BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: José Morales, national constituency director for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign

By POLITICO Staff

How/where are you celebrating your birthday and with whom? “I’ll be in D.C. celebrating Congressional Black Caucus week! I’ll also have a chance to be with my best friend, Liz, and a host of other folks grabbing dinner, probably somewhere on U Street. There will definitely be dancing at some point. Probably at all points.”

How did you get your start in politics? “After college, I joined the New Organizing Institute as a voting rights researcher, just a few weeks before Shelby County v. Holder. I bounced around in different positions while NOI was around, and then I really fell into politics after a cycle at the DCCC, where I was Kelly Ward’s executive assistant for the 2016 cycle. Then I joined her to build the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and now I’m very happily at Pete for America!”

What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading now or you’ve recently finished? And why? ‘How to Be an Antiracist,’ by Ibram X. Kendi. I didn’t learn about the term anti-racist until a few years ago, and Professor Kendi caught my attention when Liz first told me that he started an anti-racist institute at my alma mater, American University.

“I think we need to be real about what racism has done to all of us, but we also need to be real that there can be a world after and without white supremacy. This is something that Pete’s Douglass Plan for the empowerment of black Americans hits -- in this urgent moment, meeting racism with justice and honesty is essential to mending our wounds. I’m reading this book now because instead of operating from a place of guilt, shame and despair -- where I think a lot of folks in my life are experiencing racism whether they’re black or not -- [it’s] operating from a place of action.”

What’s a trend going on in the U.S. or abroad that doesn’t get enough attention? “Libraries! For real, the use of libraries is actually kind of revolutionary right now. There’s no other public utility like it, and I don’t think we’re able to conceive of inventing something like it today. Millennials use it more than any other generation, and the usage is actually going up. It’s in the same school of things unironically making a comeback like vinyl or jean jackets.”

How’s the Trump presidency going? “Every single day it becomes more apparent that we need to change the channel. It’s why I packed my bags and moved to work for Pete. I love D.C.; I have a tattoo of it to prove it. But we really are running out of time to position this country to embody its highest ideals. That is going to take, as Pete says, generational change.”

What’s a fun fact that people in Washington might not know about you? “I have no idea how to whistle, which is funny because I sang for 20 years in various choirs and I’m really musical outside of my day job. I think my friends are excited I have one less way to annoy them when I have music on my mind (which is 24/7).”