Friday, November 11, 2016

Fight not Flight

One of my former students (who I taught in MS) wrote the following at attending a peaceful protest at her university:

So grateful I had the opportunity to fight for what I believe in. It was not a pity party or a rage fest; it was about uniting against bigotry, standing up for each other, and not being afraid to be ourselves.
To those who are marginalized, I'm so sorry that there is so much hate in our country. I will forever have your back.
To those with privilege, thank you for using it to make sure our voices get heard, rather than speaking for us. 

#NotMyAmerica #NeverStopFighting #SiSePuede
She also took this video footage of the protest (seen and described above) at her university on the East Coast.


A friend of mine from high school (MN) wrote the following:

It's like that constant pain of a broken heart. Like the boyfriend that broke up with you before you thought it could ever really happen. I've never been so afraid to be Jewish before. We've come so far to have to be pushed so far back. I have constant fear for so many. I'm constantly questioning and wondering if there are truly this many people with such hatred, greed, and violence in their heart or has it been recently created. I fear for my friends; I fear for myself; I fear for our country. I keep hoping this is just a nightmare. I keep hoping the giant puppet master is going to cut the strings from Trump and put him back in the trunk. I don't want to see how this plays out for the next 4 years (Although, I've heard/read people are predicting he'll be assassinated before his term is up).

Another friend from high school (HP) wrote this:

The racism we see now will age out of the population. We're seeing the death throes of the ignorant white rural bubble. They're confused and angry. But the other portion of the population is getting bigger, white percentage of the population is getting smaller, and less racist. And hopefully the DEMs have learned their lesson and will go more populist next time, and not alienate their base. They'll get the Obama turnout back. I hate to say "things will get better" because that sounds like a cop out that everyone says, but yes the next 4 years are going to suck, we need to fight through them and hold out for the better future. Make sure the youth learn the right lessons and are not disheartened, that they learn what are the right ways to treat other people, that they don't get bullied.
A friend and former teacher of mine wrote this to me and I was touched:

I've been thinking about you since the news that we never before fathomed could become a reality actually became a reality. I've been reading your posts on FB (along with the many other messages of despair and utter disbelief) and thinking a lot about what you've said. Let me first and foremost share in those feelings. My sister is gay and living in M----- and my youngest (my -- year-old) is trans, so I have some very real fears and worries in front of me for not only my friends but my own direct family.

Sure, I would pack up and move to France tomorrow... my 2 children and I have French passports in addition to our American ones (though quite honestly, the French are a little behind the times when it comes to trans issues and they will be facing their own election this Spring that could be equally earth-shattering if Marine LePen is successful in putting forth her anti-immigrant/anti-EU agenda that she has been promoting for the past 10 years). But there is so much work to be done HERE and we are so needed. The responsibility falls on us now to change the world for our kids (and I know you have your own to consider too), to radiate love, patience, and dialogue to help us understand one another.

People need to know us, to walk in our shoes, to feel our pain and sorrows, and to extend the olive branch (as difficult that is when we are hurting and fearful for our future). I am still convinced that EDUCATION is the key too. We need to be able to offer a quality education for all our folks out there, and as a fellow teacher, I can say this with full belief in our youth: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING. Keep working with those kids that are changed for the better just from knowing you and knowing that you care about them and their success and that you believe in them. And continue to teach them that their voice matters, no matter what challenges will come their way.

Here are my thoughts for the day. I'm done being sad and scared. I'm prepared to fight. I'm ready to be an ally for anyone who needs it. There is a movement to wear a safety pin to physically display who you can trust in Trump's America. Sometimes there are false allies, and you are never sure who you can trust. I want to talk about an anecdote from this morning.

Earlier this morning, I was at Quick Trip. As I was walking in, I saw a 20 something young man and another young person who was presenting as gender fluid. This individual was wearing make-up and had earrings, a fashionable houndstooth trench coat and skinny jeans. It reminded me of being back in NYC.

ut suddenly, I was looking around waiting for someone to say something to this young person. I saw a few looks of apprehension but instead of minding my own business like I usually do, I was looking out for this person. They must have known I was 'on their team' because when I was getting ready to leave, they and the friend asked if I could drive them to a Sprint store. Normally, I would be suspicious but I thought about it replied 'well I have to get to work otherwise I would' and I meant it viscerally.

Something inside my head told me I had a responsibility to drive them to make sure they arrived at their destination safely without any incident of violence. Why, all of a sudden, do I feel responsible for other people's safety? These were strangers and my heartstrings were pulling at my conscious telling me I had a duty to help these people. I'm sure they made it safely from Quick Trip in the part of the city I was in, but something inside me told me that the new reality does not guarantee this anymore. All of a sudden I felt like a Harriet Tubman figure wanting to make sure these two queer individuals got their safety.

I have realized that if-out of Trump's hate spewing and all of the bigoted incidents that have happened across the nation in the past few days-love and solidarity results then we are better off as a society. If we all wear safety pins and take the pledge to become allies for each other: gay, trans, black, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, Jewish, immigrant, female, gender nonconforming, and all other fill-in boxes, then I welcome the new America. I am ready to fight for every single one of my disenfranchised brothers and sisters. The time to rise up and come together is now (more than ever). Fist raised in the air, this activist is self aware and ready to stand up for human and civil rights.

Safety Pin Ally movement

This is the revolution I have been expecting.  This is the revolution I have dreamt about.  Together, we fight.  Together, we are strong.  There is no us and them.  There is ONLY us!!

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