Alejandro Mayorkas to Become First Latino to Helm the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is making political history…

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has nominated the 61-year-old Cuban lawyer and former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as the first Latino to helm department.

Alejandro Mayorkas

Mayorkas will be tasked with rebuilding an agency that carried out some of the most draconian measures associated with President Donald Trump‘s hardline immigration policy, including family separations at the US-Mexico border.

The choice reflects Biden’s desire to construct a diverse Cabinet with experts versed in public policy and deep experience in government.

In taking over the DHS, Mayorkas faces the greatest domestic challenge.

The department became the enforcement arm of some of Trump’s most controversial programs.

His selection received an early endorsement from former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who ran in the Democratic presidential primary and has emerged as a leading immigrants’ rights advocate.

“Alejandro Mayorkas is a historic and experienced choice to lead an agency in desperate need of reform,” Castro tweeted. “As an immigrant and a creator of the DACA program, he’s well suited to undo Trump’s damage and build a more compassionate and common sense immigration agenda.”

Dr. Robert Rodriguez Named to President-Elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board

Dr. Robert Rodriguez is ready to fight the coronavirus pandemic in a big way…

The Latino doctor, a native of Brownsville, Texas, is among the health officials named to President-elect Joe Biden‘s COVID-19 advisory board.

Dr. Robert Rodriguez

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received their first briefing from the board on Monday morning in Wilmington, Delaware.The team will be led by three co-chairs: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administrator commissioner Dr. David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of medicine at Yale University.

Thirteen co-chairs and members will comprise the board, including Rodriguez.

He graduated from Harvard Medical School, returned home to the Rio Grande Valley as the number of people dying from coronavirus soared over the summer. He volunteered to help with the critical surge in the ICU.

He told ABC News in July that he saw at least one person die daily from the virus.

“Everybody is wearing masks here. The spread is not because people aren’t being responsible. I think it’s largely due to socioeconomic issues,” Rodriguez said at the time. “The best way you can take care of frontline providers and everybody else here in the hospital is by taking care of yourself.”

Currently, Rodriguez serves as a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine, where he works on the frontline in the emergency department and ICU of two major trauma centers.

According to a release from Biden’s transition team, Rodriguez has authored over 100 scientific publications and has led national research teams examining a range of topics in medicine, including the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of frontline workers.

It’s not clear whether or not President Donald Trump‘s administration will work with Biden’s task force. However, Biden says he plans to reach out to governors about a state mask mandate as soon as possible.

Lin-Manuel Miranda & His Hamilton Cast Mates to Reunite for Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Fundraiser

Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing his bidding for Biden…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, actor, singer/rapper, producer and playwright and the original cast of his hit musical Hamilton will reunite this week for a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the latest pop culture themed virtual event.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's final Hamilton curtain call

The campaign announced that among those participating will be Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Javier Muñoz, Leslie Odom, Jr., Okieriete Onaodowa and Phillipa Soo. Director Thomas Kail will moderate a Q&A, and it will be followed by a special performance.

The event will take place at 9:00 pm ET on Friday, October 16 with no ticket amount. Proceeds will go to the Biden Victory Fund.

The cast of Hamilton also performed in 2016 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Democrats have been drawing on cast reunions as a way to raise small-dollar contributions. The Wisconsin Democratic Party has hosted recent virtual reunions of the cast of The Princess Bride and Veep.

HBO Max is debuting a West Wing reunion on October 15 to benefit When We All Vote, the get-out-the-vote effort led by Michelle Obama.

“She Se Puede” Digital Lifestyle Community for Latinas Launched by America Ferrera & Group of Powerful Latinas

America Ferrera is galvanizing the influence and power of the country’s Latinas.

The 36-year-old Honduran American actress and former Ugly Betty star has partnered with Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria to launch She Se Puede, a digital lifestyle community created for Latinas.

America Ferrera & Eva Longoria

Ferrera, Longoria and a group of powerful Latinas have high hopes for the new destination for the modern Latina.

“It’s a media platform that … inspires and affirms and informs Latinas on how to leverage our power in a way that transforms our lives, our families and our communities,” says Longoria.

She Se Puede

Inspired by Dolores Huerta’s enduring phrase, “Sí, se puede!” the nonprofit initiative was also founded by experts in the political, entertainment and organizational worlds: Alex Martínez Kondracke, Carmen Perez, Christy Haubegger, Elsa Collins, Jess Morales Rocketto, Mónica Ramírez, Olga Segura, and Stephanie Valencia.

The site will cover fashion, health, culture and politics, an important subject during this election year.

Latinos account for 32 million eligible voters, the country’s largest ethnic voting block. She Se Puede, says Longoria, aims to “build a culture that allows Latinas to see that power, believe in that power and see that full potential released.”

