Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia on the Impeachment Trial and the Power of Latinos in 2020
Mexican American Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia talks about her crucial role in the impeachment trial and shares her thoughts on the president's acquittal.
Being at the center of the Donald Trump impeachment trial was an unforgettable experience for Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. “We did this for the people, for our Constitution, and our democracy because no one is above the law,” she tells People CHICA. “Nadie está por encima de la ley. I would oftentimes say that line in Spanish as well because I wanted Latinos in my district, across the country, and around the world to know that they had one of them on the team fighting for what is right to defend democracy. I wanted people to see themselves reflected in me and hear their language. That is why I also often made myself available to Spanish press because it was important for nuestra gente to stay informed on what was happening.”
Reacting to Trump’s acquittal, she adds: “The president may have been acquitted, but not exonerated because this was not a fair trial. We had no documents and witnesses.” She also reacted to Trump’s State of the Union speech. “When President Trump paints this rosy picture that we need to be optimistic because the economy is doing so well, the top 1 percent is what he is talking about. He’s not talking about the bottom 10 percent.”
The Mexican American politician emphasizes the importance of the Latinx community in the 2020 election. “Our vote is our power and it is how we will guarantee justice for our community, the families that have been ripped apart at the border, the babies that have been put in cages, and the members of our community that have been targeted and in some cases even killed in El Paso because the president’s rhetoric and policies inspired a white nationalist to drive hundreds of miles to kill nuestra gente.”
Garcia understands the struggles of immigrants and the working class. “I am one of 10 children who grew up in Palito Blanco, Texas. My dad only had a third-grade education level and my mom had a fifth-grade education level. They always spoke to us in Spanish and would always tell us, ‘Trabaja duro, edúcate y cree en Dios.’ [Work hard, educate yourself, and believe in God.] They taught us the value of hard work. We would help them pick cotton in the fields of Palito Blanco under the hot Texas sun. I know what it’s like to each commodity cheese and peanut butter because we could not afford anything else at times. I know what it’s like to get my healthcare from a curandera and what it’s like to stand in line for hours at a welfare community clinic when we got too sick because we didn’t have health insurance.” Making a difference in the lives of others today is the fuel that keeps her going. “My story and our struggles are what have inspired me to fight for working people and poor people.”
Being the first Latina to become an impeachment manager in a trial against a president is an opportunity she is grateful for. “It’s been an honor and a privilege but also a huge responsibility in protecting the Constitution and protecting our democracy,” she says. “It’s not just about us today — it’s about the gift that we give to future generations.”