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A Trump presidency and a curious, hopeful journalist

by on December 4, 2016

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential elections was disappointing for me, but not surprising. I credit that entirely to books I’ve read like, Iron Cages and The Half Has Never Been Told, in Professor McBride’s “Covering Race” class. The structure of our society was built for the white  man by our (racist) founding fathers and much of that foundation has remained unchanged. That’s why Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” appealed to so many white people in America.

It’s not to say that I could predict a Trump presidency. I was also paying attention to my Facebook timeline and reading the left-leaning articles it suggested to me. I would sometimes avoid video clips or articles with Trump because I was sick of them. I couldn’t take him seriously.

Even during election day, I spent most of it with ease. It wasn’t until we watched Jorge Ramos’ documentary for Fusion in McBride’s class that I started to worry.

I realized that I don’t know the midwest and the south at all. I don’t know the fear little children with undocumented parents from Central America live within Texas or Arizona. Even though my sister is undocumented, we live in Massachusetts and our family is from the Caucuses. We’re privileged not to have to worry about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) knocking on our door.

I went to bed early feeling defeated after watching the polls on the television screen. There was no point in crossing my fingers and hoping for a swing state to vote Hillary. It was over.

I woke up in tears at 5 am after scrolling through my Facebook feed via my phone to see the results.  “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is probably done for,” I thought. My sister’s own application for DACA had been tied up in courts since 2014. But there are students at universities and colleges nationwide who rely on it for their education now.

I felt scared for myself and everyone Trump and his supporters stand against. Was it safe to be visible anymore?

But in some way, I felt excited to prove my ability to write even more. This time, it felt urgent.

The tension between the polarized left and right has been brewing for a while. And in McBride’s words, we’ve opened the pandora’s box.

Now that the hate crimes have surged, people are paying attention.

I had classmates and professors apologize to me about my sister’s immigration situation throughout the day . I couldn’t help but feel strange about that because it wasn’t about me. But also, for the first time, my peers were actively talking about immigration.

Nine days later, over 600 students, faculty and staff gathered outside of the Student Union in demand of transforming UMass Amherst into a sanctuary campus, meaning police wouldn’t be able to demand a student’s citizenship status unless compelled to do so.

UMass was one of the 150 colleges nationwide that staged walkouts that called for safety for undocumented, refugee and international students. It came in response to President-elect Trump’s 100 day action plan.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy responded the next day via email with, “We have no plans whatsoever to discontinue in-state resident tuition for DACA students,” and that UMass police does not gather citizenship or immigration status on any student.

We, journalists and activists, are living through one of the most active times in political history. I believe we have the power to educate and rewrite history.

 

 

 

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