Secretary Julian Castro has dropped out of the Democratic primary for president. I’m deeply saddened by this. It feels crucial now for Latinx people to be seen as leaders in this country. It is a matter of life and death for many that people see us as human beings, leaders, communicators, that people open themselves to the concept that they can be led by us and inspired by us.
Castro’s been the only candidate who kept his eye on immigration throughout the campaign. He had more actual, specific policy on the table than any candidate except Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He pointed out the overlooked brunt of risk that trans people of color face in multiple debates. He correctly called former V.P. Joe Biden out on the vast difference between an opt-in and opt-out health care plan. He was able to communicate how infrastructure matters to people’s daily lives. He’s the only candidate I’ve seen engage the incredibly risky position of rural hospitals and health care services.
I hope Latinx children who face so much in this country today have seen that they can be leaders, that they belong on that stage. I hope they saw that they should call out a lie when it’s told to them, that they should walk into any situation knowing that they’re human, and defying anyone who tries to gaslight or diminish them as if they’re not. I hope they see a strength that they can build upon as a foundation, that the adults in their lives – Latinx and otherwise – can help them build upon.
This will be posed as a failure because that is what the media likes to pose us as, that’s the narrative they sell about us – never mind that in the end, more than 25 other candidates will have dropped out of the race or been beaten.
Don’t buy what they sell for a second. Build on this. We live in a world where we get one try for their thousands of opportunities, where they define us with one failure and excuse their thousands of failures as false starts and bad luck. Don’t feed into that, don’t reinforce it, don’t believe that we can’t overcome that. It is neither destined nor the way of things; it is faulty and flawed.
Use Julian Castro’s run to lift the Latinx people in your lives, to acknowledge and witness that among us are leaders, too. Among us are leaders and teachers and inventors and doctors and artists and in spite of colonization and genocide and wars and lynchings and forced sterilization and repatriation, we still belong on that stage with everyone else. Know that.
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The featured image comes from an NBC News article here.