Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan

Mi querida gente,

Antes que nada, I want you to know that you are not alone. I know your fear is real. I have received your calls ever since the election, and seen your faces as you hold your families closer. I have heard your frantic requests for information, assurance, advice and safety. I want you to know that I see you, we — your community — sees you, and you are not alone. You will not be left alone as you wonder about the safety of your families as they walk out the door of their homes, or whether ICE will show up at your job, or if your parents who raised you here will be deported, or how to prepare your children to respond to the racial slurs and defend themselves against hate-driven violence by their classmates. As always, we will face whatever we need to together, as we have always done. Tu no estas solo/a, el pueblo esta contigo.

We are at a historical, and in many ways terrifying, juncture politically, where many of us feel under siege and attacked by our own government. But state violence and the targeting of our communities comes as no surprise, as our governments have done that to us throughout history. Whether it’s a local anti-immigrant ordinance trying to prevent families from accessing the human right to housing, a state law prohibiting immigrants from securing drivers’ licenses or making college inaccessible and unaffordable, or a court decision that permits immigration officers to lie and misrepresent themselves in order to get inside your house, our government has made survival nearly impossible for a community that is often scapegoated, shamed and exploited and has criminalized their efforts to simply live.

And yet, we will outlive Trump and his fascist-nationalist, racist and misogynist policies. Fear can only govern the oppressed or ignorant (willfully or not) for so long before people rise up in defense of themselves and the dignity of all. We have seen this throughout history, and have the examples of our brave DREAMERs and #BlackLivesMatter movement. Our existence is a threat to those who have wielded power in violent ways for too long, and it is our existence that they are attempting to eliminate. And yet, we will not be moved. We will not be forced into shadows forced to hide behind uncertain immigration status, or where we pretend the unsafe labor conditions and workplace exploitation we face are invisible to all around us. We will not go quietly into your jails and detention centers where our lives and those of our families fade into the abysmal hole of an (in)justice system where private corporations make profits off of our tortured and abused bodies. We will not be silent as you finance military might and repressive regimes in the so-cold “war on drugs” that devastates our communities and creates the horrific conditions that forces us to flee from our homes and communities. We will not allow our sisters, daughters and mothers to face cuts to essential reproductive health care services leaving them vulnerable and without options for accessing critical and affordable healthcare.

This administration underestimates us and who we are. They clearly don’t know that we organized not just historic strikes and rallies, but also fundraisers and PACs and voter registration drives. That we speak the language of an inevitable progress that cannot be detained. And when we are attacked, we all rise up. We will resist in ways we may not have had to yet, but we will resist. We will create sanctuary spaces in every community. We will educate ourselves on our rights and we will not be afraid when your agents show up at our homes or jobs. We will not cooperate with government repression and targeting of our communities. We will build new alliances and strengthen existing ones. And we will fight back as though our lives depend on it.

Un abrazo eterno, y en resistencia y lucha,

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan