM/

 

 

 

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Leading Voting Rights Advocates Host Virtual Town Hall to Mobilize Voters Ahead of Primaries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT: Adam Sweat

asweat@progeorgia.org, 678-951-2172

 

Leading Voting Rights Advocates Host Virtual Town Hall to Mobilize Voters Ahead of Primaries

 

Thursday, April 28, 2020 (ATLANTA, GA) –  Leading voting rights organizations, convened by the ProGeorgia table, are hosting a Virtual Town Hall on May 4th. The event will encourage voter registration and participation, especially in historically marginalized and underserved communities, ahead of the primary elections on June 9, 2020. elections.

 

ProGeorgia’s Election Protection Coalition is proud to support Georgia voters via our national, non-partisan Election Protection Hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683) | 1-888-54GALEO (544-2536) (SPANISH/ENGLISH)| (404) 955-7322 (Asian Languages/English) | 844-YALLA-US (925-5287) (Arabic/English).

 

Details about the upcoming virtual town hall follow:

 

WHO: ProGeorgia

All Voting is Local

GALEO

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Georgia NAACP

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Common Cause GA

League of Women Voters Georgia

Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda

Southern Poverty Law Center

 

WHEN: Monday, May 4, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm EST

 

WHAT: Virtual town hall

 

WHERE: Via Zoom

 

WHY: COVID-19 has necessitated multiple changes to Georgia’s voting

landscape. This virtual town hall will help voters better understand how to take part in the upcoming primary elections. Panelists will provide insight into their latest interactions with the Secretary of State’s office, as well as speak to new and online lawsuits and activities regarding election protection, highlighting perspectives relevant to members of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, including youth, people of color, immigrants, and disabled members of Georgia’s population.

 

This town hall will be followed by a Spanish-language virtual town hall hosted by GALEO on May 11, 2020 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm via Facebook Live at facebook.com/GALEO.org.

 

About ProGeorgia

ProGeorgia is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. ProGeorgia supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of our diverse partner organizations, and develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituencies.

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Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez Honored in 41 LGBTQ Latinx Role Models

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
April 14, 2020 Alberto B. Mendoza
323-383-4924
HONOR 41 Announces 2020 “The 41 List” Honorees

41 List Recognizes 41 LGBTQ Latinx Role Models

LOS ANGELES, CA – Honor 41 is proud to announce the fifth edition of “The 41 List,” which
celebrates 41 LGBTQ Latinx role models. This year’s 41 List includes a diverse group of
distinguished professors, journalists, community leaders, actors, elected officials, activists, non-profit
leaders, artists, students, entrepreneurs, and more.

“Honor 41 promotes awareness and positive images of the Latinx LGBTQ community. Celebrating
this year’s honorees and sharing their stories is an incredible personal honor,” said Alberto B.
Mendoza, founder of Honor 41 and Producer of The 41 List. “Their work is paving the way for the
Latinx LGBTQ community to come out and embrace their lives with authentically and with orgullo.”
Beginning April 21, video interviews of each honoree will be released on the organization’s social
media channels and website. The videos highlight each of the honoree’s personal experience with
coming out and how religion, culture, family, and HIV/AIDS have impacted their lives.
To view a video of all 41 honorees click here.

There are nine different countries that represent our honorees which include the United States,
Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Spain,Cuba, and Uruguay. Our honorees
come from 20 different cities and 30 percent of them are under the age of 30, and 25 percent identify
as transgender or gender-nonconforming.

Amongst the group is a professor, a city council member, two survivors of pulse, founder of the
International Imperial court, five journalists, ten executive directors, actors, documentarians, students,
president of the Realtors Association, and more.

