Why Tim Kaine delivering an entire speech in Spanish meant the world to me as a Latina.

To get your message across, sometimes you have to speak their language.

Whether Hillary Clinton is elected the first female president on Nov. 8 or not, the Democratic campaign has already made history several times.

Not to overstate the obvious, but this is the first time in our history that a woman is nominated from a major party for the highest office in the land. This is the first time a former first lady has gone on to run for the office once held by her husband. This is also the first time a major player in the presidential election is fluent in Spanish.

Most recently, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine delivered an entire speech to a huge crowd in Phoenix ... in Spanish.

On Nov. 3, 2016, he spoke at a community center in Maryvale, which is considered the most Latino neighborhood in the Phoenix area. And, amazingly, Kaine took the time to address that demographic in their language.


Image by Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star.

Kaine learned Spanish over 35 years ago when he spent a year in Honduras with Jesuit missionaries in 1980.

Although he's proudly shown off his Spanish-speaking chops on the campaign trail with a phrase here and there, he's never delivered a whole speech in another language.

This time, he delivered the whole enchilada! (Pardon the pun.)

In this speech, Kaine acknowledged our collective frustrations with the election.

"I feel the same way about this election as you do. With so much talk of the Hispanic community coming into play, it was important for our campaign to address you in a language spoken by so many families across the country," Kaine said.

Kaine also called for something we all want: unity. He said we need people of all origins to help write the next chapters of our country's history. Yes, please!

Spanish-speaking parents and grandparents, many of whom don't speak English, will be voting on Nov. 8, and that's why this speech was a big deal.

Latinos have a huge deciding power in this presidential election. There are over 27 million of us eligible to vote this year, and we know we've got power.

Reaching out to my demographic by using our native language is not only a smart move, but also an empathetic one, which I love. It's an acknowledgment that not all of us are fluent in both languages. It's a reach across the divide to meet us halfway. It's an added effort to make sure we all understand his message.

Kaine's speech made me feel like my community, the Latino community, matters.

Finally, we're important enough that one of the major party's vice presidential candidates is addressing us directly.

Image by AP Photo/Matt York.

Kaine spokeswoman Karen Finney told reporters on the senator's plane, "No other person on a presidential ticket in the United States has given a full campaign speech in Spanish. So it's unprecedented and historic."

If only I could have taken my grandmother, who can no longer walk long distances, to this rally.

I so wish she could have heard his message of unity. I know she would have felt how far we've come. Politicians are trying to reach us — us! — the Latino community, by speaking our language.

The bottom line is that Kaine's effort to speak our language shows that he cares. He knows we're here to stay. He knows it's better to embrace everything that brings us together — including language. Whether his speech translates into more votes in Arizona remains to be seen, but I know that for me, the gesture will never be forgotten.

More

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended