Over a year after the 2016 presidential elections, I am still in denial. Sometimes when I hear a new White House scandal on the news, I feel like I am living in a never-ending nightmare. I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when news of Hillary Clinton’s loss was announced. I still have a hard time saying President Trump. Even as I write this, I am wondering how we as Americans will celebrate this 4th of July. Will we continue to ignore the immigrant children at our border? Will we continue to support policies that take away peoples’ human rights? Will we stand by while our ideals of American independence are destroyed?
I live in Indiana, which is considered a politically ‘red’ state. Indiana voted almost 60% majority Donald Trump and we were the first state to announce our position during the elections. Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, we also gave you Mike Pence, America. You’re welcome. People who know I live here ask me all the time if I experience racism or religious prejudice in Indiana. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had any off the wall experiences. Let’s be honest, I’d probably be in jail right now if I had.
But what I do experience almost every day is the constant reminder that America has a long way to go, and so far, we’re going backward. I see confederate flags waving on trucks and porches around Indiana that weren’t there before the elections. I am confronted by those red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats at the grocery store and the local park with Diari. So no, I haven’t directly experienced the pain of this new Trump Nation, but I definitely feel its consequences every day.
“No One is Illegal On Stolen Land”
Our July 4th Independence Day is just around the corner, and it’s got me thinking about my journey and the journeys of the millions of immigrants still trying to build a life in this country. I came to this country at fourteen years old. By sheer luck, I was born in a country that I love, but that did not have the opportunities that I could find in a country like the United States. Growing up in Guinea, my friends and I all dreamed of immigrating to the U.S. Every African family’s goal was to send their kids to the U.S. for a better life, starting with ‘a better education.’
Yes, some of us come here and get caught up in the lifestyle, but for the most part, we work hard for our education, our livelihood, and our piece of the American Dream. It is incredible to me now to watch children being separated from their parents and detained in camps like zoo animals just because they are considered “immigrants”. I often ask myself what would have happened if my immigration looked more like theirs. What would I have done? And how will I explain this history to my own daughter?
The United States of America has given me more opportunities than my parents could have even dreamed when they took the chance to come here. Now, while I still love my home country, I take pride in growing up in the United States. I want to see America live up to its true potential.
I try not to get political on the blog, but our current political climate is affecting all of our lives and this is a lifestyle blog after all. So I guess my point in writing this is just to encourage us to have the difficult conversations we need to have to understand what is going on, how it affects us and those around us, and what we can do, if anything.
Walking around surrounded by racists, celebrating a sexist and prejudice president, and devastating families is not the America I dreamed of when I was young, and I believe this country can do better. It’s up to us to change it. This 4th of July, I am going to do a few things to express how I feel as an immigrant on independence day in this nation of Trump-loving, brown and black skin-hating Americans. I pledge to 1. write to my congressman; 2. donate to immigrant organizations; 3. celebrate my journey as an immigrant to the United States of America.
In this crazy political climate, we need to remember: Immigrants are people. Immigrants have families and hopes and dreams. Immigrants are our neighbors. Immigrants are our ancestors. Immigrants are the backbone of this country. Immigrants are America.
We are not Trump Nation: America is a Nation of Immigrants