The 2020 honorees are:
1. Thom A. Hernandez, Palm Springs
2. Giuliani J. Alvarenga, New Orleans
3. Eddy F. Alvarez Jr. Portland OR,
4. Jamie Arangure, San Diego
5. Damian Cabrera, San Juan,
6. Nancy Cañas, DC
7. Felicia Carbajal, Los Angeles
8. Cora Cervantes, Los Angeles
9. Michaé De La Cuadra, Los Angeles
10. Brian De Los Santos, Palm Springs

11. Jose Luis Dieppa, Orlando
12. Ashley Figueroa, Orlando
13. Robert Gamboa, Los Angeles
14. Jesse Garcia, DC
15. Ana Gomez, DC
16. Brandon Gomez, NYC
17. Jerry Gonzalez, Atlanta
18. Jonatan Guerrero, Charleston
19. Yozantli J. Lagunas, Sacramento
20. Andres Martinez, Anaheim

21. Eddie Martinez, Los Angeles
22. Maritza Martinez, Oakland
23. Jorge Matamoros, Madrid, Spain
24. Julio Matamoros, Madrid, Spain
25. Morgan Mayfaire, Miami
26. Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, DC
27. Ryan Mendoza, Los Angeles
28. Xelestial Moreno-Luz, San Diego
29. Nicole Murray Ramirez, San Diego
30. Ricardo J. Negron-Almodovar,
Orlando
31. Karari Olvera Orozco, Chicago
32. Alexis Ortega, Palm Springs
33. Andre Perez, Berkeley
34. Ezak Perez, Los Angeles
35. Francisco Ruiz, Atlanta
36. Valerie Palacios, Louisville
37. Li ann (Estrella) Sanchez, Atlanta
38. Antonio Santos, Chicago
39. Robert Salcido, San Antonio
40. Monica Trasandes, Los Angeles
41. Jamie Zapata, San Antonio

Quotes from honorees:
Robert Salcido, Director of the San Antonio LGBTQ Center

“Growing up as a young Queer Latino, examples that showed me that I could
simultaneously be Queer, successful, and thrive were nonexistent. Being honored by
The 41 List is an opportunity for me to represent those qualities to our younger
generations now and in the future.”

Jaime Zapata

“Positive role models are important for the LGBTQ+ community because many of us
struggled without any kind of support in the past.  When we advocate for ourselves and
others, we shatter the stereotypes placed on us by society and break barriers for the
next generation.”

Lisbeth Melendez Rivera

“As a Puerto Rican butch dyke who was raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, I carry the
struggles and resilience of my people with me. I am humbled to be recognized by Honor
41 for more than seven years of passion-filled work in Latinx, queer and trans, and faith-
rooted movements for social justice. I send my congratulations to all of the other
honorees. Es siempre un honor ser reconocida por y con mis compatriotas. Pa’lante
siempre!”

Ricardo Negron-Almodovar

“This labor of love done by Honor 41 is nothing short of remarkable. As a proud gay
boricua, I feel very honored to be included in a list with so many amazing, powerful and
fearless people. It’s so important for our community to have a space where we are
uplifted, celebrated  and where other LGBTQ+ latinx individuals can find leaders and
role models to look up to, learn together and create meaningful connections.”

Jerry Gonzalez

“In the Latinx community, we do need to have dignity in our GLBTQ community and the
many contributions we make.  I am a proud Latino, who is also a gay man.  I do my
work for the community and I bring my whole self to the table.  That is what makes us
more passionate and stronger about our work.”

Jonatan Guerrero

Honor41 celebrating role models in our community means this giving us a platform to
highlight the work folxs are doing in small cities and in our small communities. This
platform highlights the grassroots organizers and is giving our people the hope and
drive to keep moving forward. This nation was built by the sweat of immigrants and
highlighting our LGBTQ+ leaders is showing the process we are making for the next
generation to come! Our journey is not over yet, this is just the beginning for us! I am
honored to be part of this list and I hope my story will help influence our youth para
seguir luchando y saber que sí se puede!!!

Jamie Arangure

Es un privilegio ser parte de los #41 Honor 2019-2020 y compartir este reconocimiento
con todos los elegidos en esta edición, ya que nuestra misión es servir a los demás con
el propósito de alcanzar la igualdad justa para nuestra comunidad " LGBT+" El
reconocer a nuestros líderes activistas de la comunidad es de suma importancia, lo
cual es una motivación para seguir logrando nuestras metas, tomando esta plataforma
para crecer individual y profesionalmente.

Jesse Garcia

“It is an honor to be recognized in this virtual museum of people who not only bravely
came out of the closet but took to the streets to fight for our right to exist. So many
stories and journeys would have been lost and ignored by history books because of our
orientation, gender, skin color and/or where we originated. No more. Our revolution will
be televised.”

