By Elisabet Medina
When I was in high school, I had a teacher who told me that I was better off taking trigonometry than I would be if took pre-calculus. She was concerned that I couldn’t handle the rigor of pre-calculus. I remember that she was a teacher that would tell us to open our books, read the chapter and do worksheets. When I had a question and would go to her desk, she was on MySpace.com. This teacher basically telling me that I couldn’t do it, forced me to petition to get into pre-calculus. I worked twice as hard getting an A- and then B+ both semesters.
At my first job as a social worker, I once had a supervisor tell me that I was not management material. This supervisor told me I have an inability to make the tough decisions, that I’m too emotionally invested. Now I am a Program Manager, responsible for oversight of all of the Family Shelters in the City and County of San Francisco.
Whether it is because of age, gender, race or other identity, people can underestimate our abilities. The truth is that potential is not boxed in by identity. As women of color we have to break out of the boxes of others’ expectations of what we can achieve.
Let’s put our talents and energy towards efforts that acknowledge all we bring to the table. Look for people and opportunities that believe in you and see your limitless potential. Be on guard for people and environments that are toxic and only serve to tokenize. There are environments that preach diversity, equity and inclusion but in practice do not give opportunities for people of color to be in positions of power. And if there are people of color in decision making roles they are often undermined and discredited.
Be thankful for the people that don’t think you can do it, go out prove them wrong, learn from those opportunities and grow where you are planted. Let’s put our time, energy and talent towards what matters- making a difference in our communities and empowering others.
“We will keep the criminals, the drug dealers, we will keep them all out of our country,” he said. “We will get rid of all of this. We will end finally birthright citizenship.” Donald Trump
Meanwhile, a U.S. citizen entered a synagogue and killed 11 people, a U.S. citizen opened fire in a grocery store in Louisville killing 2 Black people. How many more incidents are needed to show that violence is not invading the U.S., hitchhiking with immigrants. Rather, the violence and murder that we are seeing is homegrown and cannot be divorced from the white supremacy that permeates every facet of society.
I am more fearful of the people within our country, then those outside of it. Now is a time to hold up a mirror to ourselves rather than build a wall.What would happen if children born in this country would not be granted citizenship if their parents were not lawful permanent residents?
It means that I would not a be citizen. It means that I would be living undocumented in the only country I had ever known. I would not have had the opportunities to obtain higher education, I would not have the ability to work legally. More than likely to survive I would be relegated to work that is exploitative and dangerous participating in underground economies.
In reality eliminating birth right citizenship would actually increase the number of people that are undocumented over generations doing the opposite of what it purports to do. “The letter and spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment places those born in this country on equal footing, and an executive order that strips away citizenship would create a permanent group of second-class citizens and invite litigation.”
Over time, the elimination of birthright citizenship would also mean a group of people that is disenfranchised without the right to vote. I am not deceived, what is being framed as a public safety issue is in fact a long term game of disenfranchisement, disempowerment and exploitation.
This is not new, we can trace our finger along U.S. history and see several examples were people were not fully counted as citizens and thus were not represented and had their rights stripped away. It is this hateful and misguided rhetoric that fuels violation of rights and violence, this is a domestic issue. Now is not the time for xenophobia, now is the time to protect rights and resist.