Posts Tagged ‘women’
Supervisor Gloria Molina shared a photo of her Los Angeles City Council days as a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) today. Since Nury Martinez who was elected on Tuesday, a Latina hasn’t been elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 25 years since Molina held that spot.
As a caption to the photo Molina posted, “There hasn’t been a Latina on the L.A. City Council since I left in 1991. In honor of your recent election,Nury Martinez, this #TBT is from my first visit as Councilwoman-elect to Council chambers, where I was introduced by then-Mayor Tom Bradley. It was a very emotional time for me – and I hope you enjoy your first visit as much as I did!”
I understand the celebratory mood, but honestly, I’m more inclined to wonder, who did Molina mentor to take her place? Ummm. NO ONE. And sadly, the same can be said about Los Angeles councilmembers Janice Hahn and Jan Perry who recently were termed out of their council seats and replaced by men.
There’s a lot of people who write about women in politics, but for the women who actually get elected, who are they mentoring to ensure that other women take their seats? Just curious.
After a much anticipated special election, LAUSD School Board Member Nury Martinez has won the seat for Los Angeles City Council District 6 against former State Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez.
Martinez will now be the city’s ONLY female on the council and the first Latina to hold the position in 25 years receiving 4,917 votes (54.7%), compared with 4,093 votes (45.4%) for Montañez. Results are from city clerks website.
Despite a highly contested race with support from well established groups and political allies, sadly, it seems like it doesn’t take much to be elected to the highest paid city council in the nation these days. Only 10% of the districts voters actually voted in the largely Latino district which includes North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Panorama City, Pacoima, Lake Balboa, Arleta and Sun Valley. That’s 9,010 people who decided on behalf of the 89,118 eligible voters, which of course does not include people who are unable to vote. But that my friends, is a blog rant for another day.
For now, congratulations are in order for Martinez’ win and a heartfelt congratulations to Montañez for a well-run campaign. Takes a lot of courage for women to run for office in general. This is a campaign worth exploring further.
Martinez is also a graduate of HLI, The HOPE Leadership Institute hosted by HOPE, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, a statewide organization in California dedicated at empowering Latinas to create change through civic engagement.
Fun facts: Nury Martinez is a big fan of GLEE, which wins her slushie points in my book. At Latina History Day in Los Angeles, she confesses that if she were stranded on a deserted island and only had one cd, it would be one form Pepe Aguilar because loves his music.
As I browsed the interwebs today, I came across two incredible females that left me speechless and in awe. One is Nada al-Ahdal, an 11yr old girl from Yemen who escaped a forced marriage and the other was Irena Sendler who died at the age of 98 in 2008 and helped saved the lives of 2,500 Jews during WWII.
Simply incredible that under all circumstances, they both found HOPE in their despair. I am in awe of Irena’s heroism and selfishness and beyond inspired by the courage of Nada. SO POWERFUL!
Goes to show that age is really nothing but a number!
Read about Irena’s life and watch Nada’s passionate story below!
I went to an art show recently and got a chance to meet a newly engaged couple. She’s a writer and he was … I forgot, something amazing, I’m sure. Well, anyways, we got to talking and I congratulated them on their engagement and off course, they asked if I was there with someone special. I said no, but I cheerfully added, “But, I’m single, bilingual, ready to mingle! Heeeey!” They laughed and the guy said, “Ok, good to know! I’ll keep a lookout for you!” and I said, “Thanks!” and he asked, “What’s your type? I imagine smart, off course, men or women?” and his fiancé looked at me like it was the most normal question in the world, because you know what? It IS the most normal question in the world. BOOM.
To debate the issues and compare both the RNC and the DNC, I was joined on my show “Knowledge is Power” on Power 106 for a roundtable discussion with:
Derrick Ashong – social media correspondent for BET, @ashong
Unai Montes Irueste – contributing writer for Politic365 @unaimi
Listen to the show:
From my post on The Huffington Post
Maria Ester Villanueva Lopez is a stunning figure of grace and style as she poses for a picture as she drops her voting ballot in the automated box.At the tender age of 100, Maria Ester gently dabs the “I Voted” sticker onto her bamboo flower green and black silk blouse.
