Thursday, November 10, 2016

Updated (Nov. 11): Asian/Americans defiant in face of Trump's triumph

MANY CIVIL RIGHTS organizations representing communities of color across the country were as shocked as all lot us when Donald Trump upset the presidential bid of Hillary Clinton.

"We will not flee this nation that we call home, and we will not abandon our dream for a world that is just, inclusive and equitable. We must and we will fight for our clients, our families, our communities, our country – for the undocumented, the working poor, the incarcerated; for those who face racism and racial profiling; for those who struggle to speak English or wear a hijab or turban in public; for those amongst us who are LGBT," read a statement from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA. 

"We will not give into fear. Instead, we will draw from it to make us stronger and more powerful, and we will work harder than ever to protect what we have already won and to advance opportunities for those who are at the margins."


***
Senator-elect Kamala Harris had just celebrated her own victory in becoming the first Indian/American elected to the U.S. Senate for the state of California, had to use the moment to calm her supporters.

"Our ideals are at stake right now, and we all have to fight for who we are,” she said in a speech far more somber than most victory addresses. “I believe this is that moment in time for our country, where we are collectively being required to look in the mirror, and with furrowed brow, we are asking a question: Who are we? In California, I believe the answer is a good one: We are a great country.”

“It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant,” Harris continued. “Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are."

***



***

"WE ARE so disappointed in the outcome of this election, but we respect the democratic process and will work with the Trump administration to better the lives of all working people," stated American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) International Vice President and APALA National President Johanna Puno Hester. "Now more than ever we need to ensure that our communities are not victimized by Islamophobic, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric and actions. We need to hold America to a higher standard."

APALA Executive Director Gregory A. Cendana declared: "We’re hurting, our communities our hurting, but we won't stop fighting. Under a Trump administration, we're going to have to stand strong to fight for the issues we care about. Immigration. Black Lives Matter. Ending Islamophobia. We're taking a stand for our communities. Seeing where the hearts and minds of Americans truly lie is quite frightening. But we cannot stop now because our work to dismantle this white supremacist system becomes that much more important.”

Monica Thammarath, APALA 1st Vice President and Senior Liaison at the National Education Association (NEA), added: "This is an incredible step backwards for our country. A lot has to be said to elect a candidate who has ran a campaign on racism, misogyny, and xenophobia instead of electing the most qualified candidate in our lifetime. We must take this as a call to action and work harder than ever with local communities to strengthen the bases we have built this election year – particularly in Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, and other states – during the next four years so that in 2020 we have a president who understands and elevates our issues.”



***

"We elected a man who has stated that, as President, he will immediately deport 11 million undocumented Americans – and their families," said a statement from Define American, headed by the country's most outspoken undocumented American, Jose Antonio Vargas. "He is also married to a formerly undocumented immigrant. We have hope that the personal relevance of our immigration system’s problems to our president-elect may provide common ground where we can meet to begin healing our divided country, together.

"In the meantime: all of us, documented and undocumented, have the power to decide how we treat our neighbors. Those of us with citizenship who are protected by the Constitution must come forward as allies. Your brothers and sisters who are undocumented need to know who you are. You must show up for them in the coming days and years."


***

"Let us channel our anger and grief toward constructive and innovative strategizing. Yes, this is a crisis, and it is clear that business as usual cannot continue in the racial justice movement or anywhere else," read a statement from Race Forward.

"We at Race Forward will not go silent or cower in fear. This country belongs to all of us, and we can unify it under the principles of compassion and inclusion. Doing so may require more from us than we have had to give in two generations or more. It will not be easy, but there are victories to come.

"Even in the midst of this backlash, we can celebrate the fact that around the country progressives have won important local elections and ballot initiatives, including paid sick leave, minimum wage increases, background checks for gun purchases, and marijuana legalization. Racist sheriff Joe Arpaio was denied a seventh term in Arizona, and a number of progressive candidates won their local elections, including the first African-born Muslim immigrant elected to Portland, Maine’s city council. And we can celebrate the fact that our communities are here to stay. We will look out for each other and face the challenges together."