The platform’s launch also comes amid a pandemic in which 34 percent of essential workers are Latino and communities of color have been hit hardest by job losses and lack of health care, as well as a divisive presidential election that sees Joe Biden trailing in the Latino vote in Florida, according to one poll. “We all truly know who’s on the side of Latinos, and it’s definitely not Trump,” she says. “This is the man whose administration is locking kids up in cages, who creates travel bans from countries that are poor, who wanted to sell Puerto Rico and exchange it for Greenland.

She Se Puede is a community where Latinas can find information that addresses our unique needs and supports us to move ourselves, our communities, and our country forward. To learn more, visit shesepuede.org.

Chita Rivera Among the Stars Taking Part in Fundraising Concert for Joe Biden, “In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation”

Chita Rivera is Biden her time before the upcoming presidential election…

The 87-year-old half-Puerto Rican Broadway star will be among the stars of the Great White Way who’ll stage a fundraising concert for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, with plans to stream the event on October 21.

Chita Rivera

The event, which starts at 8:00 pm ET, is organized by the group Broadway for Biden and is called In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nationwith donations going to the Biden Victory Fund.

In addition to Rivera, the lineup of the concert includes Derrick Baskin, Laura Benanti, Victoria Clark, Glenn Close, Chuck Cooper, Darren Criss, André De Shields, Renée Elise Goldsberry, John Goodman, Jayne Houdyshell, Jennifer Hudson, James Monroe Iglehart, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Norman Lear, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Karen Olivo, Ashley Park, Steven Pasquale, Carrie Preston, Kelani Queypo, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Phillipa Soo, Ephraim Sykes, BD Wong, the Broadway Dreams Foundation Choir, and the casts of Six and KPOP.

Liesl Tommy, director of the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect (with Hudson in the lead role), will direct the show. Tommy is the executive producer along with Julie Boardman, Nolan Doran, Halle Morse, and Jennifer Mudge.

The concert will stream on YouTube via news publisher NowThis, on Facebook via Broadway for Biden and NowThis, and on Broadway Unlocked.

In a statement, Tommy said, “It is a tremendous honor to direct this incredible collective of performers and artists, who are coming together to amplify the promise of Broadway and a nation that are future-looking, accessible, and deeply inclusive.”

The evening will include original material, stagings of musical numbers that have never been seen, and previews of productions bound for Broadway. Among those contributing are Chad Beguelin, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Stacey Rose, Aurin Squire, DeLanna Studi, Paula Vogel and John Waters.

Christopher Gattelli, Lorin Latarro, Ray Mercer, and Abbey O’Brien will provide original choreography, with music direction by Jason Michael Webb. Chris Boardman and Charlie Rosen will provide orchestrations. Sean McLaughlin will serve as director of photography and Grady Bowman will be associate choreographer.

The event is in the vein of a fundraiser in 2012 for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, called Barack on Broadway, that was produced by Margo Lion and others.

Cardi B Encourages People to Register to Vote as Deadlines Approach

Cardi B is urging you to get registered…

The 27-year-old half-Dominican American rap superstar, who has never been afraid to get political, is encouraging everyone to get registered to vote.

Cardi B

In a video posted by her label, Atlantic Records, Cardi B keeps it simple:

“It’s Cardi B and let me tell y’all something, state deadlines are coming very quick so make sure y’all click the link in the bio so y’all can register to vote,” she says in the brief video supporting the non-partisan group HeadCount, a national non-profit organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy in the United States.

With less than 65 days left until the November 3 election, the push to register voters and make sure they have the necessary materials to vote by mail or to vote early in their states is ramping up.

Cardi B had previously voiced her support for Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders, interviewing him about his vision for the country and political views, before her dropped out of the race. She’s now thrown her support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who she also interviewed recently.

Click here to register to vote through the HeadCount website.

Click here to verify that you’re already registered to vote in your state.

Cardi B, riding high on the chart-topping success of her Megan Thee Stallion collaboration “WAP,” recently got into a social media tussle with former Republican congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine, after Lorraine made an unflattering comparison between Cardi B and First Lady Melania Trump after the latter’s speech at last week’s Republican National Convention.

“America needs far more women like Melania Trump and far less like Cardi B,” tweeted the politician who failed in her bid to unseat Democratic Speaker of the House leader Nancy Pelosi, leading the superstar to fire back, “Didn’t she used to sell that Wap?”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Speak at Next Week’s Virtual Democratic National Convention

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is set to make a major splash…

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican politician and current the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district will have a speaking slot at next week’s virtual Democratic National Convention, which, because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be almost entirely virtual from locations across the country.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez, the star of the progressive left, had yet to enter elective politics in the last cycle.

