There are millions of thoughts that have been floating around in my head since this past Friday, but somehow I’m still at a loss for words. How did we get to this point?
Within the past four days, Trump has chosen to use Executive Order to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, reinstate the Global Gag Rule , push forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, just to name a few. He as also banned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from posting anything on social media, and making any press releases. In addition, Trump’s administration plans to eliminate The National Endowment For The Arts.
And this is only the beginning.
On Saturday, I attended the Women’s March on Washington in downtown Phoenix, along with my mom, sister, and thousands of other women. It was a short march, as far as peaceful protests go, but it reminded me that I’m not done fighting.
Since Trump has taken office, lawmakers in eight states have proposed laws that will make peaceful protest a criminal offense. I read that story, and my heart stopped. I’ve been participating in peaceful protests since I was 4, back when my mom and I would stand with the group “Women In Black” to protest war and violence happening around the world. Later, I marched with groups of people in Arizona, protesting SB 1070, a bill that would encourage racial profiling. Still later on, I went on to participate in many more. From boycotting events at my middle school, to giving a curtain speech exposing the censoring of the arts at my high school, to inviting my college peers to march with me in the wake of the results of the last election, I have always considered myself an activist. But what if my state said otherwise?
I feel privileged in many ways: to come from a financially secure family, to be able to afford to go to a 4 year institution, to be straight, to be cis-gendered, to have health insurance, the list goes on. At the same time, I’m terrified to be a Japanese American woman living in a nation that does not respect women or minorities. This isn’t a far off distant nightmare–this is real life.
I meet the current state of our nation with so much hate and anger at what is being done. I come to this point with a feeling of “I told you so,” directed at those who asked me to “give him a chance.” The question of “why?” never leaves my brain, coupled with “how could you?” when I meet those who voted for this reality. My heart breaks when I see posts from my LGBTQ, racially diverse, 1st generation friends, talking about how angry and sad and downright terrified they are. I think how much a serious disease, a broken leg, or an unexpected pregnancy without healthcare and family planning services, will change my life. I look to the future and I wonder if we’ll even make it that far. I enter into the next four years prepared to fight.
So here I am, Fired Up Ready to Go, Still With Her, Standing with Planned Parenthood, saying No DAPL, Black Lives Matter, My Body My Choice, and finally, Not My President. This isn’t a fight we can afford to lose.