A black hanker-shift nestled around her neck lends a glimpse to the shimmering gold medallions underneath. Her lightly pink coated fingernails accentuate the olive complexion of her thin hands and fingers which are adorned by a wedding band she wears despite becoming a widow twenty years ago. Square diamond trimmed sunglasses decorate her face and eliminate some of the glaring sunlight streaming through Harrison Elementary in East Los Angeles.
“Oh well, let’s see,” she recalls, “I don’t even remember how long I have been voting! But it’s been a lot!”
She laughs and exclaims in fluid Mexican-American bilingualism, “Estoy viejita!” (I’m an old lady!)
Maria Ester was born in Upland California in 1910 when the small community was just an agricultural rural town that grew fruits and grapes.
At the age of two, the family moved to Guadalajara, Mexico where her mother widowed and later remarried.
The time frame of her young life escapes Maria Ester as she tells me her story. She was just a child when her mother fell ill and her step-father moved all of her three half brothers and two sisters to East Los Angeles. As a little girl, she buried her mother and fell to the care of a local priest who placed her at the care of nuns at La Preciosa Sangre orphanage in Guadalajara.
“Those were such trying times for me,” she says as her voice quivers.
“I felt so alone and didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Her step-father eventually returned for her and she was able to see her three brothers return from WWII in 1946, a year she clearly remembers.
“Oh they looked so handsome in their uniforms!” she exclaims, “I was so lucky, so many friends from the neighborhood were fighting, and not everyone was coming back.”
All of her siblings have past on and Maria Ester buried her last brother three years ago. Like so many years ago, she is again, all alone.
“So much of my life I have lived alone,” she shares, “I like the solitude, I am happy in this old house that my husband left for me, may he rest in peace.”
I asked her if she remembers the first time she voted and as she takes a trip down memory lane, Vaguely, she remembers the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy.
“What happened to them was a tragedy, a real tragedy,” she says.
With the easy transition of someone who has lived a long life, Maria Ester changes the mood of our conversation and gets excited again.
“Today, I was sitting there in my home, all alone, and I said to myself, ‘yo soy American Citizen, voy a votar. (I’m going to vote.)'”
Determined, she explains she got dressed, got her voter ballot and began reading and circling who she wanted to vote for. Her neighbor, Chuey, saw her through her door and offered to give her a ride to her polling place.
“He is such a nice man!” she says.
“So I got all nice and ready, me puse bonita, (I got dolled up), and I went to go vote.”
“To me,” she explains, “Voting is such a privilege. In my heart, I am Mexican because of everything I lived. But now I live here, y pues bueno, I vote here.”
“But,” she continues with a laugh, “I can’t even tell you half the things I have voted on, they are stored in my memory somewhere, with the years, pues tu sabes, it’s hard to remember.”
She pauses for a moment and teases, “but you know who I did vote for?”
“Who Doña Maria?” I ask with the intrigue of a child waiting for the best part of the story.
“That young man a few years ago… Obama.”
“And who did you vote for Governor today?!” I ask exhilarated.
“Oh pues niña, eso no se dice!”(Come on child, some things you don’t say!)
Thank you Doña Maria for reminding us that no matter how young or old, each vote matters. Thank you for being such an inspiring American.
I have been around politics long enough to know that the valor and vigor of volunteers can sometimes speak much louder than a candidates commercial.
Despite supporting a different candidate during the primary, I will be voting for Kamala Harris this Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, not because Ms. Harris has decisively swayed me, but because of the below email I received from a friend, a young Latina attorney named Alida Garcia.
In reading her crusade, I pictured her in the court room, and I understood each and every moment of her insecurities and her journey of self-discovery. If Kamala Harris has that kind of an impact on my friend, then it’s the kind of impact I want for California.
Family & Friends -
I am sure you all are exhausted and over-saturated by campaign e-mails/ads, however, I ask you from the bottom of my heart to take the time to read just one more. I won’t bother you with facts, resumes, and issues. I am asking you to support my friend, mentor and personal hero Kamala D. Harris for CA Attorney General–and for now, I simply and selfishly ask for you to read why this election matters to me.
