Trump’s disheveled, divided America: A response to the protest in Charlottesville

Sarahy Lopez, News Editor

As someone who was born from Mexican immigrants, I’m shocked and angry at the abhorrent actions of the Neo-Nazi groups that descended upon Charlottesville on Aug. 12.

I obsessively followed the news stories that appeared that entire week, and was in utter disbelief, fearing for the safety of the counter-protesters that bravely confronted the Nazi groups. My entire family, my coworkers, and my friends were also equally upset.

People were murdered, injured and scarred. It wasn’t just an attack on other beliefs, but physical attacks as well. And it wasn’t just a protest on the removal of an old statue, it went far beyond that. The torch-wielding Neo-Nazis were there to intimidate and cause chaos, and many of them have expressed so on social media.

My parents migrated from Mexico in the hopes of finding an accepting country that would give them better opportunities than where they grew up. My mother’s hometown did not have flushing toilets, and my father grew up in an area where children were placed to work almost as soon as they learned to walk and talk. My parents went through so many hardships that I and my younger brother could only imagine. There was no way they wanted that life for us, so they worked hard and used their life savings to move to the United States. It took them years to become legal residents, they were even involved in a scam where an immigration lawyer stole thousands of dollars from them, but they eventually became legal residents and I was born a U.S. citizen.

I didn’t realize how much my parents sacrificed until my mother took me to visit Mexico, where she grew up in Veracruz. I saw third-world poverty for the first time in my life and that’s when it hit me: my parents spared us this life. We were lucky, luckier than most of my cousins and relatives who remained in Mexico.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” I learned this phrase before any nursery rhymes.

After Charlottesville, I no longer felt safe in my skin. Everything I learned growing up, remembering how my parents praised living here, made it even more disturbing to witness the alt-right’s weekend assault across every TV screen or news channel.

American’s complex and long history of racism, violence, and hate toward minority groups was as clear as it can be on the streets of Charlottesville. This is something that no longer can be ignored or looked over.

But hearing from all my friends and family and their support toward each other, I know that love can overcome the hate that boiled up over the past week. I still continue to believe that good will overcome the bad, as long as we all stand united against it. We can’t allow this country to become Trump’s disheveled, divided America.