Trump is president and I am afraid. Sometimes I cry on my way to work or at the warehouse when I'm in a truck all by myself. My boss, bless his pendejo soul, says, "You'll be alriiiiight." Me and my fam, we've always fought that uphill battle—when my single-parent mom didn’t have all the money for rent, or when we rolled cheese into tortillas because that was all we had for lunch, or when my husband and I got up early to strategize which dress shirt was more likely to give him an air of “good immigrant” in front of the judge at immigration court that day. Yet in our daily struggles, we've always said one thing to each other: "You'll be alriiiiight." Today, that blind optimism is gone, knocked straight out of us after months and months of watching a man say his nastiest thoughts out loud for people to cheer at, which they did. Still, we didn't outright believe that hate was all that big. Always, there's that one crazy in the family, and those haters on TV—well, those were just the crazies in the American fam.
And then Election Day. And then the electoral college vote. On New Year's, my husband’s family and mine sat around a table in the home of my son’s godmother eating a late dinner waiting for the countdown. When the clock struck midnight, gloom set in. All of a sudden, our mixed-immigration-status, working-class family became afraid. We shook hands and gave hugs and sipped our drinks and ate our grapes, the normal stuff we do every New Year. We also started a new countdown: 20 days till Trump. That first week, I lived in a haze. I felt a new weight on me, and it took me a bit to snap out. "You'll be alriiiiight," said a dimming voice in the farthest corner of my head.
The week of inauguration, this weight loaded on me again. We weren’t gonna be alright. Friday morning it rained and rained and poured and poured in South Los Angeles. My mom, my brother, my kids, and I ran from our home three blocks to the metro, where we bought umbrellas even though we were already soaked. Downtown, we rushed down Broadway to catch up with marching workers and immigrants. Some 10,000 people had gone out under the rain to show we don't agree with a man who will use all his powers to dehumanize everyone not like him. In the cold and under the water, the workers and immigrants stood tall.
On our way back home, I saw a man come up from a subway station. He was a man in a suit and carried a briefcase. He also donned a familiar red Trump hat. I arched my head forward to help my eyes see better, followed his movements, and turned around in a circle with the stroller I was pushing to keep sight of this man who also wanted to make America great again. Our eyes met. I snickered as loudly as I could. He lowered his gaze and picked up his pace. But I also felt a punch to my gut. Hate lives among us.
The next day, Saturday, was the Women's March, better known in some circles as the white woman's march. In Portland, the NAACP had pulled its support from the march some days earlier after the original all-white leadership turned down Black Lives Matter, Muslim, and immigrant issues for being "too political." I had read about this online, and along with other women of color I associated with on social media, I wasn't sure I was down for the cause of protecting white feminism. Then my sister, the least politically inclined person in the family, asked me if I wanted to go. My sister has suffered the most in our clan, psychologically, physically and emotionally, and I sensed she also knew things wouldn't be alright soon. "Let's go, pues."
At the 103rd Street metro station in Watts, my mom, my two kids, my sister, and I struggled to fit into the packed cars. "I've never seen so many women on the train," whispered my sister. "White women," I added, a bit irritated at their presence. Did they know there had also been a march yesterday in the same space we were all heading to now? "They must be coming from Long Beach," my sister offered. Each station picked up more and more people which delayed the train longer and longer. A block before Pico, someone pulled the emergency cord, opened the doors, and jumped out onto the street. I asked a woman to let me sit down a bit. I felt short of breath and was sweating out a hangover from the night before.
"The march will start at 10 am sharp!" said the Facebook event page. It was almost 10:45 when we finally made it into downtown. We ran out from the train, buckled the kids into strollers, and ran out of the station only to walk into a huge crowd of men, women, kids, black, white, brown, moving east on 7th from Fig. The streets were packed! From south to north on Grand and Olive and Hill and Broadway and Spring! From east to west on 7th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st!
We folded our strollers and handed them to my mom. I put my son on my shoulders and my sister grabbed my daughter’s hand. We followed a crowd walking up Broadway and kept our eyes on the creativity of the homemade banners: “Proud Son of a Nasty Woman,” “Viva La Vulva,” “Nasty Women Rock the World,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Rights,” “My Body, My Choice,” and so on. Here and there a band marched with the crowds, pink hats to the left, right, north, south, down low on children’s heads and up above on youth who climbed onto posts and bus stop shelters. In the crowd, my animosity quickly dissolved as I spotted the signs and people I needed to see to know I belonged: “Up With Respect, Down with BS,” a Mexican flag, a Salvadoran flag, “Empathy Not Apathy,” “End Oppression on Our Homelands,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Water Is Life,” “Muslim Americans Are Real Americans,” “LGBTQ+ Rights Are Human Rights,” Aztec dancers leading a portion of the crowd and “We the People” posters with red-white-and-blue Muslim, Latina, and black women pictured.
Trump supporters tell us to stop whining, that this president was elected and that we're being sore losers. But the real reason for the dissatisfaction with this new president was evident to me on that bright Saturday morning in a massive crowd of Angelenos pouring in from all sections of the county. Trump stands for everything that is wrong in our society. He stands for racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, misogyny, economic corruption, disregard for the environment, and so on. Trump is a menace and his hate is intersectional. He will come for each of us because he can, but he will also come for each us because he's afraid of us. And he should be.
In LA, up to 750,000 people spoke up with their presence. In D.C., too, there were 500,000. Boston had about 150,000; Chicago and New York had near 250,000 each; in Arizona there were 36,000. Around the world, Mexico also participated along with London, Paris, Cape Town, Sydney, and Antartica! Worldwide, more than 2 million people—not just women, not just whites—walked against all types of hate. As the world continues to watch, we must continue to rise for one another. Love for all of humanity trumps hate. And Donald Trump has got to go.