A Revolutionary Mother’s Guide to a bully becoming president
Author: Iris Altamirano
When a bully becomes president, reports of attacks on people of color, queers, Jews, Muslims, and those perceived to be from other countries are on the rise. For a local list of hate on Minnesota school grounds, click here.
I write this knowing that fear and love can not coexist in the same thought.
When a bully becomes president, our children not only pay attention to everything we say and do, they particularly pay attention to our silence.
When a bully becomes president, it is time to speak up!
Remaining silent about oppression, moments of racial tension or violence, endured by marginalized communities and refusing to see how the beauty of our culture was largely born out of necessity is cruel.
Our beauty is a necessary response to fear. Your silence is also a form of fear.
Here is a short guide to help with communication. Why? Because we need to ready ourselves for the projected 4 years that our communities will have to fight for our rights, for our liberties and what already feels like for our LIVES.
This will be my guide, as my children grow from 5 to 9 and 3 to 7 years old under this new administration, keeping in mind the levels of age-appropriateness.
First, we must stop our children and ourselves from saying the word hate. Hate is a strong word. Hate has already won this election. To be able to say hate, means one has already worked though initial thought, the last step is to act hateful and support hate.
Parents, we cannot teach our child to hate. To teach them to hate is to teach them how to be a negative person in general. This takes years to overcome, if it can be overcome at all.
My mother would always say: “La maldad se aprende muy facil, cuesta trabajo ser buena.” Bad behavior is so easily learned, it takes work to be good.
This is a poem I have come across to help our children remain a light in the darkness.
Second, practice sticking up for yourself and others. We can practice this in our everyday lives by our words, actions, and ways we chose to live as individuals and with our communities.
For some of us, attacks are not abstract, to prepare we must ask:
How will you stick up for yourself?
How will you intervene if you see injustice?
Third, cultivating physical spaces where community can gather to seek safety and connection, live daily with gratitude and awareness. We must cultivate taking good care, taking good care of each other, and taking good care of yourself.
Try not to fight within, do not give up power so easily. We have everything within ourselves and in our communities to enact true change starting with the everyday actions in our home, our neighborhoods and our schools.
This is the time for action and movement.
Use this 5 questions to help crack the surface and begin cultivating space and connection:
- How does the result of this election affect you personally?
- What in US History supports this election results into existence?
- What social and political structures (laws) hold this in place or contribute to this worsening? (I.e. Interconnected issues)
- What has been done so far to change our current circumstances that you know of?
- What are questions you have that you feel you need answered to understand this issue deeper?
Then ask: What did you all discover about the issue that you sought to tackle? What layers did you uncover?
Fourth, understand terms like Racial Microaggressions, micro-insult, micro-invalidation, and micro-exclusion identification and response. Never to allow these conscious or unconscious behaviours be normalized.
Turning a blind eye is an overt reminder to marginalized communities of our inferior place in society. Document these lived experiences and prepare to throw them up against disbelief.
Lastly, tell our children that those that are content with this world are those who reap the most benefits from it. This is not new.
Tell them to not be frozen in disbelief of truth. That the truth is capitalism, racism, patriarchy and misogyny have always been foundations of this country and have always been present.
Tell them throughout US history we have encountered these injustices and oppressions at extremes- genocide of Natives, Slavery, segregation, injustices around undocumented people’s, Black and Brown people being shot on the street, etc. But we have continued rising up. Tell them to not fear. Tell them that our ancestors did much more with far less and that they have taught us to do the same
Tell them this is a time for interconnection and unity.
Tell them this is a time for courageous love and community vigilance.
When a bully becomes president, it is time to love harder, read more, and stand stronger!