Student protesters from the city of South Gate make peace signs as they walk down an empty Tweedy Blvd. Credit: @rubber_souul via Twitter
South East High School

Don’t let up, keep on fighting the good fight

“We have to pack our bags now, mijo,” my dad said in his native tongue of Spanish upon finding out that our next president would be Donald J. Trump, the coward who has managed to offend almost every group of people, including Hispanics, Mexicans in particular. My dad was joking, but I knew there was some truth to it.

My mom, sitting on my brother’s bed, looked at me for a few seconds. She spoke very few words in Spanish. “He won. We knew he was going to win,” she said with a very despondent tone.

Seeing “President Trump” on my Twitter timeline sent goosebumps down my spine. I imagine it was the same situation for many people like me, a child of immigrants. As I scrolled down my timeline, I noticed my classmates tweeting things like, “I’m so scared for my family,” and “I’m crying.” The negativity kept piling on and on, up to the point where some tweets made me tear up.

Almost every part of my body went numb. For many of us, a Trump presidency seemed like a pipe dream. Many of the “If this happens to us…” conversations our family had became “When this happens to us…” conversations, all in one night.

I wiped my eyes and put myself back together before my parents noticed me. In an attempt to up my mood, I thought about the possible pros of a Trump presidency, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with any. Maybe it was because I’m not the most well-informed person on politics or maybe it was because I refused to believe Trump had any redeeming qualities. Either way, my mind was bound to draw blanks.

When that failed, I tried to take my minds off things by playing “Overwatch,” but that also managed to backfire. I queued up for a quick match and wouldn’t you know it, the stage I played on was Dorado, a fictional city in Mexico. It seemed as if everything connected to my parents, both Mexican immigrants.

My parents came to the United States hoping to provide a better life for themselves and more importantly, their children. They faced tough trials and risked their lives to get here and to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

I believe my parents, my family, and others like them, deserve the respect of this country. They deserve U.S. citizenship for having nothing but respect for this great country, and yet they can’t get the proper documentation to become citizens. The process is a difficult one and I believe it’s working against their favor.

It is heart wrenching knowing that President Trump could undo all the progress they’ve made in the United States by sending them on a one-way trip to their homeland.

In the worst case scenario, it’s my job to finish what they started. In deciding to not go to school or find a career, it would make me look selfish; my parents’ sacrifice would all be in vain. So while they might not be here to watch me walk the graduation stage, I know they will still be proud of me, hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.

So yes, I am scared. My friends are scared. My family is scared. My community is scared. But we cannot let a fearmonger threaten America, the same America my parents came to years ago when they were seeking a better home and a better future.

While many of us are unable to vote, it is our duty to keep America the place where everyone, regardless of who they are, can live in without being in a constant state of fear. We have to hold America to the values that make her great: the ones that allow for free speech, religious freedom, same-sex marriage, and more. In any event, we can’t get lazy. We have to keep fighting the good fight and secure our future and America’s.

This results of this election may be depressing to many, but come 2020, the year of the next presidential election, I will finally be able to vote. Other young people will be able to do the same. We will not let others live what we, the children of immigrants and citizens of the United States, will live through under Trump’s presidency. Together, we’ll vote for the candidate who best represents America and make sure that love trumps hate.