Editor's note: In the wake of Donald Trump's victory, hundreds of thousands of Orange County residents are scared shitless at the prospect of his presidency. To offer hope and a map forward, we've invited some of our favorite thinkers from some of the most affected communities—the undocumented, Muslim, LGBT+, women, labor and God—to submit essays on how to resist President Pepe. Enjoy!
“WE MUST ORGANIZE, RESIST AND NOT COMPLY”
Hairo Cortes is program coordinator for Orange County Immigrant Youth United
As I saw the election results [on Nov. 8] alongside my organization's Deportation Defense Organizer, a harsh truth settled in: Donald Trump, the man who skyrocketed to the top of the Republican Party with an overt anti-immigrant agenda, will be president, and he will inherit the most robust and far-reaching deportation force in U.S. history—built by President Barack Obama over the course of eight years.
Since then, an unprecedented level of urgency has reverberated across the undocumented community. Young people, such as myself, who benefit from the work permits and deportation protections offered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Obama was forced to implement by immigrant youth organizers find themselves facing an uncertain future; undocumented immigrants with past criminal convictions of any kind find themselves more vulnerable to deportation under policies that have quickly merged the immigration system with the systemically racist criminal-justice system. And everyone in between finds themselves asking how we will survive the next four years with our community intact.
As an undocumented immigrant, I find myself wrestling with these feelings of uncertainty and danger. As an organizer, I have a few thoughts on how to defend ourselves.
First and foremost, we must maintain unity and hold a firm line. In the same vein that he promised to scrap the DACA program, President-elect Trump recently announced his plan to immediately detain and deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants, a number equal to Obama's eight-year deportation record. In making this announcement, Trump adopted Obama's well-established talking points of going after immigrants with criminal records, which the Migration Policy Institute estimates to be around 800,000.
If our undocumented community is to make it through the next four years, there is nothing more important than to reject the narrative of the Good Immigrant and the Bad Immigrant. If we as a community accept the idea that some of us deserve relief and others deserve deportation, we'll be locked in a race to the bottom that puts the entire community at risk. For DACA beneficiaries, it means rejecting the divisive narrative that we're special compared to other immigrants and that our being in this country is not our fault. It means acknowledging that when politicians talk about criminal immigrants, they are talking about our families, our friends, our neighbors, even us. It means committing to fight like hell for those deemed criminal and deportable.
We accomplish this by holding our leaders accountable and ending California's compliance with immigration enforcement. The greatest lesson I've learned is that nothing facilitates deportations like compliance from local governments. Over the years, LA County's compliance with ICE's Secure Communities, 287(g), and Priority Enforcement Program has made it the leader in funneling our people into the detention and deportation pipeline. While our state government has taken steps to limit the number of people deported under these types of partnerships, Governor Jerry Brown has been too hesitant to take more substantial and effective steps.
Hesitance is not an option, and lip-service support is out of the question. Leaders across California have vowed they'll maintain their cities as sanctuaries in response to Trump. But when they continue to comply with ICE's requests, can we really call them sanctuaries? When Santa Ana continues to profit from detaining immigrants for ICE, we cannot call it a sanctuary.
As our community continues to show that we'll resist whatever Trump throws at us, we must channel some of that energy into dismantling the local and state systems that will help to make his promises a reality. When unjust and racist laws persecute our communities, we must organize, resist and not comply.
* * * * *
“WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS BEFORE”
Hussam Ayloush is executive director of the LA chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
Trump's victory sent a shock wave throughout the American Muslim community, as well as other communities. There are many legitimate concerns about what this means for the future of our community, other minority communities and our country as a whole. In the past few days, many members of the Southern California Muslim community have contacted me to ask what's next and what are we to expect in light of Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout his campaign.
Here are a few reflections:
1. First, we need to rid ourselves of the panic mode that has overtaken some of us. This is not the end of times. Regardless of who won or lost, American Muslims are here to stay in this country. We are proud to be American Muslims. We are not going anywhere. We will not be intimidated or marginalized, and we will continue to mobilize and strive to challenge bigotry, uphold justice, and protect our and everyone's freedoms and rights. Muslims have been a part of the fabric of American society for hundreds of years, and we will not allow the election of any individual to change who we are or the place we call home. Keep your faith.
2. We have been through this before. Right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft subjected American Muslims to many years of abuse, unfair targeting and backlash. Yet we did not give up. We held our ground and fought hard for our rights and freedoms. We engaged the public, elected officials and the courts to expose and challenge abuses. The community came out stronger, more confident and more organized. Today, we are even better equipped to protect our rights. We have bigger organizations, more attorneys, more activists and many more allies.
3. Regardless of what challenges the future holds for our country, know that CAIR has your back. CAIR will continue to fight for your rights, defend the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, and confront the growing atmosphere of Islamophobia in our state and country. The Constitution provides protection for all. It is the anchor that holds the country steady during turbulent times.
4. Unfortunately, hate incidents are on the rise. If you witness or are a victim of any hate incident, report it to CAIR and the appropriate authorities.
5. The country is not anti-Muslim. In fact, many Muslims were elected to various offices throughout the country. Half the country is vocally opposed to Trump's divisive and bigoted rhetoric. And that does not mean the other half are bigoted; actually, the majority voted for Trump for economic reasons, sadly despite his divisiveness. Join us in working with the growing organized, vocal network of politicians, media professionals, interfaith activists and common people who are making it clear they stand in solidarity with Muslims and all others who are targeted by the Trump rhetoric.
6. Today's challenge offers us and our fellow Americans an opportunity to continue to increase our efforts to stand for justice and challenge bigotry and injustice. Change is a long process, filled with ups and downs. Those who achieve success and realize the change they want are the ones who withstand and persevere, the ones who don't give up, the ones who are driven by faith and hope.
Hold firm and tight to your faith; have pride in who you are. Organize, mobilize, advocate and persevere. Let us renew our commitment to work with others in order to stand for justice and ensure that all people are treated fairly, justly and with dignity in our country.
* * * * *
HOW TO QUEER-SURVIVE TRUMP
Laura Kanter is director of Policy, Advocacy and Youth Programs for The LGBT Center Orange County
For those of us who had hoped the next president would make it possible for LGBTQ people to do more than survive and perhaps, even, to thrive, we are now facing the disappointing and grave reality that we do not get to move forward, that the safety and dignity of many in our community will be directly impacted by what is to come.
In order for ALL LGBTQ people and allies to survive the incoming president, we must come together to defend those most at risk. We must increase our understanding about the intersecting systems that created and now sustain inequality and oppression, and we must work together to transform those systems.
While it will be more difficult for the new administration to undo legislation and take away constitutional rights, we will see them go after the lowest-hanging fruit. For example, if passed by Congress, Trump said he will sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), introduced into the House in 2015, which would legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, businesses and services on the basis of a person's religious beliefs. He also plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, which will include a large number of LGBT people who have been unjustly targeted, criminalized and detained. We need to come together to protect all immigrants who may be targeted, detained and deported. We must be prepared to defend, for example, undocumented trans Latina women held in Santa Ana City Jail's ICE detention center, as well as others who could be sent back to dangerous, even deadly, situations.
We must work together to ensure the full rights and dignity of transgender people, to provide job training and opportunities. For their immediate protection, we must help transgender folks who wish to legally change their name and gender markers as soon as possible.
We need to get to know our local leaders and state legislators and find out who will be our champions and who will be our opposition. Who will fight with us? Who do we need to watch and call out when they fail to support LGBT people in every community? Demand their accountability to those who are most vulnerable. And when leaders and public figures speak or encourage others to speak in ways that promote hate and bigotry, call them out.
Whether or not new policies impact us directly, we must mitigate against the indirect impact generated by the politics of hate. We cannot go back to a place of mere tolerance; we must be vigilant in combating increasing bullying, hate incidents and hate crimes. We must surround our youth and our transgender brothers and sisters with a wall of love and acceptance. As a community, we need to engage in a deep exploration of the racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic narratives that created a system in which LGBTQ people of color are the most at risk for being targeted, criminalized and incarcerated, or murdered.
We must work together from an intersectional lens, or all LGBTQ people will be left behind. We must reach out across party lines to those who are relatively powerless, as the world they imagined under Trump becomes increasingly remote. Our collective long-term survival will depend on our ability to learn to use our voices and power as constituents to help to create and pass policies, to make sure those policies are enforced, and to learn to dissent effectively when laws are unjust. And when the law is beyond our reach, we must fight back using the tools we have: dissent, protest, political education, and local and social media organizing. That's what we have always done—and what we must continue to do.
