Who is Lucy Flores? The Latina Who Confronts The ‘Creepy Uncle’ In This Era of #MeToo
We are living in a time of #MeToo and #TimesUp and women are coming forward with grievances and call outs of men in power who committed anything from inappropriate behavior to rape. As more stories are shared, more courageous women are coming forward from a place of both healing and accountability of the men. The latest man in power under intense scrutiny is a 2020 presidential candidate, former vice-president Joe Biden. In this millennial generation, Biden has been labeled a ‘Creepy Uncle‘. The accuser, former Nebraska state legislator, entrepreneur Lucy Flores who has advocated against sexual harassment in the past.
In a personal essay Flores had written for The Cut, Flores openly spoke of Biden’s inappropriate behavior during a 2014 Democratic event. Biden was invited to attend and endorse Flores. Minutes prior to her taking the stage, in the speakers room she recalls standing while prepping for her speech when she felt Biden put his hands on her shoulders and nuzzle up behind her, smelled her dry shampooed hair as she recalled she didn’t have time to wash it that day – – “I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?”
Lucy Flores made national headlines back in 2014 as she entered the political spotlight. She became one of Nevada’s first Latina state lawmakers serving only two terms in the Assembly and ran for a 2016 congressional seat however lost. She entered the political scene at a young age – similar to current Congressional Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two Latinas changemakers. However, Flores’s upbringing was rough – her mother left the family while Flores was still a young girl. Flores is one of 13 children, with all six teen sisters getting pregnant, two brothers in prison and two brothers killed in gang violence. With hardly a support structure for a first-generation, Mexican-American and growing up in a negative environment – gang life and other bad influences entered Lucy’s life. Flores was in the ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline, at 15 she was a juvenile delinquent and by 17, had dropped out of school – incarceration was on the horizon for Flores. It was a meeting with a parole office who gave her a chance, to change the course of her life, receiving a GED and eventually, a law degree. Her last year of law school, she decided to run for Assemblywoman with the mission to help her Nevada community and change the way juvenile incarceration is handled.
After Flores’s claims became public through her personal essay, immediate disbelief and questioning of ‘her timing’ came into play. Some political pundits calling her a ‘racist’ and a ‘fraud’. Many came to 2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden’s defense claiming photos of Biden and other women were taken out of context. Joe Biden may be an “old-timer” as supporters have labeled him. However, in this era of #MeToo do men ‘the old-timers’ especially need to catch up? Critics and advocates of sexual harassment believe so. House speaker, Nancy Pelosi is a Biden supporter believes his act won’t ‘disqualify’ him for presidential candidacy and had offered a suggestion on ‘perception vs. intention’. Pelosi says Biden should of initially responded: “I’m sorry that I invaded your space,’ because people have different perceptions of appropriate communication.”
Biden has since responded several times in a ‘non-apology apology’ style, but promises changes, especially in light of the times and that ‘social norms’ are changing.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
Flores has received Democratic support for her claim. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris and also a 2020 candidate, Julian Castro had this to say, “we need to live in a nation where we can hear her truth’. For many women who come forward with claims of mistreatment and abuse, listening to women is the first step and believing ALL women is critically important.
Today, Lucy Flores is an attorney, advisor and entrepreneur. She hasn’t given up fighting for systemic change and is an advocate for the status of media representation of Latinas with the Luz Collective.