Not gonna lie, I hadn’t even heard of him until I began listening to Democracy Now this morning. But I bought his book this afternoon. Representative Luis Gutierrez is of Puerto Rican descent, and has proven himself a vocal supporter of social justice throughout his time in politics.
He has now been arrested two times, first in 2000, “protesting the U.S. military for using the inhabited Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a bombing range.” In his most recent act of civil disobedience he was accompanied by 7 other House members and over 150 people pushing their lawmakers to pass fair and comprehensive immigration reform.
In this Democracy Now interview, Representative Gutierrez discusses the fact that even though Obama proclaimed immigration to be one of his “signature issues” he has made very little effort at all to truly help the immigrant community. Instead, he repeats that real legislative changes for immigrants are outside of his power. To this, Representative Gutierrez brought up the president’s passage of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):
“But we should remember that for a year and a half, the president of the United States, in every venue that he could—that he created venues. He created one in El Paso, another one in Florida, in which he specifically said, “I cannot take any action.” In the end, he took the action he said he did not have the ability to carry out. And we had a triumph, because of the consistent and persistent effort of our community.”
Take a moment to check out the whole interview. It certainly made my morning to know that there are at least some legislators out there who share my politics.
P.S. While you’re listening, note how many times he mentions his wife, as if she were a crucial participant in getting him where he is today. I love it when powerful people acknowledge the help and support that they needed and got in order to succeed.
Juliana Britto Schwartz probably dresses up like Frida Kahlo a little too often.