We are Not Welcome Here, But We are Here to Stay
By Emily Arce-Chang (Senior residing in San Antonio, TX)
My mother is a wise woman. She has grown in this country, as both an immigrant and a citizen. Tense, she held me in her arms on November 8th as a violent red swept the country. She was not fearful of the man running, but the mass majority of individuals supporting.
At the age of 20, she travelled 7,700 miles to the United States. Here, she was promised freedom and equality and the right to pursue her own happiness. Here, she was promised a land that would teach her children kindness and compassion and acceptance. Here, she would settle her life and cherish the American ideal, pursuing a patriotic pride and citizenship. I grew up in America, a first generation immigrant. I grew up on American culture: on Ballpark hotdogs and the Star Spangled Banner. I have been proud to call this country my own, and proud to be a citizen. I have been loved and nurtured by this country, and I have found my home.
But this is not the land my mother and I have come to love. This is not a land where minorities may prosper. When Mr. Trump was voted president-elect, minorities across the country understood this message: you are not welcome here. When half the country voted for a man who has nearly a dozen rape allegations, one of which was a child, the country told its little girls ‘you are worth nothing and you are powerless’. When half the country voted for a man who believes climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, the country told its Asian citizens and immigrants ‘you are liars and you hold nothing but mendacity’. When half the country voted for a man who called Mexican immigrants ‘rapists and thieves’, the country told its Mexican families who immigrated for a safe life ‘you are the poison of society and you are a pest to Americans’. When half the country voted for a man whose running mate has openly advocated for the jailing of homosexuals, the country told its LGBT community ‘you are not afforded any rights and you are defying the natural order by whom you choose to love’. When half the country voted for a man whose running mate advocates conversion therapy, the country told its LGBT community ‘you are disgusting and you are not accepted’. When half the country voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, they told their minority citizens and people, ‘this is no longer the land of the free. You are not welcome here’.
We are not welcome here, but we are here to stay. This country was founded on the diversity of its population and the tenacity of its peoples. We will not falter; we will not fail. We will protect our fellow citizens. We will ensure that the world we leave is kinder than the world we received, and we will ensure the safety of our children. We have not come this far to see this country violate its beings. This was the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the same shall charge the fire.
My mother is a wise woman. After holding me in her arms, she whispered ‘the sun will rise again tomorrow’. We will love, we will heal, and we will fight the good fight.