What We Must Do, Resist Trump, Occupy Inauguration- Seattle
My final year of college I was a very active member of the University of Washington’s Black Student Union and during one of our BSU meetings Spring quarter the question came up, “What if Donald Trump actually becomes president?” At the time we said ‘actually’ as if there was only a rare chance. Most of us still believed his campaign was a joke and if it wasn’t the rest of us believed that the American public wouldn’t be stupid enough to vote him in, we now know that’s not what it takes. That was in March. Now while writing this essay in November, less than a week after his election, I’m numb to my reality.
When it became my turn to answer the question I said, “I think it could be a good thing…his election could start a much needed revolution.” Heads turned toward me in disbelief, “A Revolution? Are you ready to die?” A student responded, he wasn’t joking. I was taken aback, “If it’s in a revolutionary way, yeah”. I was serious, I wondered at the time if my people were actually ready to die as a result of the revolt that would happen if Trump became president. Now I am asking myself again as hundreds of protesters swarm the streets of downtown Seattle to #ResistTrump.
Seattle, like Detroit, was a blue region. Nationally, African Americans voted for Hilary, the first female Democratic nominee, a historic and experienced candidate. Although she got the majority of the votes of POC, I didn’t vote for Trump or Hilary. I couldn’t ignore her participation in the prison industrial complex any more than Trump’s ignorant and racist statements. I refused to choose between the lesser of 2 evils, but rather than sulk over the mediocrity, I believe that his being president would cause a much needed uproar. However, Hilary’s presidency would cause Blacks to continue to be compliant while she is just as dangerous of a choice as Trump. Hilary’s involvement in the 1994 crime bill was instrumental in mass incarceration, leading to state implemented policies like mandatory minimum sentencing, stop & frisk, and three strikes laws. Even with this in mind I assumed that the combination of people of color with non-compliant white America would guarantee Hilary’s victory. I was most baffled by how we, as a nation, could have possibly elected Trump after Barack Obama’s presidency? It’s as if our country has gone in the complete opposite direction of progress (intentionally). The electoral college, voted against the popular vote. Although we, as a nation, voted for Hilary, the ‘invisible hand’ of our political system ignored that vote. I’ve heard some suggest that Trump was elected as ‘revenge’ for having a successful Black man in office for two terms, making too much ‘liberal’ progress with legislative changes like marriage equality passing. However while some marginalized populations (like the LGPTQIA+ community) were liberated by Obama’s initiatives, even with a Black president, Blacks were not able to advance our centuries old agenda, originally created as apart of the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program in 1966 by founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. If a Black man can’t advance the agenda of his people while in office of the highest position of the land then what can he do? What can we do?
Over the week following the election I received messages, phone calls, emails and other forms of communication from peers, activists, community leaders and other people who have been pushed to the limit and are now ready to organize. I’ve seen drawings, paintings, rallies, and other forms of public demonstration in protest of Trump. Tomorrow I will be attending a walkout in protest of Trump’s election at the University of Washington.
We can no longer wait for a savior we must recognize our vulnerability in this era. During his presidency, he gets to appoint two supreme court justices while both the House of Representatives and the Senate are Republican led. We’ve been able to see by Trump’s cabinet selections that his concern for the people is lacking. Because of our president’s refusal to commit to, or even address, the agendas of people of color; we must greatly increase our dedicated to racial justice and equity. Since Trump’s campaign began I’ve greatly mobilized my passion for the advancement of Black people under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter movement. I created SawariMi to document the progress and obstacles of the movement and those in solidarity with this movement around the country. I work with Pongo Teen Writing as a poetry mentor, teaching with Black and Brown youth in King County Juvenile Detention. I’ve joined IamWE prison advocacy network as a Local Representative for Washington State in order to facilitate participation in the Millions for Prisoners March in Washington D.C. to abolish the 13th amendment. I write the monthly newsletter providing updates on the march to incarcerated subscribers. I’m embarking on an opportunity to mentor students in Gaza in writing as well as speaking to their classes about the significance of the BLM movement and its relationship to the Israeli occupation. I closed all of my accounts at Bank of America and I am committed to not funding any business that profits off of the oppression of my people.
Now just hours after Trump’s inauguration the updated Whitehouse website has removed the history behind the political progression of marginalized groups including Blacks and the LGBTQIA+ community. The civil rights page has been replaced with “Standing up for our Law Enforcement Community”. In addition to this, a search query for any reference to “LGBTQIA+” will come back with zero results. The Whitehouse website immediately ‘cleansed’ itself of the Civil Rights, Immigration, Climate change and Healthcare pages. The choice to do so seems erringly symbolic of Trump’s intention as president. During the Inauguration protesters took to the streets in Seattle’s Westlake Park. The day after the Inauguration women and allies across the country will be participating in the Women’s March in protest of the new president. We’ve been given more than enough reasons as to why we cannot be complicit under the leadership of a racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, Immigrant attacking, sexist member of the millionaire class. Now is the time where we must realize that we are under attack.
I was awakened long ago by the Trump campaign, but I think the rest of us will be awakened by his presidency.
Brothers and Sisters we have been awoken #StayWoke