The Deciding Decade: Eva Longoria on engaging Latinos to vote and fighting for farmworkers’ rights

Pete Buttigieg: Hi, I’m Pete Buttigieg and this is The Deciding Decade.

From fully tackling systemic racism, to leveling the playing field for small business owners of color, to opening up educational opportunities for minority students. It has never been more important for us to break down systemic and institutional barriers and deliver true equity and roads to prosperity for communities of color. From the beginning the Latino community has been a vital part of America’s story and now represents the fastest growing demographic group in America. Leaders across the nation in politics, advocacy and entertainment are working to expand opportunity and build empowerment for Latinos so that everyone has a chance to benefit from and fully contribute to American life.

With a prolific career dating back to the early 2000s, Eva Longoria has long been considered one of Hollywood’s leading actresses and has produced TV shows and important documentaries, such as 2014 Food Chains, as well as directing episodes of some of our favorite shows such as Black-ish and Jane the Virgin. On top of all of that, Eva is a leader in her philanthropic work and social and political activism. Some of the highlights from work she has done include founding the Eva Longoria Foundation, which helps Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through culturally relevant education and entrepreneurship programs.

Co-founding groups like the Latino Victory Project, a progressive political action committee aimed at increasing the number of Latino candidates in local state and national elections. And Momento Latino, a coalition of 130 organizations focused on health, education, economy and politics, and helping Latinos disproportionately affected by the pandemic. She has been campaigning for candidates and causes that are moving the country and the world forward. Eva, it’s an honor to be joined by you.

Eva Longoria: Nice to be with you. I feel I should be interviewing you. You are the fascinating one. I am just a boring old actress.

Pete Buttigieg: Hardly. You’ve got a fascinating story. I’m looking forward to digging into it right now. In fact let’s start there. Let’s start all the way at the beginning. Literally the beginning for you. You were born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1975, but I saw that your family had been in the-

Eva Longoria: Oh God, Pete! You don’t have to say the year, Pete! You don’t have to say the year! [laughs] No. Yes, yes. It’s relevant, it’s definitely relevant when I was born because I feel 1975 so many things happened.

Pete Buttigieg: But I was reading that your family was in that area since the 1600s. Do I have that right?

Eva Longoria: Yeah. We never crossed the border. The border crossed us.

Pete Buttigieg: Wow.

Eva Longoria: I, my whole life, have identified as Mexican American and my dad would always say, “Well, we’re technically Spanish.” And I was like, “No, dad we’re Mexican, everybody knows that.” And he’s like, “No, no we’re Spanish.” And then I was on a show [Faces of America] by Dr. Henry Louis Gates and it’s on PBS. And they do your lineage and your genealogy. So they took my DNA, my parents’ DNA, my fathers and my mothers. And then they can pinpoint exactly your genetic makeup. And it turned out we were still 85% Spanish blood, which is crazy. That rocked my world because I was like, “Wait, we were the colonizers?! Oh my God, we were the bad guys.” [laughs] And we had obviously some indigenous blood that was identified Mayan.

It was a fascinating thing to be a part of what Dr. Gates said on the show, which really struck me. He goes, “You’re the most American person I’ve ever had on the show because you’re the furthest back from before the Mayflower and before all of that.” He said, “Before Christopher Columbus, before all of it.” He said, “Your family was already here.” And they found the exact ancestor, which is my 13th great-grandfather, who was 11 years old when he left Spain to go to the new world. And they had the letter where he wrote to the King and he said, “I would like to join my uncle in the new Spain.”

And they granted his permission. He got on a ship at 11 years old, landed in around Veracruz area. Then, somehow the Longorias made their way north to what is current day Monterrey, the Valley, South Texas, really. And the King gave out land grants and the Longorias were one of the people that got some land grants. And it was, I think, six Longorias. So my immediate direct lineage was one of those plots, but all the plots next to us were also Longorias as well. Longoria is like Smith in Texas.

Pete Buttigieg: That’s like how Buttigieg is in Malta by the way. Nowhere else, but definitely in Malta.

Eva Longoria: Definitely Malta, okay. Yeah, but that was down to the 1603 and that same piece of land, that land grant was, we still have today. We still are on the same ranch.

Pete Buttigieg: How do you think about a heritage that includes colonizers and the colonized land that has been contested, U.S. has been Mexico? How does that shape your concept of what it is to be American?

