This reflection was written before Election Day, before it was announced that Donald J. Trump was, in fact, President Elect. In the weeks following the election, activists throughout the country have organized to push back on the policies of a forthcoming Trump White House. In these days, may Monse’s words serve as a call to action.
By Monse Ramirez
“Mexicans are criminals”
In December, 15 years ago I became a criminal … A six year old child uprooted from her soil. I boarded that plane with the passport of another child, accompanied by a woman, the child’s mother, not my own. “If they ask you, tell them I’m your mother.” Tears still in my eyes, mourning the loved ones left behind.
The plane flew far away from the only place I had ever known, the very place that I took my first steps, the first place that my heart learned to love. I said goodbye to my Mexico. We flew over that roaring river. The river that is witness to the last breaths of the ones who try to conquer it. The river that uproots the trees on its river bank and with those trees, the secrets of stolen innocence.
“Make America Great Again”
Even before I even got to the event, I could see the anger in the Trump supporters’ eyes, as they looked at me–a brown girl holding a sign that read “Immigrants Make America Great.” While attempting to cross the street I quickly learned about Trump’s hate first hand. An older woman nearly ran me over, while others yelled “Trump for President!” Men in large pick-up trucks revved their engines as I cautiously walked by. Standing there with my people in front of the venue was so scary. The comments of the Trump supporters will forever stay with me because I had never experienced that much hate directed towards me. The hate was plain to see. One woman looked me up and down as if I had a disease. I held back the tears, the very same tears that I’ve had to hold back when I heard “This is America, speak English” Walking through the crowd, I was pushed as if I were nothing.
My very existence provoked that hate.
“Go Back to Mexico”
That’s what they shouted. “Sin papeles y sin miedo.” That’s what I wanted to shout back. “No Papers, No Fear.” As many times as I say that, it will never be true. I’m scared everyday of my life. I am scared when my parents don’t come home from work at the time they’re supposed to be back. I’m scared of police checkpoints. I’m scared to answer the door. I’m scared to fill out forms. I’m scared when people ask me about my immigration status. I am scared to live in this country—land of the free and home of the brave. But I am more scared of being sent back to a country that no longer knows my scent. A language that no longer welcomes my foreign accent.