Miss one of our recent episodes? We’ve got you covered! We spoke with loads of terrific guests this month, including someone who’s on the front lines of the deported veterans issue, an expert on monitoring the effects of palm oil production and the global deforestation debacle, a local candidate who’s running for an important seat in the Great Lakes State, an activist defending the rights of immigrants who are in the Administration’s crosshairs, and a strong defender of women’s rights and protecting their reproductive health choices.
Check out the names below in bold font to see who we spoke to in September.
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Podcast: A Conversation With Milinda Ysasi, A Local Candidate On A Mission To Improve The City
With a vision to improve local community-police relations and expand infrastructure projects to provide for jobs and economic prosperity, Milinda Ysasi is a Latina candidate for 2nd Ward Commissioner in Grand Rapids, Michigan who’s determined to work hard for her city over the next few years. We were pleased to speak with Milinda as she stated her case as to why she should be elected in this critical public service role. In addition, Milinda highlighted an important point for all Michiganders living abroad: overseas voters should still care about what happens back in their home towns because environmental concerns are all of our concerns no matter where we live -- we strongly agree.
If you or any American living abroad you know votes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, please remember that this election will take place on November 5th - so get those ballots requested (in English and Spanish) and mailed back a.s.a.p. to have your voice heard! To learn more about Milinda’s campaign online, make sure to follow her on Facebook.
Podcast: On A Mission To Leave No Veteran Behind: Robert Vivar
Barajas, Héctor: U.S. Army. Sabal, Roman: U.S. Marine Corps. Bailey, Howard: U.S. Navy. What do all of these people have in common? They've all veterans who've been deported. But not just them -- it's estimated that the true number of deported veterans is in the thousands.
Michael Ramos, chair of the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus, and Michael Lee, chair of the Democrats Abroad Veterans and Military Families Caucus, co-hosted this episode with a special guest located only steps away from the U.S.-Mexico border who's been fighting on behalf of America's deported veterans. While most veterans are just as patriotic as you and I, because they don't have a birth certificate that says they were born on U.S. soil they've been under relentless attack and deported to countries most of them have no knowledge of, no fluency with the language, and no known safe-haven connections. With seemingly no compassion for U.S. veterans despite many of them having shed blood and served in combat missions, they are still taken by the federal government to the border as a final "thank you for your service" goodbye message.
Working tirelessly on repatriating our nation's veterans is Robert Vivar, co-director of the Unified U.S. Deported Veterans Resource Center based in Tijuana, México. Robert is a true activist who's been doing whatever it takes to get our nation's men and women who previously served in the military to allow them back into the United States to reunite with their families and loved ones, in addition to securing them a legal immigration status. Robert has organized petitions, communicated with members of Congress, partnered alongside other organizations, tracked the latest in court cases involving veterans and citizenship -- and still somehow manages to be a first point of contact for U.S. veterans shoved through the doors to Tijuana and provide them with needed resources and support.
The bottom line is that deporting veterans is not in the best interest of our country. Thankfully, there are several take-action initiatives Americans abroad can take such as registering to vote, voting from abroad, contacting legislators, signing petitions -- and encouraging other Americans to do the same. Have a listen to this emotional episode and remember these former service-members not just on Veterans' Day, but every day until our government makes the needed reforms to provide our veterans with the legal status, VA benefits, and care that they deserve.
Podcast: Women's Reproductive Rights In The Trump Era:
A Discussion With Pro-Choice Warrior Justine Sandoval
In this podcast episode, we spoke with Justine Sandoval, a multi-generational Coloradoan and long-time activist in the Denver community working to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all citizens. As the Community and Organizing Manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, Justine is currently focused on advocating for reproductive health rights all across the Centennial State. We were glad to hear from Justine about what her organization does, the latest legislative efforts happening in and around Colorado, the emergence of phony family planning “clinics,” how Latinas and women of color have historically been at a disadvantage by having unequal access to reproductive health care, and other items of importance.
When Justine isn’t advocating for pro-choice legislation to lawmakers, educating families on their reproductive rights, or researching the latest data on anti-choice policies, you can find her also serving as the current President for the Denver Young Democrats. Justine provided numerous reasons for all Americans to vote - including all of us eligible overseas voters. Have a listen to this episode to hear a truly fantastic discussion about women’s rights when it comes to reproductive health care.
Podcast: United We Dream's Cynthia García, A Key Resource For Educating Immigrant Communities
This week the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus caught up with United We Dream's (UWD) Deportation Defense Manager, Oklahoma-based Cynthia García. As the nation's largest immigrant youth-led organization, UWD's García spoke to us about a variety of topics we've all been hearing about in the news: the Trump Administration's view on immigrants and people of color, family separations and child detention centers, ICE raids, and more.
Sibling co-hosts Amerika García-Grewal and Michal García (no relation to the guest) added their thoughts on how the issue of youth detention centers really resonated with reflections of their childhood hometown back on the Texas-Mexico border. A DACA recipient herself, Cynthia and UWD are truly needed within immigrant communities in educating Latino families on their rights and providing those threatened by deportations with helpful resources. Have a listen!
Podcast: Greenpeace USA’s Diana Ruíz – Raising Awareness Of Palm Oil’s Link To Climate Change
According to scientists and experts, one of the causes of the extreme climate events we've been witnessing is the deforestation happening across the world. With wildfires in California, Australia, Brazil and other places, the problems stemming from climate change are only getting worse with the chopping down of forests in the Indonesia region due to the corporate greed of palm oil. If you haven't heard about this issue (or if you need a refresher), you'll enjoy listening to this podcast episode. We spoke with Diana Ruíz, an expert on this issue with Greenpeace USA, to learn more about what's been happening and how we can help.
Diana has an impressive, well-rounded education from getting her Bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont to earning her Master's at Columbia University to traveling the world seeing first-hand the negative side effects of palm oil production. She reminded us of the need to pay closer attention to this issue and the urgency of voting from abroad in U.S. elections. The global deforestation currently happening – and the ensuing climate crisis which affects all human beings – means the palm oil issue is firmly on our radar. Be sure to follow Diana on Twitter @dcrenviro) and Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) to keep track of current environmental and pro-biodiversity efforts!