The first-time congresswoman will speak on Tuesday, August 18, on the same nice a virtual roll call of delegates will take place to formally nominate Joe Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Catherine Cortez Masto will also take the national stage.

The 56-year-old half-Mexican American lawyer and politician, who has served as a United States senator from Nevada since 2017, will appear on Monday, August 17.

And, Michelle Lujan Grisham will speak at the convention.

The 60-year-old Mexican American politician, the current governor of New Mexico, will speak on Wednesday, August 19.

In 2018, Lujan Grisham became the first Democratic woman elected governor of New Mexico, as well as the first Democratic Hispanic elected state governor in U.S. history.

Other speakers include Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.

Some of the speakers are pre-recording their speeches. The New York Times reported that Michelle Obama was pre-taping her appearance, while a source said the Bill Clinton was doing the same.

The proceedings will take place from 9:00 -11:00 pm ET each evening, starting on Monday.

The lineup:

Monday

Bernie Sanders, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), John Kasich, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Tuesday

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DL), Bill Clinton, and Jill Biden. Also planned that evening are keynote address, with the speaker yet to be identified, and a virtual roll call of delegates to formally nominate Joe Biden.

Wednesday

Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Barack Obama.

Thursday

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Newsom, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former South Bend, IN mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DL), Harris, the Biden family and Biden.

Democrats also announced nine speakers “from all walks of life,” designed to showcase everyday Americans at the convention.

Tom Perez to Appear on Politico’s New Streaming Series “Plug In with Playbook”

Tom Perez is getting Politico

The 58-year-old Dominican American politician, attorney and current chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), will appear on Politico’s new streaming series, which is tied to its popular Playbook newsletter and franchise.

Tom Perez

Politico’s Plug In with Playbook will be streamed at 9:00 AM ET each morning from the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

The Democrats’ convention will begin on August 17,  and Republicans’ convention will launch a week later, on August 24.

Plans for the show will move forward even though both conventions will be virtual.

On Wednesday, Democrats announced that Joe Biden would no longer travel to Milwaukee to deliver his acceptance speech and instead would do so from his home state of Delaware.

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, co-authors of Playbook, will anchor the 45-minute show, with plans to interview politicians and party insiders.

In addition to Perez, guests for the DNC include convention CEO Joe Solmonese, Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who was the vice presidential nominee in 2016.

Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is one of the guests so far during the week of the GOP convention.

Plug In with Playbook also will feature “deep-dive political segments and conversations with Politico journalists, as well as analysis of down-ballot races and a look at this cycle’s swing states. The show may continue at key moments during the campaign.

The show will be live-streamed on Politico’s conventions hub, with a link on Politico’s homepage.

Rosario Dawson to Co-Host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign Virtual Concert

Rosario Dawson is ready to rock the vote…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.

Rosario Dawson

Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Ne-YoBig FreediaLucy HaleAmara La NegraSaweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia CarsonRich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.

“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”

“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.

“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”

Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino FoundationWhen We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation. 

In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.

“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”

With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.

“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”

The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.

“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”

“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”

“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”

Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Monica Hernandez to Moderate the Next Democratic Presidential Debate

Monica Hernandezis getting political…

The Latina broadcast journalist and WMUR-TV anchor/reporter will serve as a moderator at the next Democratic presidential debate, alongside ABC News chief anchor George StephanopoulosWorld News Tonight’s David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, and WMUR-TV’s Adam Sexton.

Monica Hernandez

The debate is set for February 7 at 8:00 pm ET in Manchester, New Hampshire, wedged between the Iowa Caucusesfour days before and the New Hampshire primary four days after.

The eighth debate of the primary cycle is hosted by ABC News, WMUR-TV and Apple News. It is set at St. Anselm Collegein Manchester and will air on ABCHearst Television’s WMUR-TV, Apple News and on ABC News Live.

So far, all six of the candidates who qualified for the previous debate – Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren— appear to have met the fundraising and polling thresholds to qualify for the debate. Another way in per Democratic National Committeerules would be to score a pledged delegate in Iowa.

The qualifying criteria involving grassroots fundraising (225,000 individual donors with 1,000 unique donors or more per state) likely will keep out candidate Michael Bloomberg, who is self-financing.

The previous debate hosted by CNNat Drake Universityin Des Moines, Iowa on January 14 drew an estimated 7.3 million viewers, a slight uptick from the 6.17 million who watched the debate in December, sponsored by PBSand Politico, and the 6.5 million who watched November’s event, hosted by MSNBC.

The New Hampshire debate is the second of four in each of the key voting states. Next up is February 19 in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC with The Nevada Independent, and February 25 in in Charleston, SC, hosted by CBS News, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Twitter.