Why celebrating role models is important:
“I’m a storyteller and focus my podcast regularly on Latinx people who are making
positive change. I appreciate Honor 41’s similar mission of recognizing role models,
both young and old, who give hope to the next generation. These children need to see
one of us making it in this world. Our success provides them a roadmap on how to get
out of a hurtful place. So many grow up unloved, unsupported and mistreated for being
queer. Our journeys will help guide them.”

Cora Cervantes:

I am proud and honored to be a part of the Honor 41 project. This project is important to
me because it gave me a space to share a part of my story with my family, friends, and
community. My choice to participate in the Honor 41 project is rooted in the belief that
we must be for others what we needed at a young age. I wish that as a young Latina I
had access to space like this one.
It is important to increase our visibility so that the next generation can find examples of
resilience, acceptance, community, and pride. I hope that the collection of these stories
helps to continue to bridge the gap in understanding within the Latino community.

###

Honor 41’s name originates from an anti-gay hate crime that took place in Mexico City.
In the 1901 incident, 41 men were beaten, arrested, and eventually disappeared for
their sexual orientation. Since then, the number 41 has been used as slang in Mexico to
refer to gay men. Honor 41 reclaims the number to honor inspirational individuals in the
LGBTQ community and their tireless work toward acceptance and equality. For more
information about Honor 41, an independent 501(c)(3), online non-profit organization,
please visit: www.honor41.org.

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Voting Rights Advocates File Emergency Suit Seeking to Provide Access to Bilingual Absentee Ballot Applications in Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 13, 2020

 

Voting Rights Advocates File Emergency Suit Seeking to Provide Access to Bilingual Absentee Ballot Applications in Georgia

 

Lawsuit Filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on Behalf of Georgia Organizations

 

April 13, 2020, Atlanta, GA – Today, voting rights advocates filed an emergency lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  The plaintiffs are demanding that Gwinnett County provide bilingual absentee ballot applications to Spanish speaking voters.  They seek to remedy election officials’ recently mailing English-only applications to voters in violation of federal law.  The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (“Lawyers’ Committee”) and the Law Firm of Bryan Sells LLC brought the suit on behalf of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO); Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda (People’s Agenda); Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (Advancing Justice); New Georgia Project (NGP) and Common Cause.

 

The plaintiffs will be seeking emergency relief as soon as possible because the English-only applications can be used in the June 9 primary.  They seek to provide bilingual absentee ballot applications to Gwinnett County’s Spanish-speaking voters.  They are guaranteed the right to receive election materials in English and Spanish under Sections 203 and 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

“Sending English-only absentee ballot applications in a diverse county covered under Section 203 is yet another attempt at voter suppression, which is a direct violation of the constitutional rights,” said Kristen Clarke, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “With Georgia’s primary election looming, it is imperative that Gwinnett County and other Georgia counties comply with their obligations under the Voting Rights Act and permit Spanish-speaking voters an equal opportunity to cast their ballot and have their voice heard.”

 

The lawsuit alleges that Gwinnett County’s failure to send the Spanish language version of the absentee ballot application violates the minority language access provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Moreover, there is no Spanish language version of the form available for download from the Secretary of State’s website.  There is no Spanish language version visible on the Gwinnett County Elections’ website.  Voters only have the option of clicking on a button in the bottom right hand corner to find an inaccurate computer-generated translation of the application.  The lawsuit asks that election officials post an accurately translated version of the application on their websites.

 

“Section 203 protects access to all Spanish language dominant voters in Gwinnett County, regardless of who sends out election information,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.  “The Secretary of State’s office and Gwinnett County have a responsibility to ensure they provide equal access to all constituencies but failed to do so in this recent mailing of absentee ballot applications.  Given the change in date to the primary election, they have ample time to correct this mistake and send bilingual applications and ballots in full compliance with federal law.”

 

“As leaders scramble to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic does not cut off access to the ballot, it’s critical that they protect voters who already face barriers to voting even when we are not in the middle of a public health crisis.  No one should have to choose between democracy and their health,” aid Phi Nguyen, Litigation Director at Advancing Justice-Atlanta.

 

“Gwinnett County has been covered by these provisions of the law since 2016,” said Cindy Battles, Program Coordinator at Common Cause.  “Even during a public health emergency, our laws still apply.  Elections officials should know their obligations to provide equal access to absentee ballot applications for our upcoming elections.”

