A Latino Candidate to Congress Representing Our Queer Voice in Coachella Valley’s November 5th, 2012 Congressional Elections
The Latino Spokesperson for Dr. Raúl Ruíz Candidate to Congress 2012 Historically, the United States has subdued Latinas/os through force unto the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male power structure. Slowly heterosexual men of color began to obtain power, for instance, through the Black Panther Party Movement and the Chicana/o Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Yet, even in those sociopolitical movements against the aforementioned oppressor came to the rise our sisters of color who demanded that not only White women include them within their socioeconomic and political circles but also pushed for our brothers of color to create a space for them to practice and express their views. This is one of the most important ways that our hermanas came out of the shadows and challenged the traditional roles assigned to them. As a result, we have feminist scholars of color, and more home to us– we have our Chicana/Latina feminists. In the same vein, our Chicana/Latina feminists also neglected an important part of our identity– our Queer brothers and sisters. Since the 1980’s important Latina/o Queer scholars, just like the Latina feminists did, requested inclusion in Latina/o and non-Latina/o social circles. Of course, a heavy burden of traditionalistic values severely criticized and undermined our agency.
However, thanks to the work of our Queer allies and Queer community was it possible for us to build political power towards social transformation. An example of this is the opening of various Queer academic departments in universities like UCLA, UCSB, UC Berkeley, amongst others. Another example is in Lambda Legal’s Proyecto Igualdad, via its coordinator Francisco Dueñas, an organization that seeks to provide advice and assistance to one of the most neglected groups– undocumented Queer Latinas/os or any Queer Latinas/os who undergo discrimination. Nowadays, we have politicians who advocate for the Queer community. Yet, who are the Latinas/os in Congress or the Senate who are willing to speak for our politically undermined community? Well, I think we have found our candidate, and he is running for Congress in the elections this upcoming November 5th, 2012. I assure you he is one of the first out of many more we need. His name is Dr. Raúl Ruíz.
Before I met him, I had the idea that he would be an arrogant Latino physician who sought power and status. After all, he received three graduate degrees from Harvard University– the first Latino to ever accomplish such a task. I can still remember the first time I saw him and shook his hand– a firm but peaceful handshake. One would wonder that a person who graduated from UCLA with highest honors, went to Harvard University to pursue his dream of becoming a medical doctor, and obtained two Master’s degrees, the first in Public Health and the second in Public Policy, would be a conceited self-centered individual. Furthermore, one would be hesitant upon hearing that he would return to his humble community to provide affordable or even free medical assistance, or go abroad to support Haitians in its most recent natural catastrophe, or be the founder of a free mentorship for students, who like him, hold the desire to become a physician. Aside from this, what further fascinated me about him was his stance in favor of Queer rights. Not just any Queer rights, but most importantly Latina/o Queer rights.
Raúl was born in Coachella Valley, California, son of immigrant farmworkers who lived very humbly, and since then, had the dream of becoming a medical doctor. Although test taking was not his strength he was admitted to UCLA, and thanks to the financial aid of his community, he was able to afford his college tuition. Now, something that has intrigued me about Raúl is his value on keeping a promise. He often tells people “A promise is a promise.” In effect, as he was fundraising money to pay for his UCLA tuition he promised his community to comeback as a doctor willing to aid the less advantaged. Indeed, 15 years later he returned, having rejected very luxurious work offers. You might ask: What are his goals? What are his views on LGBT issues? What are his views on marriage equality? Why is he the best candidate to represent the 36th district of Coachella Valley? Keep on reading.
After President Obama’s support for gay marriage, Raúl, on Saturday, May 12th, 2012, also came out to make his stance clear. He did this via many venues, one of them being his weekly e-mail newsletter entitled “Full Equality.” There, he clearly outlines his views on LGBT rights and makes his views strongly contrast to that of his opponent, Republican Mary Bono Mack: ”There has been a lot of news this week about President Obama’s support for gay marriage, and I wanted to make sure you are clear on where I stand regarding this important issue. I respect that people have deeply held beliefs about gay marriage and that we’ll not all agree.
But in the greatest country in the world we should not sanction discrimination, and that is why I support the right of all people to marry. I support marriage equality because I am opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether based on gender, race, age, or who you love. The right to marriage should be available to everyone who wants to be in a committed loving relationship. Once again, my opponent has refused to take a stand and let her constituents know her views on gay marriage. In an interview last month, Mary Bono Mack said that her views on gay marriage were “hard to explain.” This is not something that should be hard: you’re either for full equality, including marriage, or you’re not. In America, there should be no such thing as second-class citizens. Sincerely, Raul Ruiz”
In all, dear Readers, I ask that we keep on furthering our movement to greater lengths. It is important that we, as a community with history of struggles and successes, keep on elevating our sociopolitical power to new heights. It is for this reason, whether you are far or near Coachella Valley, that I encourage you to spread the news. We need to make ourselves heard in Congress. Let us keep our Movement on the rise. La gente unida jamás será vencida.
By Michael Douglas Balderas