The Weekly Issue/El Semanario Advisory Board
We often ask ourselves, what is it about the human condition that enables us to remain silent during times of great hardship. When Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, along with his 23-three-month-old daughter, Valeria, drowned attempting to cross the Rio Grande River to gain entry into the United States last summer, we were silent. This tragedy was highlighted only by a photograph that depicted Oscar and his daughter washed downstream alongside the riverbank.
The depiction in its’ own right, gave way to a cascade of emotions; we were transfixed by the image. What a tragedy, how sad, my God that poor family. These were the comments that were orchestrated in the community. Bellows of condemnations against the Trump administration shadowed the tragedy.
Oscar and his family had made a two-thousand-mile trek on foot from El Salvador seeking a better life, but were greeted by a hostile América. You see, Oscar gave us all a lesson in the human condition, even though he was swept downstream in the turbulent Rio Grande River, he never let go of his daughter, their bodies remained intertwined as they washed ashore.
This tragedy was followed by a massacre in El Paso, Texas last August, where 23 Latinos were killed in a Walmart store, by a 23-year-old white male. This hate has been fueled by the Trump administration and enabled by a silent majority.
We as a nation must visit past atrocities to understand that hate and discrimination never dies and must be abated at every turn. We must accept the notion that no man or State can free another man, as we are all born free, although he can free the oppressor. “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck,” said abolitionist Frederick Douglas, a 19th century eminent human rights leader.
América over the last 243 years has wrapped itself around the American flag, whose fabric is woven in image of White history and religion. The fabric absolves itself from the contribution of Latinos and other People of Color. We are a nation at the crossroads, we no longer can look at our country through the lens of White América. When we speak of América, Black children must feel empowered, not negated. When we speak of América, Latino children must have the freedom to dream of this great country and the contributions of their Latin roots.
President Trump, the coronavirus, and the economic impact that sent millions to the brink of hunger have created the perfect storm.
Let’s start with President Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” four years ago that was the battle cry to millions of Americans who were looking for change. Their Messiah seemed to descend from the heavens as he glided down an escalator accompanied by his wife. Moments later he would address his followers with hate rhetoric that would have made George Wallace blush. He went on a diatribe of hate speech that even shocked Fox News, “Mexicans are coming to our country and they’re rapists and drug dealers.” This rhetoric was music to the disenchanted, and Trump would soon become the nominee for the Republican party for 2016. As we all know, the rest is history.
What followed was a string of failures, from domestic issues, including the separation of children from their parents; children who subsequently found themselves in cages. These atrocities had not been mirrored since the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II.
After the upheaval that Trump created at home, he would then take his hate rhetoric around the world. He maligned many European Nations and created a huge wedge between América and our NATO Partners, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Over the last four years, the Trump Administration has been a cancer — a cancer of hate — and division that has permeated across América.
As a community we must appreciate that real empathy is action. The Democratic party has the Latino vote on an “On Call Basis,” every couple of years they come knocking on our doors. Looking back over the last four years, the Democratic party and high-profile Latino leaders, have been obscure to say the least, when it came time to speak to these atrocities.
Yes, we will cast our vote for former Gov. John Hickenlooper for the United States Senate. And as our Senator, we will expect him to serve our community with dignity and respect.
Never before, has a Senate race in Colorado had so many implications to the Latino community and our nation. We urge you to rally every eligible voter to cast their vote.
Members of The Weekly Issue/El Semanario Advisory Board: Ramón Del Castillo, Ph.D.; Ray Ayón, retired Denver Police Detective; Steve Del Castillo, Ph.D.; and Luis Torres, Ph.D.
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