There’s hope in the air tonight, folks, in what, otherwise, was a somber day.
My city: the most segregated city in the United States, took to the streets following the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of this nation.
The people: sons and daughters of 1930s Unionists, undocumented aliens, immigrants, and the city’s poor-to-elite, banded together, and, from the site of where an unarmed Black man was shot in 2014, marched on.
They marched because they are the un-silent majority who was silenced by the electoral college. They marched because: no Trump, no KKK, no facist/racist USA is the legacy they want to leave behind. They marched because, although they got it wrong in 2016, it’s time to say “never again”.
Next time, they will rally to end the gerrymandering that rendered districts, statewide, re-zoned in favour of Republicans. Next time, they will rally to end the voter ID laws that discriminated against minority persons who could not provide original copies of their birth certificates to receive the state-issued credentials. Next time, they will rally to ensure minority men and women can get from their work place to a voting booth because Election Day should fall on a public holiday or a weekend.
In 2020, they’ll remember that there is no definitive marker of social progress; it’s something for which you will need to always fight.
And, they will fight.
They will fight to ensure there are no barriers to having your voice heard – for the sake of the long-forgotten American minority, and for the sake of the countries who suffer/ed at the stiff hand of American foreign policy.
There are, undoubtedly, many who question the efficacy of these post-inauguration marches. Femme-related, and otherwise.
Yes, Trump is in power, and there is little one can do about the next four years given a Republican majority in the House and Congress.
But, these marches remind us that the masses did not vote for Trump. They remind us that: White silence is violence. They remind us that now – more than ever – we need to support the women, undocumented persons, Muslims, Arabs, refugees, Blacks, and LGBTQI persons whose rights will be stripped away in the coming days.
(In fact, upon writing this article, Trump has already signed an executive order
scaling-back repealing the Affordable Care Act on which ~16mn U.S. citizens rely.)
The marches may only be symbolic, but they have brought hope to my city – a place that is otherwise marred by racial segregation; a place that has lead problems akin to Flint, Michigan; a place that has seen resources cut to the most needy of inner city public schools and the only state-run University.
Tonight, as the fog descended upon us, and raised the city’s temperature to a balmy 3 degrees, Native Americans led us to the next phase. A phase that recognised: the people, united, will never be defeated.
And, I, an Arab-Australian Resident Alien, along with a friend who is undocumented, and a Republican friend who voted Democrat for the first time, marched on in the hope that our city – as a microcosm for the nation – will actually begin to correct its course.