Senior Staff Writer, GEN by Medium. Puertorriqueña. Previously: Refinery29, El Diario Nueva York, Diálogo, and more. Tips: andrea@medium.com

The new film ‘Belly of the Beast’ explores the legacy of forced sterilizations in California’s prison system

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“Belly of the Beast.” Photo: Idle Wild Films/PBS Independent Lens

In 2000, Kelli Dillion was 24 years old when she began to feel abdominal pain. An inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison, Dillion was sent to the prison gynecologist for an exam. The doctor suspected she had cancer and booked her for a biopsy. He also asked whether Dillon wanted to have more children. She said yes. Then, he inquired whether she’d agreed to a hysterectomy. Dillion said yes, but only if they found signs of the disease. …


Left-wing activists joined forces with Biden to defeat Trump, but their silence is already ending

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Members of the Sunrise Movement gather for a rally outside of the DNC headquarters in New York City. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

For most of 2020, the left played nice. Many progressive leaders joined Joe Biden’s coalition because they believed defeating Donald Trump was paramount and the only way to advance their agenda. But now that Trump is almost out of the way, they’ve made it clear that they are expecting a return on their investment.

That starts with publicly pressuring Biden during the transition period.

In conversations with GEN, seven progressive organizers showed a mix of optimism and cynicism about what they could expect from Biden. Some are anticipating a hard fight with him on issues ranging from immigration and racial justice to foreign policy. Others believe he can be more gently nudged to the left, particularly after their movements gained policy ground on the Biden campaign’s “unity task forces.” Activists are now busy identifying windows of opportunity: On Monday, Biden mentioned the House Democrats’ pandemic relief bill, which calls for immediate forgiveness of $10,000 in student loan debt. High-profile progressives quickly used the momentum to call for Biden to cancel all of it. Meanwhile, the climate justice group Sunrise Movement and the left-wing Justice Democrats PAC, perhaps best known for helping to elect Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the House, released a list of preferred Cabinet appointments. …


There is no such thing. For the sake of democracy, let’s be more specific.

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Photo: David McNew/Stringer

The barrage of misguided post-election analysis shows all too clearly why “the Latino vote” is a term that must be abolished. Starting on Tuesday evening, there was collective freakout among liberals over the fact that Donald Trump had been able to score about 32% of “the Latino vote” — a four-point increase from 2016, when he secured about 28% of the vote. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did because, for most of the nation, Latinos all look and vote the same.

Republican Latinos have existed since the Eisenhower years and have been a key constituency for the GOP since Richard Nixon’s reelection in 1972. Since then, GOP presidential candidates have reliably secured about one-third of “the Latino vote.” This is something the Trump campaign understood early on. The Latinos for Trump coalition was the first the campaign launched, all the way back in March 2019, with a particular focus in mobilizing Floridians. Though 59% of Latinos went for Biden in the Sunshine State, according to the polling firm Latino Decisions, the 38% who didn’t helped Trump take the state when added to white voters. …


Who is going to be president? No idea! And we won’t know for a while.

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Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s going to be a long night. A long week,” ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos casually said as the clock struck 12:24 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, November 4. What a massive understatement. Americans have gone to bed without having any idea of who will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021. And if we’re being realistic, it’ll be a while before we know for sure. This wait feels unprecedented and just a little bit terrifying — doing little to quell fears that America is a powder keg waiting to blow.

At least in 2016 the rug was pulled under most Democrats before midnight. While it always takes weeks for states to certify total votes, we can usually rely on the talking heads’ math wizardry to bring some semblance of clarity: The country is fucked or not. You take that knowledge in, go to bed, and wake up motivated enough to get to work for a better nation the next day. …


There was a win and a loss for legal abortion tonight. Voters in Colorado defeated Prop 115, which would have banned abortions after 22 weeks of gestation. The measure made exceptions if the pregnant person’s health was in danger, but not for cases of rape or incest.

In Louisiana, however, voters advanced a proposal to add language to the state Constitution saying there is no right to abortion. Amendment 1 would make it so all abortion restrictions are fair game in the instance Roe v. Wade is overturned or severely weakened because they would not violate the Constitution. The measure was proposed by two anti-abortion Democrats: Gov. John Bel Edwards and state Sen. Katrina Jackson.


Exit polls have shown that Trump has performed better with Latinos in the 2020 election compared to 2016. This comes as no surprise to those of us who’ve paid attention.

As I’ve reported before, about 30% of Latinos have voted for GOP presidential candidates each cycle since 1972. The Trump campaign aggressively courted them in Florida and beyond, investing in outreach efforts as early as March 2019. On the other hand, Democrats largely ignored alarms from Latino activists who begged the party to pay attention to this constituency and stop treating it as a monolith.

This failure might have cost Joe Biden and down-the-ballot candidates enough votes in key battleground states to make the difference between victory and defeat.


Sarah McBride will be the first out transgender state senator in the history of this nation

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Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images

It was not long ago when openly LGBTQ+ lawmakers were few and far between. But today, the political landscape looks very different: LGBTQ+ rights have been under attack in the Trump era, but that has not stopped people from fighting for a seat at the table.

We’re keeping track of all the queer candidates who are making history in this election. Check this space for updates on how they are breaking barriers.

Sarah McBride

McBride became the first out transgender state senator in the history of this nation. The 30-year-old has been elected to Delaware’s 1st state senate district. …


The FBI says QAnon is a domestic terrorism threat, but these candidates still support it

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Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to Congress. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Among the many candidates that made history in the 2020 election, there were some that stood out for all the wrong reasons. Come January, QAnon supporters will be among the new freshmen members of Congress. The FBI has listed this far-right conspiracy theory as a domestic terrorism threat, but that didn’t stop these Republican candidates from backing it.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

The Republican candidate won in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Greene once called “Q,” the leader of the movement, a “patriot.” …


First lady Melania Trump showed up to vote on Tuesday without a mask, in direct violation of Palm Beach County’s Covid-19 regulations. “It’s Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election,” she told reporters after casting a ballot. President Trump didn’t accompany her, as he had already voted early.

In September, FLOTUS was one of the dozens infected during the White House’s coronavirus outbreak. Her decision to vote today without a mask suggests she’s either bought into her husband’s immunity theory, or — as so many of her sartorial choices would imply — that she simply doesn’t care what you think about her.


More than a third of voters have already cast their ballots

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Photo illustration; source: Mark Makela/Getty Images

On the first day of early in-person voting in New York, I walked nearly a mile in perfect fall weather to check out the situation in my polling station at a local Boys and Girls Club. It was around 2 p.m. on October 24 — just four hours after the polls had opened — but the line remained dizzyingly long, wrapping around the block to the point where the first and last mask-wearing voters in line overlapped. New Yorkers who voted early reported hours-long waiting times in the subsequent days.

Those same lines had been forming outside polling stations all over the country — in Georgia, Texas, California, Virginia, and beyond. It was a reminder that not even a global pandemic could stop Americans motivated to vote in the 2020 election. More than 99 million people had cast their ballots as of Monday evening, according to the U.S. Elections Project, either through the mail or in person over the past weeks. That means we’re starting Election Day with more than one-third of the nation’s eligible voters having already cast a ballot. …

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