The Age of Heroism

by Melanie Davis
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albertoBy Alberto Moreno
On November 8, the impossible happened. The rhetoric of hate won. Trump and his platform of intolorance were elected to the highest office in the land. Trump who for a year talked about deporting “illegal†us won the Presidency of the United States of America. The following morning, immigrant mothers and fathers awoke, in utter disbelief. The impossible made possible. A man who had promised to hunt us down, now given the full and unabridged power of the Presidency. Our President, our Persecutor become. And across America 11 million of us awoke to this new reality. Where our children, our mothers, our daughters and sons are the hunted. We are the persecuted. An army of ICE agents, deputized police officers and the entire machinery of the US poised to hunt our families down. That morning after the election, our brown children, aged 6,7, 8 and 9 came home from school shaken and asked their parents for a briefcase! Baffled, parents asked their young children, why they needed a briefcase?! “Papa, now that Trump is President, he will be sending us back to Mexico. So we need to start packing all of our things.†This is what it sounds like when the President of the most powerful nation on earth sets about to becoming the Persecutor-in-Chief of your young children. And our Dreamers dreams have, overnight, turned to nightmares. Young students whose only interest is to participate in the American dream. Our youth are living in uncertain times. And this threat of having our families torn apart, of sending immigrant-us back to famine, back to civil wars, not of our own making, has created an untenable environment of fear for our children. That what others see as a promise, we experience as a threat of violence against our children and families. What Mr. Trump has done by his hate speech is to create permission, to give rise to a new America in which it is permissible, indeed encouraged to engage in anti immigrant bashing. Trump has emboldened racism and given rise to hate speech against the brown of our god given faces. Our children from Medford to Woodburn, to Hood River to Nyssa, Oregon are being screamed at, spat at, told, that they should go back home! Immigrant students are reporting record levels of racism and many of these children are awaking in the middle of the night, in terror that they will be torn away from their parents, from their brothers and sisters. As a result, children as young as 7 are reporting significant levels of stress and trauma. So much so that these young children are now suffering from PTSD or Post Trump Stress Disorder. Trump has done this by inciting violence against our immigrant children, by creating a political environment where it is permissible for White Americans to act our their fear and hate against our children. Children who had no choice in coming to this country but who nevertheless face being punished by a new President who has financially benefitted from our labor. This is the new and less temperate America many are waking up to. Where hate and fear have been elevated to the highest office. Where America the great, sets the unkind machinery of an unfettered immigration army to terrorize children. It begs the question. What kind of country does America want to be? Is she shuttering her shores. Revoking her invitation to take in “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free?!†Is America defaulting on its promise, turning its back on “the homeless, the tempest tossed?†What is certain, is that the next four years will be difficult for many of our communities. Families will be torn apart in the middle of the night. We will be rounded up and placed in for-profit immigration prisons. All without due process. But not just Mexican us. Muslim Immigrants face a certain and unconfined wrath. There is a new war against our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters. A war emergent, against women and their right to choose. In setting the stage for our persecution, Trump also sets the stage for our inevitable resistance. The ugliness of hate sets the stage for our own beauty and heroism. Because we know that injustice is always the antecedent for justice. This has always been true. But we must fight for it. Defend it. We must in this American moment shed our legacy of apathy. We must cease, through our inaction, serving the great factories of injustice. We must ourselves stop tending the chains of our own servitude. The next four years will require that we step forward to defend and protect our children, our families. Justice does not arrive unasisted upon our doors. We must insist upon it. And in this way, the irony is that the obsencity of a Trump presidency, gives birth to our justice seeking. The injustice of fear makes possible our heroism. Which has always been there, waiting for this moment. We must rise to meet this indecorous moment in American history and work to return America to its intended course of justice and opportunity for all! Together, we can do this.