Eva Longoria: I have to say growing up as a Texan, we were raised as being Texans first. There’s such a pride of being from Texas and that Texans have and hold. But growing up you don’t really get the colonized history and you don’t get obviously the history of the underdog. And so my family was under five different flags without ever moving, from New Spain to Mexico, to France, to the Republic of Texas, to the United States. That was many exchanges of the land. And so when I went to college, obviously you get critical thinking classes and it’s not the history you grew up learning.

And so I wish that there was more of that history in Texas history. And then I got my master’s in Chicano Studies and that really blew my mind wide open as far as the Battle of the Alamo. Just that history and what it meant at the time. And the Mexican American war and the settlers, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin and really going back. It’s shaped me in the sense of wow, people don’t really know the history. And especially if you look at what’s happening today and how it’s relevant is the vilification of Latinos in the United States and the racist vitriol directed at anybody who’s of Hispanic descent. And the hashtag #gohome. When you go, “I am home.” I’ve been home. There’s nowhere to go back to. And so that’s what’s shaped my more recent views of really trying to get this revisionist history out there so people know the real truth about our roots.

Pete Buttigieg: You mentioned people saying “go home.” And this is something that President Trump has done many times, including telling women of color in the United States Congress, U.S. citizens, all of them, most of them born in the U.S., “go home.” And I wonder what did you feel like when you heard that and did that hit you too in a way?

Eva Longoria: Oh, gosh, of course. First of all, let’s just set aside the misogyny in that. And then second of all, the ignorance in that, especially coming from a world leader. Words matter. And so everything stings whenever people are uneducated about the history of immigration in our country. And that’s why I went to get my masters was because immigration was such a hot topic then. It’s been on the administration’s agenda for many presidents, not just recent ones. But I was like, “Wait what is the history of our immigration? And why is this this way?” And when you really look deep into the history of it, then you have a better understanding of it. You become literate and you can speak on it. And it’s amazing how uneducated this outgoing administration has been.

Pete Buttigieg: One of the things that really strikes me is that the last time we had real immigration reform in the country, it was in the mid-1980s. You and I were both children. Ronald Reagan was president. It was understood as a bipartisan achievement. And it feels like something that Americans of both parties believe we ought to do. It commands a strong majority of support among the American people, but can never get an adequate majority in the American Congress. Why do you think that is?

Eva Longoria: Well, because people don’t understand that comprehensive immigration reform is very difficult. There’s not many tenants to it. One tenant is a guest worker program. Another tenant is a pathway to citizenship which is also the most contested of any immigration policy. Which is, should people have a pathway to citizenship? Should there be a penalty? Should they be attached? All of that stuff. If you take that out, because I will tell you most of these migrant workers, not that they don’t care to be citizens, they want to be legal.

They want to be able to walk in the streets, go to work, go back to Mexico, come back and work, go back. As the border should be porous, that’s what I feel we should focus on, is understanding that agriculture is totally dependent on migrant labor, huge agriculture is still a huge part of our economy. And so if you separate it out a little bit and really look at the problems, you look at the visa programs and you see low-skilled workers are only allotted a certain amount of visas, but yet doctors and high-tech people, those visas are different. Understanding all of those layers.

And when people say get in line, just like everybody else that came to this country, you have to understand, there is no line. And then you pile on top of that political asylum. The things that are happening in Central America, the instability, that by the way, was caused by the United States. That instability and why people are fleeing these horrific situations. It’s not a red or blue decision. It’s a life and death decision.

Pete Buttigieg: I want to come back to your own journey. You won in the 1990s, the Miss Corpus Christi beauty pageant. This brings an opportunity to compete in Los Angeles and a talent show. You go there and Los Angeles winds up being home in many ways. Did you expect that you were going to stay in and what was it like to go from Corpus Christi to LA?

Eva Longoria: Oh my gosh. Well, first of all I haven’t really been outside of Texas. And I entered this beauty pageant because it was a scholarship pageant. And I needed to finish my last year of college. And I was like, “Okay, I’ll enter that scholarship pageant,” hoping I would get fourth place by the way, because fourth place was books and tuition. And all I needed was one more year of tuition. And I ended up winning the whole thing, which paid for my last year of college and in the prize package was a trip to Los Angeles. So I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in education.

