By Kayla B — As I watched the elections results come in, I got an uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. For some, the worst of the worst came to fruition. For others, the feeling of despair and worry set in. For months we watched as politicians (and some non politicians) got ugly in the pursuit to be our new leaders.
We watched candidates gloat about grabbing women by their privates, we saw the ugliness that can occur when there is a difference of opinion, we watched as our co-workers, neighbors and social media ‘ friends’ casually expressed their excitement about the restriction of middle eastern refuges and the wall that would divide America and Mexico.
We listen with lumps in our throats, clinched fist and tear stained eyes. And rightfully so, it seems as if the advances we’ve worked towards for years are deteriorating before our eyes with our hands tied behind our backs.
America is truly a melting pot. Comprised of many experiences, creeds, sex, genders, religions, races, colors and backgrounds – As a proud American, I can say we are mixed heartily into one pot. I look at my white, Asian, black, Latino, gay, straight, republican and democrat neighbors and am filled with pride for all. I am motivated by making sure they all have equality. As Afro Latinx, we are the product of sons and daughters of immigrants who believed in the American dream enough to uproot from their respective motherlands and make something of themselves here.
Faced with extreme opposition, they overcame.
So what do we do when we feel like giving up amidst a barrage of angry tweets, mud slinging, careless quotes, bad actions and an audience of people who turn a blind eye to this plight?
We continue to stand.
Being Afro Latina is an honor. It is the strength found in the fact that our African Ancestors endured so much, just so that we could be. It is found in the fact that two different cultures could love so much, to create a life. It is marked by the journey from one’s home to embark on a new life in America.
Afro Latinas are your children’s teachers, we are protecting and serving as law enforcement, we are saving lives as nurses and doctors. We are advocates for the voiceless and We are writers, touching the masses with the stroke of a pen.
The time is now.
More than ever, even with an overwhelming feeling despair, our work to shed light on our identities and improve conditions for this community and the community as a whole doesn’t stop. It just means we have to band together and work harder. There are so many initiatives to get involved in. If you want to help Latinos get registered to vote, Voto Latino is a wonderful organization that also touches on political issues related to the Latino Community. Check out the Southern Poverty Law Center and their work to protect the rights of immigrants. Get involved as your local Urban League, mentor at your local school, work at your local food pantry, advocate for needy members of your community.
Whatever you do, whatever you are faced with, don’t be discouraged, and stay committed to getting involved.
The next four years will no doubt be a challenge, but our work towards justice for all and equality in all areas cannot stop. The next generation is depending on the work that we do now for their future.
You, my sister, are black girl magic personified, you are equal parts melanin and merengue. You dance to the beat of the African drum and your works make it possible for the next generation to have the opportunity to not struggle as hard as we did.
In 2017 and beyond, stay strong and keep pressing forward.
Motivated by dignity while being yours in service,