Making Minority Communities Safe After Election

November 10, 2016

Photo credit: Michael Vadon
Photo credit: Michael Vadon

In an unexpected turn of events, President-elect Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States and the House and Senate will continue to be dominated by the GOP. After an overwhelmingly divisive election, our communities need to build alliances with and vigorously oppose detrimental rhetoric, policies and programs that the Trump administration may introduce. We must advocate and shore up our assets with allies to overcome the potential problematic policies that will likely result from this new administration. A President Trump is one thing, but we will also have to deal with the consequences of who he will appoint to his top leadership as his advisors and cabinet members.

Hate crimes against American Muslims, communities of color and marginalized communities continue to increase. These communities should see this as an opportunity to improve relations and strengthen relationships with each other as well as law enforcement to protect our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. We must double-down on our efforts to strengthen community togetherness, interfaith and civic coalitions.

We also must help in the protection of vulnerable communities and demonstrate to young Americans that they and our nation have a bright future. Efforts need to be made to meet with government and our elected officials. As citizens, we have the power to hold these elected officials accountable for their actions. The government must honor and protect the constitutional rights of all Americans; and if rights are violated, we must organize to ensure that our Constitution is upheld.

We will, most likely, be dealing with issues of heavy-handed counterterrorism tactics, similar to those policies we witnessed during the post-9/11 Bush era. If indeed it is true that Rudy Giuliani will become the next Attorney General, that will be extremely problematic for our nation -- particularly for our communities and other marginalized communities. Giuliani credits himself for widespread surveillance of mosques and Muslim communities in New York City -- this is the man who might potentially be tapped to serve as the highest lawyer of the land. Additionally, Giuliani has targeted other communities, including the Black Lives Matter movement by calling it “inherently racist.” Again, this is the man who we are to look to to defend and uphold our rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Furthermore, his problematic potential cabinet appointees include tapping Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee, WI for Secretary of Homeland Security. Clarke tweeted that Black Lives Matter will link up with ISIS to take down our republic. With Trump’s plans to break up families and deport undocumented people within his first 100 days, we will also most likely see a plethora of issues dealing with these mass deportations specifically, and immigration in general. If Clarke is indeed the next Secretary of Homeland Security, we must leverage our relationships with law enforcement to highlight these counterproductive and ineffective policies and through coalition work, put pressure on DHS to ensure our collective rights.

Laws that disproportionately affect minorities must be reconsidered and reversed immediately. Law enforcement needs to be transparent and held accountable by independent oversight boards. The DOJ made a positive step by ordering police officers to wear body cameras -- these reforms must continue under the new administration. Engagement on these issues will be difficult, but that does not mean we should allow the difficulty of the task to paralyze us from working together as a coalition and working to overcome the challenges that we will inevitably face.

The country is more divided and polarized. The toxicity of American politics has reached the tipping point. But, we must continue to have a role and use our leverage in local, state, and federal government. We serve as public officials, judges, and leaders for America in all industries. Our community understands that we must be dedicated to civic and political engagement. The next four years are critical to the soul of our nation. We have the energy to work effectively and guarantee that we are represented and heard. American Muslims have the power to impact and influence American politics. We have been part of the American fabric, and MPAC will continue to do so by being even more engaged and organized to affect change for the betterment of our nation and leverage our relationship with government officials to advocate for our community.



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