Latest posts by Alex Velazquez (see all)
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Last night, I attended a rally at Los Angeles City Hall in protest of President elect Donald Drumpf. Doesn’t that just sound like something out of a nightmare?
I won’t talk about the minor altercations, the likes of which will inevitably take place at times where tensions are running so high. Mainstream media has taken care of that and we do not need to expand on it. What I want to talk about is the sense of overwhelming unity that could be felt all around. Individuals of all sections of Drumpf’s catalogue of hatred and ignorance showed in support of each other, but with the sweet comes the sour realization of everything we’re at risk of losing.
Looking around at all the different signs made our reality so much more visceral; ‘Love Trumps Hate’, ‘My color does not make me a criminal’, ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘My body, my rights’, ‘Human Beings Are Not Illegal’. Everything we’ve worked so hard for may just as well be set back decades and decades.
A young woman wearing a t-shirt with ‘Rape Survivor’ written on it shouts “don’t grab my pussy!’ and I feel both pride for her for being brave enough to be so vulnerable in front of all these strangers, and heartbreak for all of us rape and sexual assault survivors who have to watch a rapist take office soon. People chanting ‘si se puede!’ fills me with fear for myself and my siblings and all other students who are part of the DACA program. Will we have to leave the country we call home? Will our parents? Rainbow flags swing proudly all over the place and I wonder what will happen to my rights, I think of my friends who have recently been married, will their marriages be outlawed again? Looking around the crowd I quickly realize we’re all thinking the same thing, fearing the same inevitable consequences, but in our fear, our anger, and disillusionment in our government, we find fortitude, and above anything else that is what is felt and what’s important.
I’ve heard many people say what’s done is done, and we can’t do anything about it, organizing and rallying makes no difference because he’s won. I, for one, think that’s a pile of shit. Now is exactly the time to speak up and speak loudly. The next four years will be hell but we need to make it hell for Drumpf as well. We need to quite literally fight for our rights, hold onto them with both hands and shout at the top of our lungs that we deserve them just like everyone else. Please don’t hide away, please don’t go quietly. Be loud and be proud, because our parents didn’t suffer unimaginable hardships crossing borders and risking their lives for us to go back. Women didn’t risk their lives fighting for our right to vote so we can go back and sit quietly while some man decides what we can and can’t do with our bodies. The names of the black lives we’ve lost should not be forgotten. We didn’t fight for Marriage Equality just to let it slip from our fingers. Our Trans brothers and sisters should feel safe and protected. Muslims should not fear for their lives when they step outside because some asshole thinks a hijab is a sign of terrorism. We have to let the not-so-big man coming know that we are not complacent and we will be a roadblock against his volatile rhetoric and actions.
The morning after election night, my mother called me at six AM and I already knew she had not slept. She and my father have recently, by some miracle, become eligible for legal residency after 18 years of waiting for their application to be accepted, however they know they have three children who are in this country under a work permit provided by DACA, which is one of Drumpfs major gripes, and they are scared; scared their children will be deported when they worked so hard so they’d have a future here. I can hear in her voice that she’s upset, I reassure her as best as I can, hang up, and then I get very angry. This isn’t a conversation I ever imagined I would have to have with my parents, and it infuriates me that this inexperienced inept racist gets to strike fear in two of the best humans I know, who like many others have worked their fingers to the bone to put food on the table, have paid taxes in a country that looks down on them. An election should not ignite so much anger–should not inspire fear and tears, yet here we are now.
In November of 2018, the midterm elections will take place; this means all registered voters have a chance to make things just a little bit tougher on this man by getting democrats into The House of Representatives, it may seem pointless right now, but crazier things have happened. Find out who is on the ballot.
Sisters and brothers don’t give up; now more than ever is the time to be proactive, do it for yourselves, your parents, your children, your loved ones who are not eligible to vote. All you third party voters who caused the vote to split, all of you who decided you didn’t want to show up and vote after all, this is your chance to make it right. This might be the most important thing we do in our lifetimes and we don’t want to look back and say we did nothing and lost everything.