Latinxs to Watch in the 2016 Election

Young Americans are not only engaged in the political process this election cycle, in large part they are helping to shape it. As Ryan Casey from Rolling Stone puts it: “What’s really remarkable about the 2016 election isn’t how disengaged young people are, but how profoundly they’re shaping it: from the outside, as activists; from the inside,…

via Latinxs to Watch: Election 2016 — Career Social Network for Latinxs | Bevisible

Why Feminist Relationships Could Benefit Men.  

A Little Contextualization:

I decided to write this post because relationships, at any stage in an individual’s life, are difficult to navigate. As a heterosexual, cis-gendered woman, I acknowledge that my sexuality and gender identification are more easily understood. However, I feel that my identification as a feminist throws up caution flags for possible suitors who may not fully understand feminism, or fear that because of it I will feel a compulsive need to emasculate them and dominate my relationships. The following is a brief explanation for why heterosexual men may benefit from including feminisms into their relationships.

(DISCLAIMER: Although this article is aimed at explaining a phenomenon as it pertains to heterosexual relationships, I, in no way aim to insinuate that exclusive, heterosexual relationships are “normal” or “more-normal” than other types of relationships)

Feminist Relationships Allow for:

1. Increased Communication

  • Implications: Feminine-presenting individuals will be empowered to ask for what they want, removing some of the guess-work their partners may do when trying to figure out how to pique the interest of their counterparts, plan dates, or even establish the boundaries and expectations those involved have of each other.

2. Renegotiation of Expectations

  • At different points in an individuals life, and due to various factors- religious, cultural, gender expression, orientation etc. people seek out different kinds of relationships. Due to the fact that patriarchal societies have expectations that delineate that relationships SHOULD be exclusive, SHOULD be heterosexual, SHOULD end in marriage (and when marriages are ideal), that their aim SHOULD be to procreate and a whole host of others, it is even more difficult to navigate the relationship-scene. Certain lifestyles, and personalities prefer alternate types of relationships (WHICH IS TOTALLY NORMAL AND OKAY), and feminist relationships allow for both partners to explicitly explain what they expect to get out of their relationships.
  • Implication: When expectations are clear, from the beginning, and are up for renegotiation between partners, the success of relationships are heightened, because expectations are clear.

3. Sexual Freedom

  • Implication: Men may benefit from denouncing the slut-virgin dichotomy by allowing their partners to feel more free in expressing their sexual desires, and more comfortable having them as sexual partners.

4. More Room for Individuality

  • Feminists acknowledge how repressive the rigid, patriarchal, expectations of masculinity can be for the men, and male-presenting individuals in their lives. On her blog Presence of Mind, Shawn Meghan Burn published “Men Need Have No Fear That Feminists Are Near“. In this article, she wrote “Aspects of traditional masculinity are not a good fit for many men. Some aspects are unhealthy (like the emphasis on emotional control, aggression, and risk-taking), and some masculine ideals (like physical size and strength, high earnings, etc.) are out of reach for many men. This creates a great deal of distress”.
  • Implications: By including feminisms into relationships, the pressure that many men have to out-earn their partners,infinitely assert their masculinity through sometimes-dangerous or impulsive actions is alleviated. In addition, men will be more free to express their emotions to their partners without fear of being seen as weak, or less-attractive. Feminist relationships will allow for men to have more room to express their humanity without the pressure of constantly reasserting their masculinity.

Feminists relationships benefit men. (Not that feminism must benefit men for them to value it, but it certainly is a plus!)

Latinas Takeover Tuesday Elections

sauers gonzalez

As the 2016 presidential campaign season ramps up, there’s a lot of talk about the “Latino vote” and the Latinas behind the 2016 presidential candidates. This relatively new focus on the Latino vote – together with the inclusion of Latinos in campaigns – is a promising sign that Latinos will be taken into account when public policy is shaped. However, Latinas are already making history as candidates in their own right. In fact, Latinas have won seats across the country, and many made history on Tuesday. Even more, many of these Latinas were advocates and champions for their communities even before they decided to run.

Take Judith García for example. At the age of 24, she serves as a bilingual counselor at Health Care for All, where she advocates for members of her community to gain access to health care services. She also volunteers in several capacities to improve housing and living conditions, sustainable waste disposal, and educational success in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where she was born and raised. García was elected to represent her community as a Chelsea City Councilor for District 5.

In Colorado, Jordan Sauers joined Judith in becoming an elected Latina Millennial. Jordan however, made history by becoming the first Latina to hold her seat. No stranger to forging a path where there isn’t yet one, she is a founding board member of Latino Young Philanthropists and ACCESSO. When interviewed by LatinasRepresent about why she chose to run, Sauers was quoted saying, “I understood if I wanted things to change, I had to do them myself.” Now that she has been elected to Northglenn’s City Council to represent Ward 1, she will be able to do just that.

Lorena González also made history when she was elected to Seattle’s City Council Position 9. As a candidate, she has built her platform around affordable housing and social inequality, grounded in her past experience with these issues – and there’s a lot of it. In fact, González has been recognized by several national organizations for her work with civil rights law. During her time as legal counsel for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, she has also helped draft legislation to overcome institutional inequality. This includes helping to introduce and pass a paid parental leave policy for city employees. There is no doubt that her commitment to upholding civil rights and fighting injustice will serve her well in her new role.

