Since the beginning of the presidential race I have been anxious.
From early on Trump fanned the fires of xenophobic passions: he easily fell back into the role he took on when he became the spokesperson of the birther movement during Obama’s first presidential campaign by starting his would be presidential platform with demonizing people of the Muslim faith. He easily moved from there to denigrating immigrants, women and anyone that dared oppose him. His army of Facebook and Twitter trolls is loyal, persistent and always ready to make another sock account if for a change, the gods of social media do find that their slur laden, threats and harassment techniques violate the community standards (they almost never do.) The mainstream underestimated the power of fake news, history revisionism, antebellum romanticism and toxic masculinity. We never had a chance.
It has been real to watch the disappointment from Trump voters as he already backtracks from some of his campaign promises. Analysts point out that he will be moving away from his perfect for reality TV persona into a more business like manner, as if Trump ever had the ability to be anything more than a caricature business guy, an over-privileged, bourgeoisie fuck. One thing I do not believe that he will back down from is Immigration. Not if he wants to guarantee himself another term in office.
Trump promised, depending on the day and whom he was speaking to, that on his first day in office he’d deport between one to three million undocumented immigrants with more deportations to follow. As the time for inauguration approaches, we are only left to guess what his next move against immigrants and people of color will be. I am terrified thinking of the possibility of having to leave this country that has been home for almost twenty years home. To have to be separated from my children, friends, family even for a moment is overwhelming. I have great support system here. To have to put on hold my career and my business which supports so many artists and provides marginalized groups with a safe space to create breaks my heart. I always talk about moving back to Uruguay with joy even though sadly I would be returning to an empty home, as my iaia passed away one Halloween morning two years ago. My family is still there, but my goddess is gone physically, she has become a spiritual cloak, the woman I always aspire to be.
I want to go back to Uruguay in my own terms, with enough capital to rebuild my grandmothers’s home, regrow her gardens and revitalize mi barrio. I have worked since age twelve every job imaginable in America, from cleaning kennels, homes, clubs to nursing the dying to cooking for powerful people. For the past five years, I have successfully transition from outsider artist to professional working artist and gallery owner, I imagine often what myself and my partner will grind out in five more years. I do not wish to go back without the cash to allow myself time off from constant work to submerge myself back into my beloved culture. I also want to be able to support my family while I go back to school to study politics and arts.
I am privileged enough to be able to say I have a plan, a place to stay, a patria that will welcome its children back with open arms. How many immigrants here cannot go back home because of violence? most of the time, the violence immigrants escape can be easily traced back to US backed messes in our countries. How many immigrants have been brought here as children and toddlers and have no family left back home, these children are as American as apple pie and giving back to this land much more than we have received.
How many have to quietly live in the shadows, “flying under the radar” and forced to lie because of a broken system a system which oftentimes calls “undocumented” the very descendants of the first peoples of these lands: The Americas have been Latinas for far longer than the descendants of the Ellis Island immigrants of the past, and what affront it is to their memories to use their struggles to denigrate an entire group of people. To romanticize the squalid conditions which they had to suffer. Migration is natural and should not be a battle royale where the poor and marginalize have to fight for a chance to fight to live under a Capitalist system set-up to exploit the more vulnerable.
For every million people that we lose to the oncoming regime, we will raise our voices and in doing so, we will raise a million more proud more conscious, more excellent than ourselves generation of thinkers and creative leaders.
In the same manner, the Women’s March on Washington inspired me to think on the privilege and that is my ability to march for myself, my sisters and mother, in memory of my grandmother.
I am excited to exercise my right to protest, not only because I get to wear a costume made sailor suit (so that I can bring my online persona as a social justice senshi into a real life) but also because I know a lot of women that wish to attend but have school or work obligations or whom their disabilities will keep them home, using social media to add their voices to the conversation. I know even more people that won’t attend because they fear retaliation from Trump supporters.
When I began thinking about each and every woman I love that won’t be physically with me that day, I resolved that I will keep them in my mind that day as I march, almost like a meditation. When I think of my friends and allies I know I can almost count a million. I think this is a feeling shared by the women preparing to march. We are physically one, but inside of us is a million more women and a million more reasons to fight.
It is an honor and a privilege to be going to this unprecedented event.
After the march I will be painting a mural based on the above banner at Homegrown HQ and going to a talk and tour of Dupont Underground and hopefully getting some ramen and extra dessert! (If you don’t hear from me call my lawyer!)
I plan a small mural tour through the year in order to hit Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York with mural variations of this design.
Follow this link to download the free full resolution poster I designed for the upcoming march.
I will have a limited number of large versions of this poster available at Art Mart during inauguration day.