This is a man who paid for a one-page ad in The New York Times saying "Bring Back the Death Penalty, Bring Back the Police!" calling for the execution of the Central Park 5.
This is a man who settled out of court in 1973 after being accused of refusing to rent apartments to black people. This is a man who called Mexicans rapists, explicitly called for banning Muslims from entering the country, suggested reintroducing stop and frisk laws, and is working to reverse marijuana legalization laws to keep prisons full.
Trump is the leader of a country that was founded on genocide, slavery and, yes, illegal immigration. You think the pilgrims had visas?
It's one thing to have an uncle with backward views that you put up with every Thanksgiving. At the end of the day, he's relatively harmless and probably won't kill anyone with his ideas. America's problem is that this racist uncle lives on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, has the nuclear codes and can change the outcome of millions of lives with the stroke of a pen. Let's also acknowledge the fact that Trump is NOT the first racist uncle to sit at the helm of the oval office. A little independent research will reveal how his predecessors made decisions that amplified the devastation in the countries that Trump is referring to in the comment he made this week referring to Haiti and Africa nations as "shithole countries."
We focus on Trump's words because he is upfront about how he feels, but the past actions of more 'diplomatic' American leaders would make your racist uncle at the Thanksgiving table look like a saint.
Trump's decisions to cut the DACA program and cancel TPS for Haitians, Nicaraguans and El Salvadorans will ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of lives both at home and abroad. Donald Trump's America is a country where ICE Agents Raid 7/11s to arrest employees. And we're only one year in. This is what happens when you give that racist uncle too much power.
Thursday's protests at Foley Square in New York will go down in history as a classic case of big government silencing the voices of people fighting against injustice. Ravi Ragbir, a prominent activist and Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was detained by ICE and is up for deportation to Trinidad.
We were at a rally standing in solidarity with Ravi and immigrant families that are subject to deportation. Suddenly New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson rushed into the crowd and informed everyone that ICE was transporting Ravi out of the Jacob Javits Federal Building in an ambulance (ostensibly to put on the sirens and get him away from angry protesters as quickly as possible). We rushed to the building and mayhem ensued. Several activists including Father Juan Carlos Ruiz, Co-Founder of the New Sanctuary movement, and councilmen Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez were throwing themselves in front of the ambulance in protest. The police were throwing defiant protesters like ragdolls, but we continued to resist. A cop hurled my body into a parked car for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The road to justice is long and arduous. As we approach MLK day, let us remember that Dr. King was arrested 29 times as he fought for equality against a government that used violence to maintain the status quo.
As a Haitian-American, I am obviously offended that Trump called Haiti and other African countries a shithole, but it doesn't come as a surprise. Rather, I think his comments are a mild version of the vile sentiments he feels in the vacuous black hole that sits where his heart should be.
Is it important to highlight Trump's bigotry in every form? Yes. However, we can't simply be mad to be mad. Black and brown history have been altered and erased on a massive scale and white men like Trump belittle and disrespect generations of suffering by insulting our origins, passing laws that destroy our lives and cut funding for our basic needs. Yes, let's be outraged when injustice happens, but we must problem solve.
Why are we seemingly complacent after New York City decided this week to keep the monuments of Christopher Columbus as well as a monument of Theodore Roosevelt with a slave and indigenous man beside him? Every black person with Caribbean origins is here as a result of a wave of slavery that Columbus embraced. The black community has a lot on our plate: Immigration issues, economic issues, safety issues, health issues, it's truly overwhelming.
I know it is. I live it.
And one thing that I do know is that we have to organize like never before, or conditions will only get worse. We need to think ahead and pass laws that secure us now, and for the future. We need comprehensive education so that grumpy racist uncles like Trump cannot belittle our struggle with venomous statements bound in hatred. It is our duty to see Dr. King's dream to fruition so that he did not give his life in vain. It's the least we can do to stop America from turning into a shithole country.