In Yakima, Washington, two Latinas have made history as well in a different way. Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union won a case against the City of Yakima because of the suppression of the Latino vote in City Council races. This case, involving the Voting Rights Act, changed the Yakima City Council districts. In the wake of this re-districting, Dulce Gutierrez and Avina Gutierrez ran and won seats on the Yakima City Council. They became the first Latinas elected to Yakima’s City Council – simultaneously. Dulce, only 26 years old, was elected to represent Yakima City Council, District 1. She was raised in Yakima and chose to return home after attending college at the University of Washington. She works at a local business, and has served as State Committeewoman for Yakima County. Avina will represent Yakima City Council, District 2. At the age of 35, Avina runs her own consulting firm, joining the growing ranks of Latina entrepreneurs. On the council, she hopes to improve Yakima’s infrastructure and strengthen neighborhood associations to improve overall public safety.

What do these women have in common? They are all a part of a movement of Latinas getting involved in politics. Moreover, most of these women are the first Latinas to serve in the positions to which they were elected. And consider this: Latinas currently hold a mere 1.7% of the total seats in state legislatures and 1.2% of the total seats in Congress – despite the fact that Latinos make up 17% of the total population. This means that there are 9 Latinas in the 114th Congress, all of which are in the House of Representatives, since the United States has yet to elect a Latina to the Senate. This is not surprising, considering the first Latina congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was first elected in 1989. But as Judith, Jordan, Lorena, Dulce, and Avina have proven, lack of precedent won’t stop Latinas from running for office.

The Perfect Night: Parents, Running Start and Women in Politics

Last night, I had the honor of going to Running Start’s Young Women to Watch Awards. Running Start is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that trains young women to run for office. I first got involved with Running Start last fall, as an intern. In that role, I was not only able to learn the inside workings of a political non-profit in DC, but I was also exposed to a plethora of passionate, young, successful women in politics. This exposure, as well as the fact that I was working at an organization whose mission is dedicated to getting more women involved in politics heavily influenced my decision to run for office. I was invited to speak at the Young Women to Watch Awards, alongside Jessica Smith and Allyson Carpenter; both of which are Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners as well. Being able to share my story, and hearing how other women reflect on their own experience getting involved in politics was incredibly powerful.

On a more personal note, both of my parents flew in from Miami, Fl to be there for me at this event. This was my first time be acknowledged at an event for being a DC elected and I was so appreciative that they were able to share that with me. I have always had unconditional love and support from my family, and I truly believe that my drive to succeed stems from my desire to give back to them. This event was a fundraiser, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. DC politicos, elected officials, donors and young professionals alike were in attendance. My family is not politically active, and we have never gone to fundraising events unless they were PTA fundraisers at the school were my mom works. As a family, we were a little out of our element. However, I knew we belonged where we were- after all, I was being honored as a woman to watch! Being able to share experiences like these with my parents, who have always unconditionally supported and loved me was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I’m so grateful both to Running Start for opening up the door to the world of politics for me and my family for making me confident enough to walk through it.

Introducing Arielle Goldberg: Rising Political Star

Today, I’d like to highlight Arielle Goldberg, a hardworking collegiate politico who is already making strides on Capitol Hill! She is currently a student at American University, in DC, where she is majoring in International Studies, with a focus in National Security and Foreign Policy. Arielle has interned for Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) for almost two years, this exposure has not only opened her up to new opportunities, but it has also been a launching pad for what is sure to be a successful career in politics. Beyond interning at Senator Portman’s office, she has served as a research intern for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which is a subset of the aforementioned committee. In such a little time, she has proved herself and has been given new roles and responsibilities. In a field that is still predominantly dominated by older men, she is an example of a young woman who has been able to break into the political scene and thrive in it. I have had the privilege of having Arielle agree to an interview about her involvement in politics, and reflections on women’s involvement in it! Check it out here:

How and when did you become involved in politics? Was there a particular event, issue etc. that got you hooked?

I didn’t truly become invested in politics until senior year of high school when I took International Relations. I wrote a thesis paper on the possibility of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians and in doing so, had the opportunity to interview prominent scholars first hand. I was intrigued with their knowledge and understanding of the political system and it motivated me to apply to American because I wanted to be in the forefront of political life. Freshman year, I applied to be an intern for Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and have had the opportunity to be a part of his team since. While I am just beginning my anticipated future in the political world, seeing the inner workings of the government has opened my eyes to a variety of career possibilities.

Does your family have a history of political involvement?

My family does not really have a history of political involvement, however they all keep very up to date on current events. Every night at dinner my parents would discuss what they had read in the news that day. I was always fascinated with these sorts of conversations and they inspired me to be as well versed in political issues as they are.

How do you bring your identities into your politics?

At this point in my life, I try to remain neutral and keep an open mind.

What aspects of politics are you most involved/concerned with (lobbying, running for office, issue areas)?

I am most interested in the behind the scenes of politics. Working for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has shed light on many issues our nation faces. Prior to working on this subcommittee, I had no idea how much work goes on behind the scenes.

Have you ever considered running for office? Which office?

I have not considered running for office, but you never know. (;

What unique barriers/advantages do you think women have when running for office?

Prior to 1920, women did not even have the right to vote. We are making great strides, but it is a constant uphill battle. Fortunately, there are powerful and talented women in the field today who are trailblazers. I do not think women have unique advantages over men when running for office and in many ways, it is still a disadvantage being a woman because men do not think women are capable. Seeing as women do not receive equal pay for equal work, and have to fight harder for everything they do in a male dominated world, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Why do you think women of color are underrepresented in politics?

Politics is a field that has historically been dominated by white men. Things are changing but there are still numerous obstacles to overcome, not just for women of color but for women in general.