Meet the New Class of Latinx Political Leadership

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The next wave of Latinx politicos in Philly is in the wings, laying the groundwork for the future.

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times for wonkish Latinx folks like me.

With the Democratic National Convention just two weeks away, there’s a certain amount of exhilaration at the prospect of the Party’s P-A-R-T-Y in Philly.

But it’s also depressing. No, I’m not talking possible SEPTA nightmares (though there is that). It’s just that, as a Latina, I’m unlikely to be seeing more than a handful of mi gente among the ranks of the party’s top pols.

The sad reality is that I’d have a better chance of that at the Republican National Convention. Chew on that for a while (especially given the GOP’s not-so-friendly-to-Latinxs policies). From rising star governors Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval to former presidential contenders Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the GOP has cultivated a deeper Latinx bench — where top pols are concerned — than the Dems.

Oh, sure, cabinet members Thomas Perez and Julian Castro and Congressman Xavier Becerra have been named as potential VP picks for Hillary Clinton, but nobody — not even representation-starved Latinxs — are betting that any of them will actually be selected for the number two post.

[But a] new Latinx political class is still in the wings, laying the groundwork for the future from within the party, behind the scenes, and at the grassroots.

Read the rest of this column at Philly Mag.

At Philly Mag: Want to Save a Historic Black Church in Philadelphia? You Have Until June 6th

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St. Peter Claver is part of the same “sacred ground” as other African American mother churches — Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Wesley AME Zion Church — also located in South Philadelphia.

In 1986, Cardinal John Krol suppressed it. In 2014, it was formally closed. And now, in 2016, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is petitioning to remove the final bar to its sale — a deed restriction specifying that the real estate at 1212-1222 Lombard Street is held “in trust” for Black Catholics in Philadelphia — unless enough written objections to the petition are received by the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court Division of Philadelphia before a hearing to be held Monday, June 6, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at Court Room 416 in City Hall.

The property in question is St. Peter Claver, the mother church for Black Catholics in the city since 1892, and a site of real symbolic and historical significance for more than just African Americans.

Read the rest of the column here.

My latest column at The Guardian US: ‘Donald Trump’s kryptonite: millions of active – and furious – Latino voters’

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Barely a day goes by when Donald Trump offers Latino something new to get riled up about. In a “Cinco de Mayo” tweet on Thursday, for example, he declared “I love Hispanics!” in the caption to a selfie that showed him digging into a “taco bowl” at his desk.

“This can’t be serious,” said my Mexican cousin. “No words,” wrote a Cuban colleague. “No” and “disgusting” were just some of the other comments my Latino friends – both Democratic and Republican – posted after I uploaded a screen shot of the tweet to my Facebook page.

The presidential candidate started his campaign by saying that Mexicans are rapists and criminals. […]

[But now] it’s apparently dawned on him that he might need some of the approximately 27.3 million Latino eligible voters to cast a ballot for him if he actually wants to win.

Read the rest of the column here.

And so … I leave AL DÍA News

After four years as the managing editor of AL DÍA, I’ve decided to move on.

One of the best aspects of the job has been covering the amazing Latinx and PoC communities locally and nationally. The wonderful people I’ve met during my years here, coworkers, sources, colleagues, friends and community have made all of it worthwhile.

I, of course, plan to continue to write, edit, comment, and tell our Philadelphia stories — in English and Spanish — as enthusiastically and expansively as a freelancer as I have under the aegis of AL DÍA.

Let’s do coffee and talk about the stories that need writing in our city and nation!

Read Philly Mag’s article about my departure here.

Two of my recent op-eds

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Coffee and fear: An American story

One of the workers at the coffee shop I stop at every morning looks up at me, worry etched on her features.

“What have you heard about the redadas?” she asks.

I’ve just written an editorial about the DHS-ICE raids that, since Jan. 2, have targeted Central American immigrant families with final deportation orders.

“121 people have been apprehended so far,” I tell her. “In Georgia, Texas and North Carolina….”

Elisa (*) shakes her head. “But what have you heard about ICE raids yesterday on 18th and Pine? Or 15th and Spruce?” she insists.

Center City. Not far from where we’re having the conversation.

I can’t answer, I have no information, but it strikes me that I’ve completely misread the expression on her face. It isn’t anything as tame as worry.

It’s terror.

Read the rest here.

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Rubio’s story is the American dream. His policies are an immigrant’s nightmare

The more cynical among us might poke fun at, and poke holes into, the idea of “the American Dream” in this era of unprecedented inequality. But the majority of Latino millennials still believe in it, according to a 2014 study contrasting Latino millennials to their non-Latino counterparts.

And much as it pains me to say it, Marco Rubio tells the American Dream – child of immigrants; working class childhood; scholarship and community college; law school; marriage and children; an imperfect but aspirational career – story better than any other presidential hopeful currently in contention.

Read more here.

A writing life: The best of what I’ve published in 2015

From fiction to long-form journalism to commentary, here are my personal favorites of the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written this year:

Fiction

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The Ways of Walls and Words was published at Tor.com April 15, 2015, and has been selected for a Best of 2015 anthology. More on that as information becomes available.

 

Long-form journalism

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Why do I cast no shadow? Reaction and non-reaction to the police shootings of Latinos — AL DÍA News, May 27, 2015
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Across the Americas, indigenous peoples protest fossil fuel and mining incursions on native lands — AL DÍA News, May 31, 2015
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Devotion in masa The tamaleras of South Philly gear up for a savory sacramental season — AL DÍA News, Dec. 8, 2015
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Nelson Díaz: Not for sale Judge Nelson Díaz has long been engaged in defending civil rights in the public square. Most recently he made history as the first Latino candidate on the ballot of Philadelphia’s Democratic Mayoral primary — AL DÍA News, July 9, 2015
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For African Americans and Latinos in Philly, an unprecedented collaboration Using music and culture to challenge civic disenfranchisement and foster political participation in both communities — AL DÍA News, Oct. 27, 2015

 

Op-ed & commentary

at the Guardian

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Dec. 7, 2015 — Read it here

at Tor.com

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Feb. 2, 2015 — Read it here

at Following the Lede

 Revolutionaries in box braids, stilettos & layers of grunge: Older women in AHSCoven and the Walking Dead

at AL DÍA News

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Dec. 26, 2015 — Read it here
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Nov. 28, 2015 — Read it here
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March 24, 2015 — Read it here

 

My op-ed at The Guardian: Shooting situations are traumatic to children – even when they are just drills

My opinion column appeared yesterday at the Guardian:

After Sandy Hook, students across America have seen schools introduce active shooter simulations involving gunfire, masked men running down school halls and “victims”. These drills are realistic, and in some cases, downright terrifying. Arguments that support them hinge on the belief that the verisimilitude predicts actual behavior and increases the chance of survivability in a real event. That may well be true, but it ignores the fact that active shooter drills themselves can leave scars.

Read the full op-ed here.