Note:  This week’s post comes from Christian Chicana, Lucero, from Los Angeles.  The following was shared at J4R’s Post-Election Liturgy of Lament service the weekend after the election of Donald Trump.

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I went to sleep last night hoping it was just a nightmare, and when I would wake it would all be over. But this is all too real.

The first thing that went through my mind this morning was “This can’t be happening…” So I checked again only to see that no, my eyes had not failed me nor my brain had not tricked but that yes, the 45th president of the good old United States of America is Mr. Donald Trump. I am shocked, enraged, sorrowed, and mostly in awe of this enormous step back in progress that the people of America have taken. I didn’t know you had it in you…

The first time I experienced fear was when I was 3 years old and my mother and I were living in an old trailer home in Potter, Nebraska. My mom says it was about 3 o’clock in the morning when the beating on the doors began. The next thing I remember was my mom rushing to scramble what little we had into an old trash bag, all the while holding me in her arms. That was the day we had gotten deported. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, nor could I laugh for a handful of days after my mother and I had encountered ICE for the first time. Last night and this morning and everyday there after is no difference.

The second time I experienced fear was when I had to look my mother in the eye and tell her that it had not been the first time I had been sexually assaulted. My stomach pitted into my chest that night and I was never the same. No longer could I go about life without feeling like I had ruined my family and killed my mother’s soul before time had. And every moment thereafter, was a fight. Thankfully, I am amongst the few cases that actually ended in justice as my perpetrator was given his due time.

The third time I experienced fear was in 6th grade when I was walking home from school. I was in uniform, black pants, white collard shirt, and had a cool grey sweater on. I was just beginning to develop physically, so you could say I was still getting use to being in my new skin. I noticed a blue truck had passed by me twice already. The third time I noticed it was right beside me, slowly riding as his hands were near his waist moving in a way I did not understand at the time. My heart sank. As I ran the mile I had left to get home, all I could hear was him screaming from his truck, “You weren’t that good anyway!”

This is a moment in history I will have to one day explain to my future students. One that we will see in our history texts books and one generations in the future are going to ask, “How could we let this happen again?” History is repeating itself, but we have the power to rewrite the outcome and make it GOOD.

I am the immigrant, the sexual abuse survivor, the female, the HUMAN who is scared for her life and that of everyone else who Trump does not think belong in his America. I am the tears that fall from you eyes, filled with false hope, dismay, and hurt. I am the helplessness you feel in the midst of all of this tragedy. In La’kech. Translation: you are my other self.

I know the immediate thought may be to want to leave the country because anywhere else is better than here. But no. I challenge you to stay. Not stay put where you are and sit down and do nothing, but stay here and unite and fight back. If one good thing came out of this entire election season is that now there is not doubt that racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, white supremacy, and all other types of discrimination and forms of oppression are alive and well here in the United States. Trump managed to uncover in a year what the U.S. has been trying to cover up for the past 50 years. The time is now. In a country divided, we must stand united. Stand together and show the world, to show our country that our fight is far from over. This is the steam, the fire, the passion, and the strength we, POC, LGBTQ+, Immigrants, Muslims, Woman, and many others have needed to continue forward.

So please. For the sake of our wellbeing, let’s do this together. Hug your mom, your roommate, your son or daughter, your peer, your professor, and any of your friends who identify as POC, LGBTQ+, an Immigrant, and/or Muslim and tell they matter and that everything they are feeling is valid. Let us hurt together today, but let us rise up and unite tomorrow. We need it. I need it. We may have lost a battle last night, but we will win the war tomorrow.

“They think they can bury us, but they don’t know we are seeds.” We will RISE!

#sisepuede #blacklivesmatter #RISEUP #ourstorymatters #POC #LGBTQ #westandtogether #whiteprivelege #history #LATINOSUNIDOS #muslimlivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #lovetrumpshate

In La’kech,

Lucero, age 19, Los Angeles