I have been quiet for a while. Contemplative.
Every moment I have words of worry, of fear, of potential hope running through my head.
On November the 8th, we failed those that didn’t have a voice.
While we argue over small matters and pick and choose our options, there are those of us who cannot choose, who wait by the sidelines and hope for the best.
I am crushed because we have failed you.
My Hispanic students, we have failed you. My immigrant, LGBTQ, disabled, Hispanic, black, Muslim, minority friends, we have failed you.
And I am so dreadfully sorry.
It’s terrifying and sad that the people in this nation lack empathy, something I teach third graders in my very classroom. You may not be an immigrant, Hispanic, Muslim, black, or someone who identifies as LGBTQ, but you CAN put yourself in their shoes.
To the rest of you, myself included, you don’t realize how privileged you are. I know I didn’t until now. You did not choose this life, it chose you. You were born into the “right” race, “right” gender, “right” religion, “right” country. You are LUCKY and, unbeknownst to you, you have PRIVILEGE if you can walk down the street without fear, if you can wear clothing of your choice, if you can vote for your candidate.
And while you carry on, with your perceived every day life, there are those of us, yes, US, that fought to simply have a work permit in the United States. There are those of us who boldly wear scarves to practice their religion. There are those of us who proudly speak a language other than English.
So while you and I, the privileged ones, cutely joke about leaving the country and playfully wish for a representative to care more about whether or not we can own guns, there are those of us who do not joke and cannot wish because they are stricken with terror. And because they CANNOT. They do not have this option.
This is not just a preference; it is a way of life. It is being torn from your family. It is the destruction of confidence. It is losing your job, your license, your house. It is living in fear of your own safety. It is the constant worry about those you love. It is the uprooting and yanking away from a place you call home. It is the annihilation of your very life as you know it.
This part of us, these wonderful, beautiful, diverse people, are HUMAN. You are NO MORE HUMAN than they are. So, while you have been handed a deck full of luck, they have been handed a deck that is stacked against them. They are forced into difficult situations, hard work, proving themselves, fighting for identity, and struggling for the privilege that we were simply handed.
I look at these friends and I see BETTER examples of human than I have ever been. I see MORE qualified versions of United States citizens in these people than any I have ever encountered. Let me speak candidly: I have the luxury to vote or not to and I feel safe, while my friends are working with their local governments, speaking at universities, and addressing the community from which I teach. I am less than you are because you had to work for these opportunities, you had to work for these rights, you had to earn respect. I was handed it.
And so, this election divides us. Not because I disrespect the platform of Democracy, not because I am bitter on small issues or because I disagree with your vote. It is a division on basic human rights. It is a moral chasm between your beliefs and mine.
I will not support this president. He is not mine. What I WILL do is to continue this fight against racism, misogyny, discrimination, and hate. I will NOT move away. I WILL be your voice, if you will have me. I WILL speak for my students, for my friends, for my family that cannot.
And when our voice is heard, there will be a new tomorrow. Until then, as Obama has lovingly, said, “The sun will rise in the morning,” and I want you to know, SO WILL WE.