 

“The health and safety of Gwinnett County’s Spanish-speaking voters is important and worthy of protection, too,” said Atlanta attorney Bryan Sells.

 

The Secretary of State and Gwinnett County must take immediate action to remedy the violation of Sections 203 and 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act.  Otherwise, Gwinnett County’s limited English proficient Spanish speaking voters will not be able to effectively cast an absentee ballot in the upcoming election.  Voting in person is not an option for many voters, particularly the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Gwinnett County became covered under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act starting in December 2016.  Section 4(e) applies nationwide, including to the Georgia Secretary of State.

 

To learn more, visit the Lawyer’s Committee’s Voting Rights Project page at www.lawyerscommittee.org/project/voting-rights-project.

 

###

 

About Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 57th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

 

Contact: Sue Dorfman | press@lawyerscommittee.org |

 

About the Law Offices of Bryan L. Sells LLC

The Law Office of Bryan L. Sells is a boutique civil rights law firm, based in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in voting rights, election law, and redistricting.

 

About the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials

GALEO’s mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership development of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia.  GALEO strives for a better Georgia where the Latino community is engaged civically and its contributions and concerns are recognized.

 

About Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta is the first nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in Georgia and the Southeast.  We are one of five independent organizations that make up the national Asian Americans Advancing Justice.  Together with our affiliates in Chicago, DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco, we bring more than 100 years of collective experience in addressing the civil rights issues faced by Asian Americans and other vulnerable and underserved communities.

 

About the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda

The Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda (GCPA) was founded by Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.  It is a coalition of more than 30 organizations, which collectively have more than 5,000 individual members.  The mission of the GCPA is to improve the quality of governance in Georgia; to help create a more informed and active electorate; and to have responsive and accountable elected officials.  In addition to a primary focus upon voting empowerment and civic engagement, the GCPA maintains active committees on Education, Criminal Injustice and Environmental Justice.

 

About Common Cause Georgia

Common Cause Georgia is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization that works to strengthen public participation in our democracy and ensure that public officials and public institutions are accountable and responsive to citizens. Through a powerful combination of coalition building, lobbying and litigation, grassroots organizing, policy development, research, and public education, we spotlight local, state and national issues that affect every Georgian.

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NALEO Educational Fund Calls on Congress to Step in on Census 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
April 13, 2020
CONTACT:
Kevin Perez-Allen, kperezallen@naleo.org
(714) 499-4481

Marcus Silva, msilva@naleo.org
(510) 456-5444

NALEO Educational Fund Calls on Congress to Step in on Census 2020

Strong oversight by Congress is paramount to salvaging the 2020 Census

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund today released a statement from CEO Arturo Vargas on the Census Bureau’s request for a 120-day statutory relief of critical legislative deadlines amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis:

“In light of the recent developments from the Census Bureau, it has become clear that salvaging the 2020 Census will require Congress to step up its oversight role and act swiftly alongside the Bureau to protect the enumeration process moving forward.

“As the census is a constitutionally mandated decennial count, there is only so much the Bureau can do on its own to maintain the integrity of the process amid a national crisis like the one we are experiencing with COVID-19.  Congress has the authority and obligation to work with the Bureau in taking a close look at all steps required to ensure an accurate count of all residents in the United States.

“We realize the current challenges before the Bureau.  We also understand the risks our community faced of an undercount before the COVID-19 pandemic – from significant changes to Census 2020 operations, to a lack of funding and oversight from Congress during the critical planning years leading up to 2020, to what our research revealed as a lingering chilling effect from the Trump Administration’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question.  The totality of the situation we now find ourselves in demands that our government rises to the occasion with transparent, steady, and deliberate action to salvage the 2020 Census.

“As households began receiving invitations on March 12, our organization has been steadfast in promoting Latino self-response online, by phone, or by mail.  And as paper forms are arriving now, we have launched a Latino Census Week of Action in partnership with our friends at Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo, some of Broadway’s top Latino performers, and many of our Latino census partners to aggressively push self-response via mail.  A strong self-response rate reduces the number of households the Census Bureau must pursue to obtain census data during the Non-Response Follow Up (NRFU) period.