* * * * *
ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE
Julio Perez is executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
I was shocked about Trump's win. As a homegrown Orange County kid, I realized he's been around me my whole life. In fact, Trump has been in charge the whole time. Yet Barack Obama's political ascension at times clouded the fact that THEY have the power. As the head of the Orange County Labor Federation, I'll try to articulate who THEY are and what WE need to do next.
First, THEY are not all racists. What is saddening about the election is not only that Trump won, but also that many voters saw this presidential vote through the lens of race. Many were even extremely vocal, insensitive and offensive about it. But while it might sound great rhetorically to say Trump will fill his cabinet and administration with people who will put the interests and ideas of rich, powerful white operators in charge, I ask you to name a president that hasn't.
To that point, we must defend the gains and advances of diversity and equality. We must continue to organize, come together, build power, and promote policy and change. We must do more than protect the rights of women, African-Americans, Asians, Muslims, immigrants, Latinos, the LGBT community and others. We must expand those rights. The fight ahead of us to defend immigrants, protect civil liberties and social gains will require our unity, creativity and grit. I, for one, am ready.
We must also recognize the need to develop a plan to work with our national government. It is not just Trump. Republicans now have all the power in Washington, and we must decide how to engage, either by protesting or with a real policy dialogue.
The President-elect is a classic empire builder who represents authoritarian capitalism, ultra-patriotism, trickle-down economics, deregulation and disdain for any government social or environmental agenda. He's a pull-yourself-up elitist who believes power should reside in the hands of the ruling class that determine the fate of our nation. This is the agenda we in the labor movement must begin to address.
There are natural first steps for the labor movement. Trump has trashed international trade deals that harm American workers. Perhaps this is a good first step for us. If Trump is serious about renegotiating NAFTA and ending the Trans Pacific Partnership, I can say the labor movement is ready to help.
Trade deals facilitated millions of jobs leaving our country, another phenomenon furthering our race to the bottom. Even as the productivity of American workers has skyrocketed over the past few decades, the pay and benefits for them have fallen far below a level needed to support a middle-class family. We must create jobs that pay the types of salaries that builds the middle class dramatically. Infrastructure investment is a place I hope we can work with those in Washington, D.C.
We must also address the growing poverty, homelessness and hopelessness in America. As we have seen a dissipation of an industrial America, we have seen a rapid rise in the service and creative economy. We must demand that the service industry share its wealth and prosperity with its workers so we can elevate millions of jobs with better pay, basic sick days, vacation, pension and health compensation. For the creative world, we must demand they open doors of opportunity to more than just their college buddies and hipster nieces and nephews. The creative industry must be pushed to draw from the plentiful talent, creativity and energy of our inner cities.
On Nov. 7, I had no illusion that change comes from the top. I am hurt and disappointed that millions of voters threw hate mustard on their hot dogs, while I was expecting tacos on every corner. The silent majority has always been here, but it's no longer silent. We need to organize, organize and organize—not just in California, but especially in those red areas.
* * * * *
BEAT BACK THE SEXIST-IN-CHIEF
Nina M. Flores is an educator whose research and writing focuses on women, gender and communities
I was catcalled twice during the two-block walk to my polling place—once by bros in a lifted truck, and then by a man screaming expletives from his car. Was it the sample ballot I clutched in my hand? Random harassment as the late-morning sun beamed across the street? Or was this Election Day street harassment just another instance of sexism in public?
While electing Clinton wouldn't have smashed the patriarchy, we're about to turn the country over to a man who openly brags about assaulting women, continuously berates and abuses women in person and online, and has a decades-long track record of spewing misogynistic, racist and xenophobic attacks at everyone from celebrities to breastfeeding mothers.
Perhaps the only thing scarier than Trump as president is knowing vice president-elect Mike Pence is his co-pilot for a ride through reproductive-rights hell. Trump and Pence are set to grab women by the uterus, vowing to defund Planned Parenthood and to destroy the Affordable Care Act (and, along with it, the guaranteed access to contraceptives). Pence proudly proclaims he will send Roe v. Wade “to the ash heap of history where it belongs” and has stated that women who are raped should be forced to carry any resulting pregnancies to term. In his home state of Indiana, he even signed dangerous legislation that would prevent women from having abortions, even if the fetus has severe abnormalities, which has since been blocked by a federal judge.