And literally the next week, I was using it as like vacation. And I came to LA and I don’t know what came over me but I fell in love. The minute I landed, I was like, “Oh my gosh, look at these palm trees.” And then I competed in this acting competition and I had all of these callbacks and agents and managers wanting to sign me. And I said, what does signing mean? I didn’t know. And so I said, “Mom, I think I’m going to be an actress.” Just like that, just one day. I didn’t even know what the word meant. And she said, “Okay.” But my parents were happy because I had already, they were like, “You have your degree.” They knew I could get a job anywhere. And I said, Oh yeah, I’m going to go get a job. That’s what I’m going to do. And so that’s what I did. I was here maybe three days. And then I went to a temp agency in Los Angeles because I was like, “I can type, I know Word, I know Excel.”

And the temp agency hired me. They said, “Why don’t you work here?” And I said, “Oh, okay, I don’t know what it is here.” And they said, “Well we find jobs for people and it’s like matchmaking for jobs.” And I said, “Okay.” And I worked there. Literally within a week I had a job and I would audition in between all of this and just figured it out, but I don’t know what got into me because I didn’t grow up wanting to be an actress. I didn’t even know what that meant.

Celebrity culture wasn’t a thing, there wasn’t magazines and obviously websites and social media. I think that the closest thing we had to a tabloid was the National Enquirer, which was like “Aliens landed!” I don’t know what it was, but I just came here and I figured it out and I took classes and just approached it, strategically like, “Well, let me learn about this.”

Pete Buttigieg: But then you did something unexpected. You get not just a job, but a lot of jobs. You have an incredible career. Desperate Housewives is a huge hit. And then you decide to go to school and get a master’s degree in Chicano Studies. So you’re well known, y ou’re wildly successful. You’ve got more than enough going on. What tugs you back to getting a master’s degree?

Eva Longoria: In my family I’m the underachiever. If you can believe that.

Pete Buttigieg: I’m not sure I can.

Eva Longoria: I come from a family of educators. My mom’s a teacher, my sister’s a teacher, my aunts are teachers and so college was a big thing. My mom just kept bugging me, she’s like, “All your sisters have masters and you don’t.” And I’m like, “Mom, I’m on the number one show in the world, not in the United States, in the world. And she was like, “Uh huh, uh huh, and when are you going to get your masters?” It was a big deal in my family. And then at the time, again, like I said, immigration was a big thing happening in the moment. And I’ve had the privilege of having an amazing mentor in Dolores Huerta.

And so that’s why I’ve been a farmworker advocate for most of my adult life is because of Dolores. And she would tell me things. And I said, “But why is that? Why don’t farmworkers have water in the fields?” And she’d explained, “Well there’s a policy that a lot of the gains we made in the civil rights movements have been dismantled now.” And “Why don’t farmworkers have shade? Why can’t they take breaks in the fields?” And she would say, “Well, because the governor…” And she would explain policy to me then and why things were the way they were.

She said, “You should read this book. It’s a really amazing book, it’s called Occupied America by Dr. Acuña. And he’s the godfather of Chicano Studies in the United States. He’s actually the architect of Mexican American studies, he’s brilliant. And the book rocked my mind. And I said, I want to write this author. I wonder if he’d have a conversation with me. And I sat and talked with him, maybe four hours. He was just a remarkable professor. And he said, you should take my class. And I said, what’s your class? And he said, it’s Chicano 101. And for people don’t know what Chicano is Chicano, it was a politicized term in the civil rights movement about, it was also putting the census one year, trying to aggregate all Latinos under an umbrella. And it was before the word Latino. We’re not a monolithic group. Identity is a big thing for us. But it really became a politicized term. It meant something more, but it’s the history of Mexican Americans in this country.

And so it’s Chicano 101. And I took it. I took that class and I was like, “Wow.” And it was so comprehensive. Like I was telling you, from pre-Colombian civilization Olmec, Toltec, Aztec to NAFTA to present day. That was like a huge spectrum of our history. And so after you take that class, you can go, “Oh, I’d really like to know more about this. I’d really like to know more about that.” And so I took another class and another class, and eventually they said, “You have to enroll, you’ve got to get your masters. You’ve got to get in the program.” And I tried to secretly do it. Because I didn’t want the press finding out. Because then I thought, “Oh God, if they find out that I’m going to have to finish.”

And so of course they did. And I was like, “Oh my God, why couldn’t this have been secret?” But honestly I was so thirsty for knowledge about any topic that was immigration adjacent and that touched upon it. And, as you know, most world issues just bump up against each other.

Pete Buttigieg: Education has been so important for you. It’s been so important for your family and then your foundation means that you’ve done a lot of work on issues related to education for the Latino community in the U.S. What conclusions have you drawn and what are the areas you think we’re going to need to pay the most attention to make things better in education in the next decade?

