First I want to acknowledge that there are many of you in my familia who are already taking action invite you to connect with me for solidarity. Second, I invite all of my familia to have discussions with me about how we can make a difference.
For those of you who are not sure how you can possibly make a difference right now. I know this place. The questions "What can I possibly do that would actually change things?" "What's the point in fighting when the opposition is so huge and powerful?" "Aren't there better people than myself to be doing this?" "Is it really as bad as they say?" "Will I overreact and then feel stupid or silly after?" "What if people want to argue with me?"
I started asking myself these questions when I came out as queer in high school and have asked myself ever since, even since I have committed myself to speaking out and taking action when groups of people or individuals are targeted, oppressed, bullied, and killed by those holding power. These doubts still come up for me. HOWEVER, this is not a reason to do nothing. This is not a reason to do nothing. I repeat, this is not a reason to do nothing.
So I'm going to try to answer some of these questions for you and encourage you to take action. Oppression happens partly because the status quo allows it to. Because we think that we are powerless. We are not powerless.
"What can I possibly do that would actually change things?"
Read/Listen/Watch reliable news sources: New York Times, BBC, Washington Post, NPR. Here's a link to "5 real things you can do right now to fight Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban."
*The actions listed will work for many of the existing and upcoming Executive Orders and unjust decrees in the days and months to come.
"What's the point in fighting when the opposition is so huge and powerful?"
I fight for you, my familia. I fight for my community. I fight for people who are targeted and systematically held down by the powers that be. I don't have kids, but I fight for yours and your grandchildren and their kids and their kids and the many generations that will follow. I also fight to honor our ancestors who fought and lived and for those who fought and died so that we may be here. They fought even though it seemed like a futile fight. And here we are because of their collective and individual strength and conviction even against all odds.
I fight because in the words of Assata Shakur, "It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains." And in the words of Neo, "I fight because I choose to."
"Aren't there better people than myself to be doing this?"
I think there are probably many people who are better than me to be doing this. They are better because they've been doing it longer, they have endured more than I can possibly imagine, they know how to network and motivate, and many more reasons. One thing that has always been true, leaders never win alone. They need us all to hold space and show up and make calls and speak out. YOU ARE NEEDED.
"Is it really as bad as they say?"
Yes. Check out the news sources listed above.
"Will I overreact and then feel stupid or silly after?"
Wouldn't it be worth it? I'd much rather be wrong about all of this, but I know what I see. People who are here legally are being detained and deported. (not that I believe people are legal or illegal) It's already happening. Children are being detained and separated from their families. Think about any five year old you know and imagine if it was them. I've been told my whole life that I'm selfish for disrupting the comfort of others with my responses to injustices. I've been told that I'm over dramatic, that I'm too PC, that I am overreacting, that I need to stay out of others' business. I don't care anymore. All I care about is not allowing injustices to be swept under the rug. All I care about is the safety and basic needs of my human family being met.
"What if people want to argue with me?"
It'll suck often and you don't have to engage more than you are able to. I hate conflict. I hate when people are mean. I hate when I don't have the right words to convince someone of something or explain things in an academic way. What I hate more than that is white supremacy/racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ablism, classism, police brutality, xenophobia. It's worth the discomfort and pain to speak out and up for each other. This is not a time to be quiet. It's just not.