Washington resident Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, has performed with the Washington National Opera at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and toured with highly respected dance groups, including the José Greco Company. In addition, she has instructed students at the Oxford Academy of the Arts, the Georgetown School of Ballet, and the DC Dance Collective.A dedicated public servant, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere has spent the last 20 years working as an attorney in the Civil Rights and Criminal Divisions of the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Currently, she serves as an Attorney-Advisor in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division. During her lengthy DOJ tenure, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere has represented the United States in the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights and Voting Sections and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section and the Office of International Affairs.In addition, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere has served as a trainer and advisor for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. In the Ivory Coast, she met with Western and Central African government officials and political parties to discuss resolving election-related disputes. She also assisted the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with drafting its parliamentary election code and worked with Romanian election officials on the United States’ voting rights laws and enforcement practices.During her career, Ms. Lorenzo-Giguere has participated in activities that merited letters of commendation from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the US Department of State, and Florida’s Office of the Governor. She has accepted multiple commendations, meritorious and special achievement awards, as well as received the Walter W. Barnett Memorial Award. Her civil rights advocacy brought acknowledgements from the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors and Navajo Election Commission, as well as the Vietnamese Federation of San Diego.
Politicians are notorious for pulling out all the stops to get their points across, especially during political campaigns. Unfortunately, their desire to be heard often clouds their judgment when it comes to creating campaign speeches and materials, and politicians sometimes fall back on hurtful stereotypes to present their opinions on various topics. In one of the most recent cases, Michigan senatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra released a campaign advertisement attacking his opponent, Debbie Stabenow, for her spending habits. The ad depicted a young Asian woman biking through rice fields, talking happily in broken English about China’s economy getting stronger while the U.S. economy gets weaker. The ad was also accompanied by a webpage replete with Chinese stereotypes, including gongs, lanterns, and a fan that prominently featured an image of Stabenow’s face. The ad, which debuted during February’s Super Bowl game, attracted backlash from both sides of the political spectrum, both of which decried the offensive tactics. Unfortunately, the fact that this advertisement was approved in the first place indicates a deeper problem in the U.S. Today's politicians still depend on stereotypical language and imagery to make an impact on public opinion. In fact, presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have both been taken to task recently by the public for using offensive stereotypes in their campaign speeches. Whether these political candidates will suffer long-term consequences for their actions remains to be seen. Hoekstra’s team has since pulled the ad and redirected the offensive website to his official campaign site. Additionally, Hoekstra’s popularity in the polls has slipped since the ad was released, with as many as 46% of the voters saying that the commercial made it less likely for them to vote for him. About the Author For over two decades, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere has worked as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. She is the co-founder of the DOJ Asian Employees Association.