“While high self-response rates can help reduce the workload for NRFU, this operation is the most vital element for completing the census and achieving a 100 percent count of Latinos and other populations.  We will be scrutinizing the Census Bureau’s NRFU plans and operations when they resume, ensuring that they are sufficiently robust and aggressive in reaching all households that did not self-respond in the initial phase of the census.  An incomplete or inadequate NRFU operation is not an option.

“NALEO Educational Fund remains committed to our partnership with the Census Bureau during these extraordinary times.  As the Latino population continues to grow and flourish, it is essential that the census reflects this reality both for the sake of our community’s future and the overall integrity of the census.  Latinos represent the second-largest population group in the country.  An undercount of Latinos would mean a failed census.  This census must, at a minimum, match the count of our community from the 2010 Census, with better accuracy in 2020, capturing our growth and diversity correctly.  Anything less would be unacceptable.

“The Census Bureau’s request for deadline extensions is a sobering reminder of the importance of completing the census in a timely manner without sacrificing accuracy.  Time is not on our side.  The further enumeration operations take place from April 1, the less accurate and complete the count becomes.  Additionally, a 120-day statutorily-mandated deadline relief for delivering apportionment counts and redistricting data does not give license to the states to proceed with redistricting in a manner that compromises constitutional and Voting Rights Act protections for voters or public participation and input in the process.

“The Constitution places the responsibility for carrying out the decennial census squarely in the hands of Congress.  In light of this obligation, it is time for Congress to take a strong leadership and oversight role if Census 2020 is to be saved.”

Residents can self-respond to the census online at https://my2020census.gov/ or over the
phone in English by dialing 844-330-2020 or in Spanish at 844-468-2020.  Paper census forms are arriving in the mail from April 8-16, which can be returned via mail once completed.

Individuals with questions about the census can call NALEO Educational Fund’s toll-free national
census bilingual hotline at 877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3676) – Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.–
8:30 p.m. ET to get additional information.

Partners can stay up to date on tools to continue to get out the count in Latino communities by
visiting www.hagasecontar.org/resources, texting CENSUS to 97779, or by subscribing to our email list here.

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About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
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This is a time for Unity, not another round of viral hatred

March 28th, 2020

During these extraordinary times when we are all learning to live physically distant yet socially more proximate, we are seeing bias and bigotry flood our networks. Uncertainty and anxiety are too often laying the path for hatred to flourish. Our push for survival has us forgetting that community is what makes survival possible.

We need each other, now more than ever. And we need to be unified in fighting this virus.

This is not the time for horrific discrimination against our Asian-American brothers and sisters who, while experiencing the same uncertainty and anxiety that we all feel about this virus, are also being victimized by hatred. Our leaders using racist, misleading rhetoric of “Chinese Virus” and “Kungflu” open the doors for further discrimination and has led to some hate crimes against our Asian-American neighbors.  It is up to all of us to deny the place of racism and hatred, especially right now.

This is not the time for the spread of antisemitism, a trend that historically always seems to rise in times of uncertainty. Vile, antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Jewish orchestration of COVID-19 or Jewish profiteering from this global public health crisis are running wild on social media, and it is up to all of us to deny the place of antisemitism, especially right now.

This is not the time for xenophobic hatred spewed towards immigrants and the Latinx community, or “I told you so”s about travel bans and hate-building walls. We are seeing the grotesque targeting of undocumented immigrants and the institution of immigration, as people throw blame around for this global pandemic. It is up to all of us to not oppress our immigrants and those who have sought safe asylum, especially now.

This time of uncertainty and anxiety is not the time for hateful extremists to find their messages mainstreamed, or any comfort whatsoever in mainstream narratives.

This is a time for unity.

This is a time for community.

This is a time for love.

As we all figure out life in this temporary new normal, physically isolated from our loved ones, our networks and our lives, this is a time when we need each other and we need love. We need to strongly and unequivocally deny hatred into our lives, and strongly and unequivocally reach out in unity so that we can fight this virus and the hate that it has brought to light collectively, stronger together.

Love, community, and hope keep us alive. Hatred, bigotry, and fear divide and conquer us.

It’s a question of humanity. It’s a question of morality and love. And it’s a question of survival.

 

Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO (Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials)

Allison Padilla-Goodman, Vice President Southern Division, ADL (Anti-Defamation League)

 

This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The original article can be found here.

 

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