In some ways, Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzmán is the perfect politician to deliver a post-State of the Union response to Trump.
For starters, Guzmán is no stranger to the types of aggressions that have come out of the woodwork in Trump’s America. Before she won her seat in Virginia’s historic blue wave last year, a Republican PAC targeted the Peruvian immigrant’s campaign with racist, fear-mongering mailings. She still won by an almost 10% margin, and was one of the first Latinas elected to the Virginia General Assembly.
Guzmán will be firing back at the administration’s anti-immigrant sentiments Tuesday night — in Spanish.
In an interview, the Democrat gave Refinery29 a preview of what she’ll discuss in her eight-minute speech. Protecting Dreamers is high on her list: With the DREAM Act sitting in a cruel limbo, she said she’ll speak up for the 800,000 young people who many say are effectively being used as bargaining chips in the debate.
“Our position is to help all the Dreamers in the nation. These children have been raised here; they don’t know any other country. We should be helping them stay here,” Guzmán told Refinery29. “I think the government talks about how many things we do for Dreamers, but we don’t talk about how much they do for us.”
Guzmán got into politics early. Her father was a union organizer who often hosted meetings at the family’s home, and she was president of her class in high school, according to Univision.
When she came from Peru about 20 years ago, she worked three jobs to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment for herself and her six-year-old daughter (at the time, she was a single parent). She worked at Wendy’s after dropping her daughter off at school and then the night shift at CVS after she went to bed. On the weekends, she clocked in as a cashier in a department store.
Eventually she enrolled in community college and then pursued a B.A. online and two Master’s degrees. She was a social worker in the city of Alexandria, VA. Along the way, she got married — she and her husband now have four kids. It was around 2005, when she became an American citizen, that she started researching candidate positions and becoming more involved in politics.
I hope with my story, I can inspire more women and more immigrants to run for office.
Guzmán ran for delegate on a progressive campaign of “Medicaid for All,” early childhood education, and a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour. While she passionately backed Bernie Sanders, she also volunteered for Hillary Clinton in the general election. And while she calls for an unapologetically progressive platform, she’s ready to unite the fractured Democratic Party. “Choosing me to do this speech, I think, is a message that we are ready to be united,” she told HuffPo. “There is no more ‘progressive’ and ‘establishment.’ We want to be together.”
Not only is she striving to define the Dems in positive terms, but she’s doing so in Spanish. “We’ve never had the opportunity to define the Democratic Party in Spanish,” she told Refinery29. “I want to be sure the audience understands that we Democrats are about fighting for the working class, we want to fight for women’s rights, for immigrants’ rights. I think my election is a message that the Resistance works — we need to continue to fight and make our voices heard and vote.”
With her election, she’s proved quite a few people wrong. “Many people told me I had no chance, that Virginia wasn’t ready for a person of color who is an immigrant and English is their second language,” Guzmán said. But, as Tim Kaine once said, “Old Virginny is dead!” Now, Guzmán said, “it’s an honor” to be delivering the rebuttal in her native language — only her third public address in Spanish.
“I don’t get a lot of chances to talk about politics in Spanish,” she said. “I will make sure that I connect with as many people as I can. ‘Plain language’ will be my goal, as I want to reach out not only to first-generation immigrants but to second- and third-generation immigrants. If I use metaphors and it’s too complicated, some people may not understand.”
In a climate in which many women are angry at an administration that is setting us back by generations, Guzmán said she hopes to inspire more women to stand up and fight back.
“I hope with my story, I can inspire more women and more immigrants to run for office,” she said.
Rep. Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts is delivering the English-language Democratic response after Trump’s address.
At least nine Democratic lawmakers are now boycotting Tuesday night’s remarks, including California Rep. Maxine Waters, who said, “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?”
Virginia: @guzman4delegate insiste con proyecto de ley para estudiantes inmigrantes | El Tiempo Latino | Noticias de Washington DC – https://t.co/ZXJmHY66Cf (✍🏽 @RicardoLoDice) pic.twitter.com/Of0UmeXQGm
— El Tiempo Latino (@eltiempolatino) January 24, 2018
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Social media has dramatically revolutionized the way the world works: We think differently, act differently, and interact with others differently when we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat at our fingertips, a press of a button away from a portrait-quality photo, a location check-in, or a glimpse at a feed that tells you more than you’d ever need to know about someone you only just met.
And the just-released results of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ‘s annual survey show that being connected has also kicked off a trend of what they’re calling “selfie-awareness” — as in, altering your appearance to improve the way it looks in photographs, particularly of the self-taken sort.
Over the past year, 55% of facial plastic surgeons saw patients who cited wanting to look better in selfies as the reason why they were considering going under the knife — and that’s up 13 percentage points since 2016, which means the trend is only growing year over year. That conclusion has an ominous whiff of an upcoming episode of Black Mirror to it, but it also makes perfect sense. While many voluntary plastic-surgery decisions are surely driven by the desire to “look better,” in photos or otherwise, being satisfied with the version of yourself that you see in pictures now carries much more significance than just being immortalized in a photo album (or on your driver’s license — but that’s another story entirely).
“Consumers are only a swipe away from finding love and a new look, and this movement is only going to get stronger,” AAFPRS President William H. Truswell, M.D., said in a press release. By that logic, a good selfie could make or break your ability to match with your soulmate — and those “tiny tweaks” we all make in FaceTune just don’t hold up in person, no matter how dim the lighting is in any particular date-night restaurant.
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“I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments.”
Alessia Cara won Best New Artist at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday.
Afp Contributor / AFP / Getty Images
Christopher Polk / Getty Images
Well, the “Scars to Your Beautiful” singer decided to address the backlash head-on via Instagram on Monday.
To address the apparent backlash regarding winning something I had no control over: I didn’t log onto grammy.com and submit myself. That’s not how it works. I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artists that deserve the acknowledgment. But I was nominated and won, and I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for.
I meant everything I said about everyone deserving the same shot. There is a big issue in the industry that perpetuates the idea that an artist’s talent and hard work should take a back seat to popularity and numbers. I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday, I’m aware of that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year. But I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have.
I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck. Here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat u to it. And that’s why this means a lot to me. Despite my 183625 insecurities, I’ve been shown that what I’ve created is worth something and that people actually give a shit.
All of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but it’s the honest truth. Thanks to everyone who’s shown me kindness and support along the way. I’ll stop talking now.
Instagram / Via instagram.com
So for now, it’s safe to say this Canada native is going to tune out the criticism and focus on those cheering her on.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
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