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Latino's Future Depends on Clinton's Adaptability

#NextGenLeaders attending Hillary Clinton's campaign event at Boyle Height, Los Angeles, CA. Left to right: Michael Ondrejka, Ramon Barajas III, and Brian Antezana


Latino's Future Depends on Clinton's Adaptability

Los Angeles, CA, June 5, 2016 - Hillary Clinton's campaign for U.S. President made an appearance at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, a predominantly working class, Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles. While this was an unlisted appearance, I had the opportunity to meet many local, Latino leaders while we waited for former U.S. President, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, to arrive. The hour before he appeared, many Latino, political leaders made short speeches in support of Hillary. When Bill Clinton took the stage, he gave a captivating speech extolling Hillary's virtues and experience, but his charisma could not quiet Latino's misgivings of Hillary Clinton. My experience and observations of this event gave me doubts about Latino's place in Hillary's presidency, which is disconcerting since the alternative is Trump.

Before Bill Clinton took the stage, I got to know many local leaders. Among the Latino leaders that I met in the crowd were Kevin De León's consultant and the leaders of the local American Legion post, an organization for veterans. Even Fulanito, a prominent Latino band, was in the crowd. A half hour before Bill Clinton spoke, Latino leaders such as Kevin "El Jefe" De León and Hilda Solis took to the stage and connected with the crowd. When Bill Clinton arrived to the venue, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, former Los Angeles Lakers champions and community activists, took the stage and introduced Bill Clinton. The involvement of community advocates present were impressive in such a small event.

Bill Clinton spoke charismatically, but the content of his speech and Hilary's close staff displayed the tone-deaf sensibilities of the campaign, which puts to question the Latino community's position in the upcoming presidency. Bill Clinton's speech was aimed towards appealing to the supporters of presidential candidate by merely compromising to Sanders' platform, Bernie Sanders. It is true that many Latinos support Bernie Sanders, but Clinton's speech belied their lack of understanding and care on why Latinos like Bernie Sanders. They like him because he seems to care about the unprivileged, which Latinos definitely are. Adoption of Bernie's platform in his speech felt like pandering, especially after how well the previous speakers connected with the crowd. The other part of his speech extolled the virtues of Hillary Clinton's actions after law school, but the speech did not mention how she has specifically advocated for Latinos. Bill Clinton's speech did not show that Hillary Clinton empathizes with the plight of Latinos.

This event illustrates Hillary Clinton's shortcomings. Her campaign did not take advantage of the foresight of the Latino organizers. The Latino organizers invited community leaders to enhance the venue's symbolism and to maximize Hilary's impact, but it was all for naught since Bill Clinton's speech did not resonate specifically with Latinos. The campaign refused to let Fulanito play on stage, which would have helped the campaign to connect with the audience. HIlary Clinton's campaign advertises that Hillary Clinton will break barriers and champion equality, but the staff closest to her were White and physically stood apart from the predominantly Latino crowd. The campaign made Latinos feel their marginalized status, even when other Latino, political leaders tried their best to connect the crowd to Hillary Clinton.

Latinos support Hillary Clinton out of convenience, which is an easy choice when the only other viable choice is Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate that has made racist remarks against Mexicans and has bullied them when it benefitted him. If connecting with the Latino community was important to Hillary Clinton, then she would have made sure that her campaign's staff would have some Latinos in charge. Instead, Bill Clinton's speech did not show her understanding of the specific plight of Latinos, and the composition of a mostly White staff in authority showed the disregard of Latinos. While these acts were not intentionally disrespectful, Latinos did notice the discrepancies between her message that she cares about the Latino community and the presentation of her campaign. Her inability to capitalize on an easy opportunity gave rise to a more deep-seated fear that she is not willing to do what it takes to win the presidential race, which is a critical issue when her Republican opponent is a ruthless opportunist that will clearly do anything to win. Latinos have a vested interest in seeing Hillary Clinton as the next American president since the success of her campaign decides the future of Latinos.

These images are for the #pressRelease at STUDENTdirect Publications, which discusses President Bill Clinton speaking on...

Posted by Brian Antezana on Friday, June 10, 2016

About Brian Antezana

Brian Antezana graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is now vice chair of STUDENTdirect, a platform where students, professors, and professionals communicate and collaborate internationally and chair of JBM Strategies, LLC, a conglomerate in the fields of tech, new media, nongovernmental organizations, and politics. In politics, JBM Community, Inc, a subsidiary of JBM Strategies, LLC, currently develops and consults #NextGenLeaders worldwide, who are political candidate or prospective political candidates who emphasize international collaboration and efficiency to avoid future problems and to build sustainable communities. To this end, #NextGenLeaders are establishing an international political party that adopts technology to help them meet these goals. Current #NextGenLeaders candidates are Joshua Chit Tun for U.S. Senate and Ramon Barajas III for U.S. Congress.


Brian Antezana

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Twitter: Brian Antezana (@antezanabrian) |

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  • #NextGen Delegate

    Good article and a clear narrative, you have tremendous insight and now I understand your struggle as a latino with the Hillary Campaign. Keep being involved keep investigating, the latino community needs leaders like yourself and this older generation needs to include #NextGenLeaders, one day I hope America's youth will wake up.

    - Joshua Chit Tun

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