CHICAGO Friday, March 11, 2016. Due to the presence of thousands of protesters, tonight’s Trump rally in Chicago was called off. As of this moment, there are no reports of anyone being hurt or injured.
UPDATE: After Trump’s campaign (not the Chicago police) called off the rally, there were some clashes between Trump supporters and protestors. I do not ever condone violence. The vast majority of people peacefully exited the rally, despite what the media may have you think. Trump himself has created and encouraged an atmosphere of violence in his campaign rallies, and now he is trying to create a narrative that all the protestors are “bad, dangerous people.” But the city of Chicago is not a reality tv show, and Trump’s script doesn’t work.
For months, I have avoided writing about politics on this blog, because I have a very diverse community here at Portrait of an Adoption. I always try to celebrate our differences and find strength in our commonalities. I recognize that people who place babies for adoption tend to be more pro-life and thus often have more conservative leanings. I am very respectful of different views, even though I am personally liberal in my politics.
All this week, I have been preparing for the panel I will be moderating next weekend at C2E2, one of the largest pop culture conventions in the country. My panel is called End Bullying: Becoming A Superhero In Real Life, and the focus is on how to teach everyday people to take a stand against hate, bullying and discrimination.
As part of the lead-up to my nonprofit organization’s antibullying work at C2E2, I am going to run anti-bullying programs at Cameron Elementary School in West Humboldt Park this week. The school’s population is 99% low income. More than 67% of students are Hispanic, and more than 32% of the students are black.
The goal of my time with these students is to teach them that everyone has a voice and that every voice matters. Just because someone is whiter than you or richer than you or more educated than you does not mean they are better than you. We will talk about empowering victims, teaching empathy to bullies, and – most importantly – we will practice how to switch from being bystanders into acting as witnesses and allies.
But how can I in good conscience talk with young marginalized children about using their voices, if I do not say what I have wanted to say for months? It isn’t about politics; it’s about right and wrong and human decency.
Donald Trump is a bully. He repeatedly tries to use his power to threaten, intimidate, and discriminate against those who he believes are inferior to him. I am a woman. I am a Jew. I know what it is to be a hated, despised entity. And I cannot stand silently by and watch my friends and loved ones – black, Mexican, Muslim – be threatened with random acts of violence and deportation. Not in our city. Not on our watch.
So I will depart from my policy of leaving politics off this blog. History is doomed to repeat itself unless we learn from it. I have read book after book after book to my three girls about heroes and heroines such as Sojourner Truth, Cesar Chaves, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dolores Huerta, and Jackie Robinson. I tell my girls, you can be a hero, too. Just stand up for what you believe in. (Sometimes it’s something as simple as writing a letter to Hasbro to make sure the female lead of Star Wars is fairly represented in Monopoly).
Tonight, Chicago is a city where ordinary people are taking a stand against hate and fear.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CNN that there were no reports of injuries or arrests at the event. He added that attendees were exiting the rally and appeared to be civil.
Those who stood up to protest Trump are everyday people who see what is happening. Trump’s phrase of “saying it like it is” has become a euphemism for bullying and hatemongering. My absolute favorite Republican president was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln famously said, “Whenever I hear anyone argue for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” I wonder how Trump would feel about having his rights stripped, his family deported, his hope destroyed. I wonder how our 16th President would feel if he saw who is striving to represent the party he so loved.
My entire career is centered around teaching children tolerance, empathy, and acceptance, but if we adults don’t stand up nonviolently to people like Trump, then we cannot in good conscience expect young, impoverished, undocumented children to have the courage to stand up nonviolently for themselves.
Tonight, Chicago, we are on the right side of history. May the Force Be With Us All.
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