Eva Longoria: Yeah, well, because of my masters, my thesis was on Latinas in STEM fields and I used my master’s thesis as the basis for the foundation. All the research I did, I wanted to know what made certain Latinas successful. And so I interviewed 20 Latinas in STEM fields: an engineered Exxon, a professor at MIT, a bio researcher at a pharmaceutical company. And I said, I wanted to know the common denominator of success, not the barriers. There are so many studies that tell us the barriers. We know the barriers.

I don’t know why were those women successful, those Latinas? And is there something we can replicate? And so in the study, we found that they all had at least one engaged parent in their education. One parent that was pushing and pushing and advocating and putting them in a higher class and going to the school and saying, Why isn’t my daughter in math club? Why isn’t she on this higher track? Why can’t my daughter take AP classes that they’re taking?” And so that was the number one thing in our finding was having an engaged parent that said the word “college, college, college, college” in the household.

The second one was afterschool activities. Anything that kept them at the school longer. Because it didn’t even have to be academic. It could have been band. It could have been cheerleading. Anything that just had them engaged in the school community. And all of them were involved in something. Track or a math club or robotics or whatever. And so with the Eva Longoria Foundation, we were like, “Okay, we know parental engagement works and we know afterschool programs work.”

So we set up all of our programs to do that. And we have this six-week parental engagement program that parents take. It’s not even the kid, it’s the parents take it and they learn how to advocate for their kid. They learn how to navigate the school system. So many of our parents, regardless of language, were so intimidated by the school. They didn’t know what transcript meant. They didn’t know a high track versus a low track. They didn’t know they could go to the school and ask, Can you please, put my daughter in a higher class?” So many of the students were straight A students but on a low track. And then they realize when they get to high school, they’re not prepared for college because they’ve been on a lower track.

And so once the parents finished and completed the course, we saw a 90% increase in graduation, a 90%. So we go, “Wow!” Once their parents got involved, it was game over. Game over. These kids were going to be successful. And not only that, those parents became multipliers. Those parents took that information back into their communities and to their neighbors and to their sisters. And they said, “You know what you should do? You should go ask for their transcript because you’ve got to look at their transcript.” And they were so proud of everything they’d learned and how to advocate for their child, and then to take that back into the communities. And so we’ve helped over 29,000 Latinas.

Pete Buttigieg: Let me connect a thread from education to what you were saying about your interest in and involvement in advocacy for farmworkers. When you’re encountering a student, especially maybe a young Latina STEM student, who maybe hasn’t heard about the heritage and the tradition of organizing farmworkers, doesn’t know who Dolores Huerta is, and might not know about how that leads to where we are today. What are the most important things that you think a new generation should know? And how would you explain it?

Eva Longoria: Yeah. It’s a beautiful history. And also when you think about Dolores Huerta, you think about our history too. You know, people know Cesar Chavez but what they don’t know more so it was Dolores Huerta. Even a lot of these movements that have happened have always been in a patriarchal way. And so I would love for them to know more about the number of female organizers that work behind the scenes. If you see just this past election, it was women of color who showed up and women of color who organized. And so I think we have a lot of lessons to learn from historically how women have shown up and been involved in activism.

And particularly farmworkers. It’s my desire. People will ask me, because I didn’t grow up as a farmworker… People ask me what my connection is and why do I advocate for them. And I said, “Because I eat.” We should all advocate for them. During this global pandemic, every time you go to the supermarket, there’s food there and there’s food there because these farmworkers are still working. And the pandemic has deemed farmworkers essential, and us in the advocacy world group [say] “They’ve always been essential!” We didn’t need a global pandemic to tell us they’re essential to the food supply and the economy and the economic engine of the United States. They should always be applauded and lifted and supported and given livable wages and livable living quarters. Instead of vilified and living in fear of being deported or being arrested or being targeted. And so my wish is that we all could appreciate the work that they do.

Pete Buttigieg: There’s something about workers being treated as essential and disposable at the same time depending on the purpose of the moment. What do you think is most important right now, especially in the context of the pandemic to make sure that farmworkers and other essential workers get the support that they need?

Eva Longoria: There’s so many great organizations that are doing amazing work, but the number one thing for farmworkers is many of them are going to work without PPE. There’s not enough. They don’t have the money for it and their bosses don’t provide it. Their living quarters often don’t have clean running water. They don’t have soap. They don’t. So the washing of the hands, which is required right now. Something as simple, as basic as that. And then the poverty wages, farmworkers still aren’t protected under labor laws. Children are in the fields and there’s no minimum wage. And so a lot of those laws that apply to them are archaic and barbaric. And you see kids as young as 12 carrying 50-pound baskets of tomatoes. And then you see that exact family who pick those tomatoes, go to the supermarket and can’t afford to buy that tomato. That’s a tragedy.

Pete Buttigieg: It strikes me that sometimes the way we think as citizens is different than the way we think as consumers. I think there are so many of us who, if we were voting on a referendum that said “Should there be higher wages for farmworkers?” We would vote Yes. Say “Yes, of course.” But then when you’re at the supermarket and you pick out this avocado instead of that one because it’s 5 cents cheaper, you don’t realize that’s a vote on the exact same issue. It just hasn’t been presented to you as a referendum. It’s been presented to you as a food item. And yet that choice you make in the marketplace is as powerful, maybe has even more implications than the choice you would make if somebody actually came up and said, with a clipboard, “What do you think should happen to farmworkers in this country?” But that’s where the information becomes so important, right?

Eva Longoria: So important. And it’s such a good point that you said that because if you do think of the supermarket and people, this surge in interest of where your food comes from, right? Like, “I’m eating soy and I’m gluten-free, and I’m all of these choices that you can now make buying organic.” People go, “I’m buying organic because I don’t want to ingest pesticides,” but you should buy organic because that means farmworkers were not sprayed by pesticides, right? Like you go, “Oh yeah, I’ll pay 20 cents more.” The restrictions on pesticides being sprayed, or the regulations on it. is based on weight of a man, like a 150-pound man.

So if you’re a child working in the farmworkers, if you’re a woman working in the field. That dose that you’re getting and ingesting as you’re picking and you’re in the field is deadly and cancerous and causes a lot of health problems for our farmworkers. So next time you go to the store, instead of going “Oh I want to buy organic because I want to eat healthier,” you should say, “I want to buy organic because I want to make sure I’m protecting farmworkers.”

Pete Buttigieg: Wow. That point about how they calibrated the regulations on pesticides is so interesting. And I’m going to try not to fully geek out with you, but one question I think you might have an interesting take on: I think a lot about what we measure, what we count and how that expresses what matters. You mentioned earlier that the term Chicano was included on the census once. And that was very important. And just how we gather data around acknowledgement of people and wages. Obviously the census in particular has been an issue recently because of the targeting of undocumented immigrants. If there were two or three bodies of information, two or three statistics that don’t exist right now that could, is there anything that you think would make a difference to gather some form of data or measure something or pay attention to something that we have the capability to find out, but we just haven’t ever done it, or if we have it hasn’t been made public or nobody’s really looked at it? And that’s very geeky question but-

Eva Longoria: I love that geeky question because I am an academic at heart. We have to do more studies that contribute to the body of knowledge. And I don’t think there’s enough studies out there. Even if you see medical studies, they don’t really include people of color. You know, heart disease, diabetes… And until you have a seat at the table, this is what makes me crazy about Washington and government and women’s reproductive rights. When you have a table of nine men making decisions about women’s reproductive rights, that’s just insane to me. You don’t have a uterus. And so I think it’s about that. We need innovation to happen. It comes from within our community. That’s why I focus so much on women in STEM is because if Latinos could become doctors and they had a family member that had sickle cell or that had something that’s regionally and ethically a health problem for our community, they would go and want to research that.

And so I think that’s what we do need more of, more studies that are specific and data that’s specific to our communities. I also think looking at the guest worker program in immigration, and there’s so many…. I’m a YouTube geek when I go, “What is the electoral college?” And I’ll go look at that YouTube for dummy video to see how does it say. So I did that with the visas. I was like, “What’s an H-1 visa?” And there’s so many great professors that break it down in a way that they go, “It’s actually simple math.” We only give 10, 10 passes to the party out and there’s 800 people wanting to get into the party. We have a bottleneck problem. They break it down in a way.

And I would like some data as far as how our visa systems work, specifically for the guest worker program and immigrant migrant labor. That would be some metric system that I think could be valuable. Just like, I forget his name. You’ll probably know his name. Biden just appointed him to Homeland Security. The Cuban.

Pete Buttigieg: Yes, Mayorkas.

