On Friday, Donald Trump officially took office in the White House. It was a surreal moment, because despite all the advances we’ve made, the fact that a man like Trump can be president in 2017 is a huge leap backwards. After he won the election, I had hopes that despite running on a ticket that played to people’s fears, he would maybe make changes that were for the good of the majority rather than the few. However, if his cabinet picks are any indication, there is a long road ahead of us. After marching with thousands in downtown Los Angeles this morning, though, I can say that a lot of Americans are fired up and ready to rise to challenge. I have to stress that for my husband and I, along with most everyone who is taking a stand, this is not an issue of one party versus another — rather, a stand for our fellow human beings.
When I think about everything we are now fighting for and the people behind these issues, I can’t help but feel emotional. This presidency and the wheels that have already been set in motion as the result of a campaign based on hate, affect not only me and my family, but I personally know a large number of people who are worried about what this means for their health care, sense of safety, education for their kids, right to marry — the list goes on.
By lending our voices to this fight, we are not “complaining,” “throwing tantrums” or “being disrespectful.” If we silently sit by and watch as the rights of our neighbors are slowly stripped away, where do you draw the line? When is it then finally the right time to take a stand? That’s what is so great about this country. We have the freedom to peacefully protest. To call our local representatives and voice our feelings. If people like Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, and Susan B. Anthony didn’t take a stand, where would we be today?
It’s funny how we can share the quotes and remember the good these people did, but when it comes to taking up the torch in our everyday lives, we hold back. Why? As an immigrant whose own family came to America in search of a better life, my love for this country is great. It does not mean, though, that I will sit on the sidelines when faced with injustice.
I find this quote by Martin Niemöller to be still fitting today:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
When thinking about whether or not to stand up against injustice, I hope to teach my children by example that the time is always now.