It doesn't end there. On Nov. 13, Trump named as his chief strategist right-wing Breitbart exec Steve Bannon, who referred to women as “dykes.” Rumors are swirling that Rudy Giuliani, who dismissed Trump's brags about grabbing women by the “pussy” as mere locker room talk, will be tapped for secretary of state.
Feeling the fire? Take action, and STAY LOUD!
Immediate gratification. Take two minutes to send a donation, no matter how small, to your favorite reproductive rights or LGBTQ organization in Mike Pence's name or that of your favorite anti-choice legislator.
Make personal commitments. Vow to devote your skills, talents and expertise to rejecting misogyny, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Systems of oppression are entwined, and the experiences of women are wildly varied based on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender expression, undocumented status, ability, religion, class and more. We need all of your voices, ideas and actions.
On the daily. Think twice about making hollow gestures. Learn and practice de-escalation strategies. Think about what you're willing to risk, and then take action. Call out slut shaming; it's not okay to say you support women while slut shaming Melania Trump. Find the support you need, and support others in your efforts.
Plan ahead to January. Can't make it to the Women's March on Washington set for the day after Trump's inauguration? Plan local marches, but don't let the momentum end there. Organize with fellow activists, advocates and community groups. What change do you want to see? What are the barriers? What tools and resources do you have? Who else can you work with?
First 100 days. Ring in Trump's first 100 days by participating in a 100 Days of Justice project. Create a list of 100 daily actions (call legislators at their local offices—emails don't have the same impact; post articles; and engage folks on social media, by sharing your stories or hosting meet-ups, etc.), and share your actions every day using #100DaysofJustice.
Lastly, make concrete plans for organizing and action for the next four years.
Want us to give Trump a chance? Before that could ever happen, women must be assured of reproductive justice, our legal right to safe and affordable reproductive health care, and our nation's unequivocal rejection of sexist violence. If there's no chance for us, then there's no chance for him.
* * * * *
WE CARRY THE LIGHT
Excerpted from a Nov. 13 sermon by the Reverend Sarah Halverson-Cano of Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa
The fear, the intimidation, the threats, the -isms—racism, sexism—and the phobias—homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia—that's NOT part of the vision, that's not of God's doing, that's not what God requires of us nor dreams for humanity's future or present.
This is not it.
That much we know. We're not there yet.
I can't even promise we will be—in this lifetime, our lifetime. But I sure as heck know what God wants and what God doesn't want, and if Jesus is any indicator of God's heart, then I know who God's kingdom is for: the poor, the downhearted, the oppressed, and the cast out—need we make that clearer in today's cast of characters? It's the gays, lesbians, transgendered, the immigrants, the Muslims, the Jews, the blacks, the minorities. It's anyone who doesn't fit neatly in the box of privilege—the kingdom of God is for these. . . .
I may not know how to get there today; I may not even be able to see the vision clearly for all the tears still clouding my eyes—but God knows and God sees and God calls us to it. Before the words even come out of our mouths, God is in the process of answering. So by God—with God—we're gonna get to the Promised Land, we're going to forge the way . . . you and me and anyone who is willing to go with us—we're going to do our part to make it so. We're gonna do what we do best: carry the light.
We're going to shine light into the darkness. Reflecting God's light, we'll shine!
For all hope is not lost, all power not stripped. God's vision is clear, so we have to do everything we can to be a part of the transformation, in little and big ways. For some of us, that will mean stretching out of our comfort zone—speaking up and speaking out. For others, it may be as simple as taking one step, one day at a time—being you and knowing God loves you. . . .
Among many things, Jesus was the great healer. And while our wounds are deep, our society divided, I have to believe that healing is possible. It starts with telling our stories, being willing to connect, finding safe circles, and creating sanctuaries, becoming sanctuaries, living love, and choosing it above all things, even fear. But even in our fear, we know that God is with us.
And perhaps that is what gives me the most hope: that through it all, God is with us. I believe in Emmanuel—God with us in our pain, in our heartache, in our fear, in our division, and in our hopes, in our love, in the darkness. God is there, God is here. God is light.
So now, more than ever before, we will choose to live in the light, to help bring about the transformation and make the vision clear, the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. . . . Shining together, we carry the light. Amen.