As a Latina, I’m afraid for the future

We have families and friends who were counting on this election for reform

Latinas have known for several months that we had a duty to vote and advocate for the best candidate. And that candidate was definitely not Donald Trump.

I felt proud to be a Latina as people were uniting to fight against a common enemy, and I will never forget the countless women I met along the Mexican-American border — like Carmen Hernandez — who risked their lives to protect their families.

img-9517

To me, to my friends who are undocumented, and to my parents who were immigrants, this election was to be a demonstration of what our countrymen think about us — and we received our answer last night.

Not only I am afraid for the future of Latinos in this country, but I’m also terrified to think that a man who has insulted countless minorities, especially women, is our president for at least the next four years.

He has called us criminals, rapists, killers, and stereotyped us all as “Mexicans.” His major campaign promise was to build a wall at the US-Mexico border.

When our newly elected President called a former Latina Miss Universe “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” we all knew he was talking about us as well.

In the Latino community, we’re expected to be the housewives and to have children. The man is in charge, and the woman has to obey to the laws to what he says — it’s the same old story we are accustomed to as a Latina. Once Latinas like myself saw Hillary close to the presidency, it felt like somehow things could be different.

She was also the hope that we could see our families and not be separated by deportations. Latinos have already seen the backlash from this, and it affects us more than anyone could ever imagine.

As a Latina, I have been living with the stories of my family who told me their immigration stories of succeeding when all hope was lost, but that all changed last night when the results came in.

img-3836

It was around 1 a.m. when I realized hope was gone. It didn’t fully hit me until the morning when I realized I’d have to face the friends I’ve been telling to “always have faith in our system” that their hope for immigration reform to help them remain in the country is gone.

What do I tell my niece, who said Hillary is the best candidate because she doesn’t hate Latinas like her and that she inspires her to want to run for president? This outcome affects many young Latinas and the trust we have in our system.

Will we always be considered “Miss Housekeeping” or just “Mexicans” because we speak Spanish? What hope is there left if millions of voters just showed us they hold the same views on Latinos as Donald Trump?

There is no optimism when you know someone who is crying over the worry that their parents will be deported. This is not a joke to our community, because we have been fighting for a change for years — and still, nothing has happened.

We feel ignored and ashamed that we are still not considered important to this country. As a second generation immigrant and a Latina who has witnessed her loved ones go through the difficult immigration process, we want our voices to be heard, and we want to see a change in the system.

The reality for millions of Latinos in the US is that we know at least one person who is either undocumented or has gone through the confusing process of becoming a permanent resident. It does not matter how many contributions we have made to this country — that simple piece of paper stating our status is what makes us feel like we are American.

I can not say I feel truly safe in a country where thousands have rallied for Trump and screamed ‘build that wall.’ He’s our new president and yet he represents what we most fear.

Hillary promised Latinos the passing of immigration reform which could finally unite families and allow undocumented students receive an education in the U.S.

One of my friends who is an undocumented immigrant said that Obama changed her life since he was the reason she was able to go to college. There hasn’t been a day that I don’t think how much she’s going through and when I found out the results of the election, I didn’t cry because of me — I cried because she’s one of the millions of people who were worried about their future.

Supreme Court has denied immigration reforms such as DACA and DAPA under Obama’s administration this past May, and many Latinos like myself are asking if Trump is our new president, will there ever be a conversation for reform?

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-31806-pm

However, no matter happens in the next few weeks, months, or years — Latinos will not be silent anymore. We lost an election to a person who does want to see a minority succeed, and we won’t let it happen again.

Hillary said today, “And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks -– sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.”

This is a setback, but to the Latinas out there like me, if Hillary could make it this far — we could do the same.

I’m not “Miss Housekeeping,” nor will I continue to be silent on issues that affect Latinos. Let’s stand up to someone who messed with the wrong chicas.

img_4050

More
Temple University