Is it safe for me there?
I was asked this the day after the election by a friend who has plans of moving to America. I honestly did not know how to answer her.
My mother came to America with nothing and no one. She didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t alive, she didn’t know who I was or who I would be, she didn’t even know I would ever exist. But she did what she did for the hope of me. She sacrificed what she did for the hope of my life and my future. She put her hopes and dreams in America so that her children’s hopes and dream could become a reality.
What do I tell this friend of mine who is about to put her hopes and dreams into today’s America? This America is very different than the America my mother came to.
I’m scared, I won’t lie. As a woman, as a minority, as the child of immigrants, I am full of a fear I haven’t known before. I fear for my brother who is six feet tall, has dark skin, and listens to loud music in his car. I fear for my mother who speaks with an accent. I fear for my friends who are a part of the LGBT communities, for my friends who are Muslim, for my friends who are minorities. I fear those who rely on Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. I fear for those who have no voice and feel they have lost their champion.
But, I have started to ask myself, is the fear well founded?
To be honest, yes. But this fear isn’t as volatile as I once thought it was. I first thought this fear was like a light switch, all of a sudden it’s on at full force. Now I realize it’s like a gas stove on low. Always on, always on fire, always a little bit dangerous. But I can control it, I have power over it. And so do you.
The people of America are good people. Complex, but good. We are not defined by a political party, we are not defined by a single woman or man, we are not defined by our election results. We are dream makers and havers. We are a country built on and powered by diversity. We are the hope of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors.
You are not your candidate, you are not the election results, you are not your fears.
Am I scared? You bet, but I can control that fear, I can use that fear for fuel. I will stand up to bullies, I will fight for equality, I will do everything I can to create a safe world for my friends and family and the strangers I pass on the streets everyday. I will put my hopes and dreams into America just as my mother did before me. I will do this not because my candidate lost, not because I am scared, and not because I am angry. I will do this because I am an American and we don’t stay down for long.
Don’t apologize for your happiness and victory, and don’t apologize for your grief and anger. Be kind to one another. Tell your daughters they can be president, teach your sons that females have worth. Stand up to bullies, stand up to inequality, stand up to injustice. Be a voice for the voiceless and fight for the weak. Understand our diversity is what makes us great and that divided we will fall.
Choose strength over feelings of defeat. Choose laughter over tears. Choose love over hate, always.