The first day I staffed Kamala was December 1st, 2008 – yes, 23 long months ago, and just 3 short weeks after our country miraculously elected President Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Many of you know that the Obama campaign was an incredibly transformative experience in my life. I view my 2 years with Kamala as an extension of that work. She was, afterall, the first elected official in California to endorse his candidacy before anyone knew who he was.
My journey with Kamala began far before first meeting her. Her niece, Meena, and I attended Stanford together & subsequently worked on the Obama campaign together. I view Meena as a younger sister of mine & one of my best friends. Whether it be editing her law school entrance essays or picking her up from the airport, Meena is my family, & as such, so have I treated Kamala.
Over the last 2 years I have watched an amazing woman prove herself over and over again on the campaign trail, capturing audiences of all ages, races, geography and political affiliation. This was a small campaign ran by just a handful of people statewide, and so I dedicated my volunteerism to as close as a staff level as one could be without being a full time employee. I’ve been to so many events volunteering that I am most positive that I can repeat her stump speech verbatim to you by memory, “I am one of two daughters of parents who met as graduate students while at the University of California – Berkeley in the 1960s….” (it begins.)
Interestingly enough, my journey with Kamala also began at the same time as my journey as a young attorney. Lucky for me, in a profession where women–particularly woman of color–are few and far between – I had the opportunity to regularly watch such a strong confident compassionate, and when necessary, intimidating woman attorney of color execute her job with grace, dignity and the integrity that is required of a law enforcement officer who regularly deals with the most heinous of human acts imaginable in her profession as District Attorney of San Francisco.
She was so good and natural at what she does, that I regularly forgot that we were trying to accomplish something that has never been done before in CA – elect a woman to be the top law enforcement officer of the State of California and the first African-American of any gender to hold any constitutional office in our state.
Watching Kamala own her candidacy so confidently, despite trying to do something that was unheard of has helped me shatter my own glass ceilings, time and time again. As an example, and one of many, I remember the first time I ever had to argue a substantive motion in front of a judge. I was so scared, like literally shaking and thought I’d have a heart attack. I was in a room of over 50 middle-aged white men who had all practiced for decades and all I could think about was not fainting, breathing slowly, and hopefully speaking English. And then I remembered a speech I saw Kamala give young girls, where she mentioned that she oftentimes had to tell her own young woman attorneys at her D.A.’s office to just walk in the room and pretend they were her to kill their nerves. So I took a deep breath, channeled my inner Kamala, and somehow my heart wasn’t beating outside of my chest anymore, and I was able to argue that motion (and give that older man a run for his money ;) ) – lesson learned, I belonged in that room and I owned it.
Beyond my own life being affected, I have spent two years organizing her young supporters and through that experience I have watched tons of young people grow and develop into community leaders and organizers who will forever be trying to change our state for the better because of the transformative experience they have received volunteering for her. Good candidates with good hearts end up being supported by other good people with good hearts, and through this experience I have made the best friends imaginable.
I write this all to say – that campaigns are more than the negative ads you see every 2 seconds on TV. This campaign involved the most amazing people I know working through their blood sweat and tears, all-nighters, donating their last dollars and pushing just a little harder to elect a leader who will, in fact, change and protect our state.
And we’re almost there.
We are essentially tied. Just last week Karl Rove (yes the Karl Rove) invested $1.3 million dollars in attack ads against us funded by: Oil, Tobacco, and Health Insurance. That alone should tell you why electing Kamala matters so much: she’ll protect us and is beholden to no special interest like her opponent Steve Cooley, who refuses to take a stance on Prop 23 – which is funded by Texas oil companies wanting easier laws to pollute our air. You can get a glimpse of this issue HERE.
We need your vote to push ahead and win. And, we need at least 10 of your friends to vote for Kamala. We need you to spread the word this weekend that Tuesday, November 2, 2010 is the finish line in this long race. Together, we can win this race. Together, we can elect her to be the next Attorney General for the State of California.
Please vote for my friend, mentor and personal hero, Kamala Harris, for California Attorney General. Our state deserves her.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about Kamala. And even more happy to answer questions about where you can help me help her get out the vote over the next 4 days.
Yes We Can