Giving Voice To The Voiceless
I met Mr. Valenzuela, a Marine who fought in Vietnam, a few weeks ago at a fundraising planning event for Bernie Sanders delegates to the DNC in Philadelphia. It was there I heard Mr. Valenzuela speak about the deportation of veterans.
I was appalled that this was happening. Speaking further with Mr. Valenzuela and doing myown research, finding the problem ran quite deep, mostly a result of immigration legislation passed in the '90s. Mr. Valenzuela has had few opportunities to speak. He had attempted to bring this issue up at the caucuses, the El Paso county convention, the CD5 convention, and finally the state convention.
During my speech at the CD5 convention, I brought this issue up and declared my belief that anyone who has served this country honorably has a home in this country. As far as I am concerned, honorable service should automatically grant citizenship in this great nation. How are we supposed to tell people who have fought and shed blood for this country that they are not welcome here?
At the state convention, as I made my way to the stage preparing to walk on stage to speak, I saw Mr. Valenzuela arguing with someone about being heard, and how he'd been silenced. All he wanted was a short time to speak and bring attention to an issue that many people have no idea is happening. I watched as he was again denied, his voice refused.
I decided then and there this was unacceptable. They did not want him to speak, but his message needed to be heard. I went to grab one of my "Misty For Congress" rally signs and pulled him aside. I told him to come on stage with me holding the sign so that they would let him on stage, and that I would give him the microphone, and my time.
This was captured on video.
Even then they silenced him. Mr. Valenzuela was not finished talking. If you watch you will see some people looking back just before the lady comes up and bangs the gavel. We knew he was about to be interrupted. She said he was "Out of Order". If you listen carefully just before she comes into frame, you can hear her saying "Excuse me!"
I finished by talking about the deportation of veterans, and how deplorable I think it is, but the thought of it was crushing so I finished my thought, and left the stage.
It is my intent with this campaign, to give voice to the voiceless. I stand for what is right, even if it's not necessarily the politically smart thing to do. It's probably not the best idea politically to alienate established power players in the Democratic Party, but I don't care.
If the party does not represent the people, and give a voice to those marginalized and silenced, I WILL.