Yesterday, over dinner, you asked me an honest question,”If you go protest, will it stop Donald Trump’s inauguration?”
In that question, I heard so many people’s despair and hopelessness.
I answered, “No, it won’t.” And then I took a couple of minutes, taken aback by your very real question, to muster up an answer to why my husband and I will take our 2 year old daughter and our 33 week old unborn child to the streets to protest on Saturday morning.
I know you believed in the potential of Ferdinand Marcos, a cruel dictator that took so many lives and advantages of our people when you were young, but when it came to oust him–you took us out in those streets didn’t you? Well, we’ve got pictures to prove it. Why did you go protest then?
Perhaps it’s the simple act of claiming your own power in a time of powerlessness that pushed you. It pushes us now.
I’ve been in the streets marching in protests for years. Under the Obama and Bush administrations, under the Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino and even the Duterte administrations, and in those times, I’ve found that even if it doesn’t stop a war or extrajudicial killings or systematic racism in its tracks, that when I stepped out I did it in community. Alongside people who didn’t agree, who didn’t want to feel like we didn’t have a choice in any of it. In collective voice, we found one another! A new way of feeling like we’re part of something bigger.
This time around, and in the next four years, I will work tirelessly and protest relentlessly to claim my stake in what my newly acquired US citizenship supposedly provides. I will teach my children that “democracy” doesn’t just live in a big White House, it’s in the messy, streets where people’s feet bang on the pavement everyday on their way to work. Its in the evening meetings to strategize how to regain ground in our local areas. Its in the family circles where we educate our children about their value despite what the politicians may say.
It is not time to rest. Although it’s a tiring idea to think of the racism, sexism, ableism, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic brand of US imperialism that has come to show its face, finally. So truthful and unabashedly. It’s not time to sit down and not protest.
It’s time to build bridges; find a new language; and act on uniting across communities to move forward boldly.
It’s time to do the exciting work of reimagining a new world where trans people’s lives are not in danger. Where Black lives matter, to police, towards economic justice, to all of us. A world where women are not seen as sexual objects for consumption. Where immigrants aren’t forced to leave their homelands, where they aren’t criminalized. Where all families can find housing security. Where all Queer people can dance without fear. Where our human dignity can be restored. It’s time to do the work.
Papa, I’m protesting because there’s no other option. For Aya. For baby. For Melana. For Kanoah. For Jordan. For our future. You remember that feeling right?