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Julian Castro on Civil Rights

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrawn); former HUD Secretary

 


Leaders should unite us, not feed bigotry and division

We need leadership at every level in our public and private life that is encouraging people to understand each other, to have compassion and respect for one another, and to appreciate our differences, instead of to fuel bigotry and hate and division. If you're in a position of leadership, you set the tone for the country. And there is no question that this president is setting a tone of division and fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate and is not making it any better. He's making it worse.
Source: CNN State of the Union interview for 2019 Democratic primary , Aug 4, 2019

Passed ground-breaking rule furthering fair housing

The record of all candidates, including Vice President Biden's, is relevant. His stance on busing that he allowed local communities to make a decision, essentially relying on state's rights, he's going to have to explain why that was good. We've had very painful history in trying to desegregate communities. When I was at HUD we passed the most ground-breaking rule since the Fair Housing Act called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. That pain is still there in this country.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview series , Jun 30, 2019

Racial and social justice as important as economic justice

Q: How would you mobilize Latino voters?

Sen. Amy KLOBUCHAR: My life and my work in the Senate has been about economic opportunity.

Q: What Senator Klobuchar is describing there, an economic justice agenda, is that enough to mobilize Latino voters to stand with the Democratic Party?

Secretary Julian CASTRO: I also think that we have to recognize racial and social justice. I'm proud that I'm the only candidate so far that has put forward legislation that would reform our policing system in America and make sure that no matter what the color of your skin is, that you're treated the same, including Latinos who are mistreated too oftentimes by police.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Pass ERA to ensure equal rights & equal pay for women

Q: What would you do to ensure that women are paid fairly in this country?

A: I would do several things, starting with something we should have done a long time ago, which is to pass the Equal Rights Amendment finally in this country. And also pursue legislation so that women are paid equal pay for equal work in this country. It's past time that we did that. If we want to be the most prosperous nation in the 21st century, we need to make sure that women are paid what they deserve.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Supports reparations commission, we need healing process

If we compensate people under our Constitution, if we take their property [as cited in the 5th Amendment], why wouldn't you compensate people who actually were considered property? I support legislation that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced that would appoint a commission to study reparations, and make a recommendation to the president. I think of this in the way that I think of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. There's a healing process that needs to happen.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 11, 2019

Supports commission investigating reparations for slavery

Castro, one of the most vocal candidates on the issue, said that he has long believed "that our country will never truly heal until we address the original sin of slavery."

"If, under our Constitution, we compensate people if we take their property, why wouldn't we compensate people who were considered property and sanctioned by the state?" he asked.

Source: Associated Press, "Reparations," on 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 3, 2019

As mayor, banned discrimination against sexual orientation

Before becoming President Obama's secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro was the mayor of San Antonio where he signed an ordinance that banned discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.

In 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down an anti-same-sex marriage law, he prompted his state to follow suit.

"Ending the official bigotry that Texas sanctions is both the right thing to do, and it is also good for business," he said at the time.

As HUD secretary, Castro prioritized helping homeless LGBTQ youth and attempted to dismantle LGBTQ housing discrimination.

"Every American should have access to decent, affordable housing," Castro said. "It's a tragedy that so many LGBTQ youth are being mistreated simply because of who they are, making them particularly vulnerable to homelessness."

Source: Frank Olito, Insider.com, on 2019 Democratic primary , Mar 26, 2019

Property was taken from slaves, so pay reparations

In an interview [at the SXSW conference], Castro criticised fellow candidate Bernie Sanders for his willingness to write "big checks" for things like healthcare or education, but being unwilling to consider reparations to African-Americans descended from slaves. The US constitution mandates that Americans be compensated if their property is taken, he noted, so why shouldn't people who were treated as property themselves also receive compensation?

"I've long believed that the country should consider reparations because of the atrocity of slavery," Mr Castro told me. "I believe that we're never going to fully heal as a country from the racial divide until we've addressed the tremendous wrong that was done with slavery."

He said that, as president, he would set up a commission to determine an inclusive way to address "the best path forward". It will be up to those who support reparations to decide whether a "commission" is the kind of bold move they had in mind.

Source: BBC.com on 2020 Democratic primary contenders at 2019 SXSW , Mar 12, 2019

Protections for GLBTQ; benefits to same-sex partners

Castro also led the creation of one of the country's strictest anti-smoking laws, drafted a successful resolution denouncing Arizona's racist 2010 immigration law, supported extending benefits to same-sex partners of city employees and , after years of reluctance, eventually supported an update to anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation.
Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2020 Democratic primary contenders , Feb 15, 2019

Chicano; Jewish; gay: common thread is marginalization

Growing up, Joaquin and I were essentially immersed in Chicana activism. At Stanford, I thought about how relatively unknown, even invisible, the Chicano community was to the vast majority of Americans. I wasn't keenly aware of the discrimination others experienced. There were few Jewish, Native American, gay, or transgender people in my childhood circle.

I would not be surprised if other students heavily submerged in other ethnic cultures encountered the same sense of marginalization. [For a Stanford course, I read] "Imagining the Holocaust": the horrific account of what happened to Jews during World War II. At Stanford I was forced to pull back from my tight community and understand how a common thread ran through so many other cultures around the world where people had to fight for their rights. When one of these groups achieved a victory against discrimination, I felt like "we" had won.

Source: An Unlikely Journey, by Julian Castro, p.111-3 , Oct 16, 2018

Signed onto the "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" effort

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has signed onto the "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" effort. Houston's Annise Parker had previously joined the effort, serving as co-chair. So that's 3 Texas Mayors down, 1,212 to go.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is still refusing to sign onto the pledge, despite a petition with 253 signatures and promises of protests at his upcoming public events.

The group has also added two new co-chairs, San Diego's Jerry Sanders and Boston's Thomas Menino; with New York's Michael Bloomberg, L.A.'s Antonio Villaraigosa and Houston's own Annise Parker. The five-co-chairs issued the following statement: Source: Dallas Voice, "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" , Jan 20, 2012

Extend city benefits to same-sex domestic partners

Last week anti-gay forces were fighting San Antonio's plan to offer domestic partner benefits to municipal workers. On Monday, a group called "Voices for Marriage" held a press conference outside City Hall to oppose the plan.

Extending benefits to cit employees in same sex relationships would cost between $300,000 and $400,000 a year--a small fraction of the total $2.2 billion budget.

However, a local group calling itself "Voices for Marriage" protested the proposed change on Monday outside city hall. The group, citing religious views and current state law, opposes any extension of benefits to domestic partnerships.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who backs the change, said the city needs to extend benefits to domestic partners in order to stay competitive with other cities and companies across the country that already offer similar benefits. The mayor dismissed concerns by many protestors over the cost of benefits as "a smokescreen for their dislike of gays and lesbians."

Source: Dallas Voice, "Anti-gay protest" , Aug 30, 2011

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Other big-city mayors on Civil Rights: Julian Castro on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Oct 17, 2020