If you have young children or grandchildren, you’ve probably had some difficult conversations with them since the election.
My granddaughter Genesis is 9 years old. She was born in this country while her mom was a legal permanent resident. The day after the election, she went about her routine and was on the way to her 3rd grade class. As soon as she got in the car with her mom and little sister, she asked, “Mami, who won the election?”
I’m sure my daughter’s stomach dropped. Just like yours did on election night.
My daughter gave her the news, immediately Genesis started crying like she lost something precious. My daughter asked her why she was crying and her response "because we will be forced to leave Boston!" Her mom reassured her that she should not be worried because she is a citizen of this country. “You were born here – you have all the rights to stay,” but her response was, “I know but you don't and I don't want you to leave! I am still too little to take care of my little sister… I need you here!”
As a woman, immigrant, mother, and person of color, I am afraid for my communities. The new leader of this country represents some of the darkest sentiments on which this society is built. In this campaign, we learned the racism, homophobia, patriarchy and white supremacy run deeper than we imagined.
My family is known in the immigration circles as a FIX family– one with members of various legal statuses. Many members of my family have a more permanent status – native-born citizens, naturalized citizens, and some with Permanent Residence status (aka a Green Card). Some members of my family are more vulnerable – either with Temporarily Protective Status, which is renewed every 2 years or 18 months, some that qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and some that are Undocumented. We need to feel protected as a family, and we need to feel protected as a community.
I am afraid, but the warrior in me says this is not the time to surrender – this is the time to change, to be strategic, to study the enemy carefully, to plan, and of course to evaluate. The work ahead of us won't be easy, but it is needed, and we shall overcome together!
At United for a Fair Economy (UFE), we’ve taken some time to process and strategize together. As you know, we’ve taken on the issues of inequality and racism for 20 years. We consider ourselves a ‘movement support’ organization, and right now our movements need more support than ever. We’re asking tough questions, and thinking through our role in the fight for social and economic justice in this new era.
We’ll be announcing more in the upcoming days – so stay tuned.
Until then, I want to share the same advice that was shared with my staff at UFE:
Firstly, take care of yourself and your family. Many of us are still processing last week’s news and its impact on our families. Many of us are emotional or discouraged, and have family members that are. Be mindful of them, and celebrate each other. Look for signs of hope wherever and whenever you can.
Secondly, find others and build with them. We all have a role to play in our freedom. Find a group that is doing important work near you and get involved!
Thirdly, commit to sustaining UFE’s work for the long term. We know that the racism and inequality will not be uprooted overnight. It will be a process of learning, mobilizing, and growing over the long-term. We’re a small but nimble group, and we rely on the support of people like you to keep the doors open and our movement growing.
Lastly, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what keeps you going in the days ahead. As a key supporter of UFE, I’d love to hear what matters most to you as we build a stronger racial and economic justice movement together. Write to me at the address on this letter or email me at [email protected].
Thank you for being part of the movement for a Fair Economy.
En la lucha / In the struggle,