Eva Longoria: Yes, who was the architect of DACA and how he came up with DACA. And he is a Cuban refugee. And he comes from a community in which he understands empathy and compassion and we have to solve a problem. That’s important that somebody in that position understands it intricately. Just like why is Betsy DeVos the Secretary of Education you see where that’s a problem. And so I think there’s a lot of metrics and tracking and data that would be so valuable as to how policies are made. We just need the information because, like I said, people go, “Back of the line, go home.” All those are ignorant statements. Because you’re not even talking about the problem.

Pete Buttigieg: In order for that change to happen, everybody needs to be engaged. And you have been a leader in mobilizing and engaging Latinos to vote, founding Latino Victory, connecting with voters, especially in Texas, Florida, California, other places with critical elections going on. We call this podcast The Deciding Decade because I love thinking about what the 2020s will lead to. If you’re looking ahead to 2030, or even just to 2022, what do you think are the things that there needs to be more of starting now in order to build and engage an enduring and activated Latino electorate?

Eva Longoria: Well, like I said, we’re the fastest growing demographic in the United States. A Latino turns 18 every 30 seconds. This is the first election that we’ve been the largest minority voting block. But demography is not destiny. And so we have never, as Latinos, we’ve never voted over 50% of eligible voters. This election over two thirds of eligible voters voted, right? We’re moving in the right direction. But let me tell you, we’re not always going to have a racist, misogynist bigot on the ticket. Patriarchy and white supremacy come in many forms. And so I think we have to keep our eye on the prize and stay engaged, and voter outreach and voter education. It’s a year round work. I think what has to happen is candidates and parties can’t just come two months before an election and say, your vote matters. You have to come at us year round with outreach to our communities that say your lives matter, your lives matter too, to us. And how can we engage in these communities all the time? Not just during election years and election cycles.

Pete Buttigieg: Of course this is something that cuts across politics, entertainment, a lot of other fields. How would you say representation has changed, especially Latina representation on the screen, just in the years since you first arrived in LA as a young person from Corpus Christi looking for your first gig?

Eva Longoria: Yeah. It ebbs and flows. The hot term right now is diversity. Everywhere, corporate America, Hollywood, politics. But what’s happening I think here in Hollywood is, the way in which people consume content has shifted. And because of that, it’s really given content creators the power. You don’t have to go through this archaic system of studios and networks and you could be a content creator on YouTube. You can go do your own show on your iPhone. Technology has really disrupted the way we do business here. And because of that we’ve been able to tap into new talent pools and usually those new talent pools are communities of color, LGBTQ, indigenous communities, everything. There’s so much opportunity that you don’t have to go through the gatekeepers anymore.

And I think that’s a good thing. Somebody was asking me, “How do we educate the gatekeepers of all these studios and networks here in Hollywood to hire more women, to hire more diverse people as screenwriters and as producers and directors?” And I was like, “I don’t think we educate the gatekeepers. I think we changed the gatekeepers.” We got to change them. They’re got to go.

Pete Buttigieg: The other thing is, as we look to the future. I would love to know what your greatest sources of optimism are? I can kind of sense just the way you talk about your advocacy, your activism in your work. You are very much alive to all of the problems and obstacles out there. But you don’t seem to focus on them or let them diminish your optimism. What gives you hope?

Eva Longoria: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I’m actually an optimist at heart. I’m half glass full for everything. But, I think probably the thing that this particular year has given me so much hope and Obama had said it as well about our youth. When you see the amount of young people in the streets and protesting, and whether it was the Women’s March or whether it was Black Lives Matter or whether it was Joy to the Polls, the amount of young people who were engaged. And if you look at the past civil rights leaders of our time, Martin Luther King was young, Representative John Lewis was young. They were young. And so when you see our youth civically engaged it’s actually exciting. Because that’s going to be a civically engaged adult and hopefully that manifests in change and progress.

[music]

Pete Buttigieg: I’m fascinated by Eva’s family history, a ninth generation Texan. From a family who, as she says, didn’t cross the border. The border crossed them. She’s connected to America’s story with roots that go back to the very beginning, before the beginning even. There’s such a rich history here and now she, and so many in her community, are leading the charge on figuring out how to make this country better in the future for the fastest growing demographic group in the nation, Latinos. From improving our conditions for farmworkers, to changing our food system, to encouraging young Latinas to pursue and thrive in STEM and other educational opportunities. She reminds us of a world of possibility for a vital part of our national life and for our country as a whole. And I’m glad Eva has decided to take her voice beyond the predictable spaces and drive action on these opportunities.

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