When we introduced Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez a couple of weeks ago, this Latina was introducing herself as the one who sought to accomplish what Beto O’Rourke could not. Only a short time later, Ramirez has become much more focused on her goal: achieving true representation of Latinas in the public sphere.
At 38, this Texan activist has decided to put all her experience as a Latino vote organizer to work towards the Senate, after O’Rourke’s campaign staff convinced her that her profile was the right one at this time.
And her meetings with young voters in Texas proved exactly that.
As she told the Washington Post, when asked if they can name a Latina from Texas who represents them, young people almost immediately resort to the name “Selena.”
“She is amazing, she had a brilliant voice, but she’s been dead for over two decades,” the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate said at a recent Latina networking brunch. “That hurts that we can’t see ourselves anywhere in power.”
In fact, if it weren’t for the achievements of other Latinas like Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, Veronica Escobar in El Paso, Sylvia Garcia in Houston or even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx, Ramirez herself would not have taken her new challenge seriously.
“There are many moments when I still doubt myself, that I think maybe I’m not smart enough, maybe I’m not the right person to be doing this,” Tzintzún Ramirez said at the brunch.
“I am the right person to be doing this. If we don’t step up, then maybe no one else will. We as Latinas are the right people at the right moment in the right state to actually step up,” she added.
Now, just months before the presidential elections, the inclusion of the Latino community in the political process has finally been recognized as a key piece in determining the future of the country.
It only takes a look at the results of caucuses like the one in Nevada to realize that when Latinos put their minds to something, change is irreversible.
Thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders’ outreach campaign, the Latino turnout has been over 50% in the third primary caucus, in a state where the Hispanic community represents about 29% of the population.
Whether or not it is due to his growing support of women politicians who demonstrate Sanders commitment to diversity — whether it be Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar or Ocasio-Cortez herself — the truth is that Sanders’ campaign differs from the Democratic establishment in that it echoes the demographic change the country is experiencing.
After candidates like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, or Julián Castro abandoned the race for the nomination and were “replaced” by white male billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, the struggle of candidates like Ramirez is not only in favor of communities of color, but also against a system that refuses to give in.
According to the Post, the candidate confronted the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee precisely because of this, and after the Committee’s decision to support her opponent, M.J. Hegar.
“I let them know that in Texas, we are hungry and desperate for representation,” Tzintzún Ramirez said. “I let them know that if they did endorse [Hegar], I would hate for it to backfire on her in the general election to voters of color who had already felt underrepresented and ignored and were actually the majority of the Democratic Party in Texas.”
“Trump is going to run his campaign villainizing, targeting people that look like and have last names just like me,” she concluded. “This race is going to get heated real fast, and I think it’s going to become the race that really is reflective of who we are becoming as a country and who we’re making space for.”