On 17 December, 2015, Donald Trump proposed a complete ban on all Muslims from entering the United States, sparking outrage and fear in communities across the country. In the summer of 2016, he then promoted the idea of creating a database to track Muslim Americans that was eventually condemned by hundreds of Silicon Valley employees who pledged to never help create such a registry. Now, after winning the presidential election thanks to the support of 58 percent of all white voters, the former real estate mogul will be sworn into office as the nation’s 45th president. In the days ahead of the inauguration, The Independent asked emerging voices to weigh in on the following three questions:
What does a Trump presidency mean to you?
What does America look like from here on out?
How do you plan on resisting?
Founder of MuslimGirl.com
“The Trump presidency to me is an affirmation of everything that’s wrong with our country's past when it comes to race and understanding. Trump was elected to the highest office based on one of the most divisive and offensive presidential campaigns in recent memory, largely inflaming economic anxiety by scapegoating minorities and throwing them under the bus. As a Muslim woman who was a child when 9/11 happened and grew up during the height of Islamophobia, I never imagined that my fellow countrymen would openly discuss a “Muslim registry” as an actual policy platform. When he started talking about a ban on Muslim immigration a year ago, it already became scarier for Muslim women to step out of their homes with a headscarf.
“Now, I fear what this national stamp of approval on anti-Muslim bigotry will mean for my Muslim sisters and now Muslim children that might have to endure an even worse experience than I did growing up. Even before the elections, I knew minority communities would have to bear the burden of repairing the damage of this campaign cycle for years to come. With Trump as president, there's an even more stark reality staring us in the face for the fight that lies ahead. We don't plan on quieting down anytime soon.”
Religious Editor at Sapelo Square
“I am not afraid of Trump. He, more than any candidate for public office I have ever seen showed the fragility of the human being. He was constantly wrong, uneducated, uncompassionate, misdirected and willfully ignorant. These are all the aspects of humanity that are flawed, limited and deficient. There is something about Trump that is strikingly evanescent. At the same time, a mosquito bite still stings even though the mosquito dies shortly after. I'm sure that some well-meaning people voted for him, but there were others who were attracted to his hateful rhetoric in particular. It makes one wonder, sadly, about the ‘racist next door’.
“I never thought that America had resolved its race problem, but I never wanted to have to see it this intensely, festering and crusting over as I saw this past year. It worries me – those who fan the flames of racism because this country has a history. There is something serpentine that works to capitalise off of people's ignorance, and that cannot be ignored. Trump is the kind of person who even though they don't deserve to be spoken to nicely, you still must bargain with them because they are holding a bomb. So the challenge for my community will be navigating this presidency with determinedness and grace. Choosing to be strategic instead of reactionary because we recognise the delicateness of the situation we face. That will be difficult, and sometimes we might slip, but we are doing it for ourselves and for what we deserve, not for him.”
Reporter at Mic
“The uncertainty of a Trump presidency is what frightens me the most. As a journalist, who happens to be Muslim-American, I'm afraid about what is yet to come for the fourth estate. Without press freedoms, an administration with fascist ideals will go unchecked. Furthermore, Trump's crusade against the press will only increase the harassment and violence targeted towards journalists from white nationalist and alt-right extremists.”
“As a Muslim-American, I've never been more afraid for my civil liberties and safety in the United States. While historically, Muslims in traditional dress are physically attacked in the US, Trump's plans for heightened surveillance and a Muslim database will impact the entire Muslim community and its allies. When our homes are under surveillance, we're robbed of the very last place we can feel safe and secure. Without our privacy rights and civil liberties, we're prisoners to our own home.”
“I plan on resisting in the only way I know how and can do well: by elevating the voices of marginalised communities and holding those in power accountable. Now is the time for adversarial journalism. More than ever, journalists have to come together and push back against any of Trump's attempts to silence or punish the press. I hope other members of the press join me in these efforts.”
“The Trump administration is showing the same sort of short term interest in the financial well-being of lobbies and special interests at the costs of America’s long term economic viability. Increasingly, voters are concerned with this issue and with issues like special interests’ influence over elections ahead of many other issues. What I fear, as a Muslim and as an American, is that my life in America, in the economy, and in the nation with economic and military primacy will be worse than my parent’s life and that is already appearing to be the case as we look at the appointments and political maneuvers.”
City Councillor in Cambridge in Massachusetts
“The most important thing in our lives as Americans are our economic futures, the other aspect that we look at solely within the Muslim community is this vendetta against Muslim civic organising and Muslim legal defense – this idea that Muslims have to be attacked by Breitbart, be taken apart by legislation, and that very clever manoeuvres are being introduced almost inconsequential seeming maneuvers.”
“I’m not so worried about certain aspects of Trump’s promises and agenda on the campaign trail, what I’m really worried about is the longstanding mission to demonise the ‘other’ which is very much in full swing. And the press is more interested in Trump’s incendiary statements than the actual process of rolling back anti-American sentiments. It’s anti-American to ruin someone’s religious and spiritual life. It’s anti-American to target organisations of a certain religious affiliation.”
“One of the most important things we can do is educate journalists on their role. The role of journalists is not to place the clickbait headline. Trump is willing to be dishonest and escalate the statements to continue to garner the highest level of attention and dissemination. This has emboldened and has supported his candidacy and ultimately his election in a way that has taken our journalistic assets from us. Journalism is a truth seeking process that must be reclaimed.”
Executive Director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations
“Looking forward at the next four years, I definitely view it as being the greatest challenge I have faced as an American Muslim and activist and as a leader in my community. Even though anti-Muslim sentiment has been a reality for decades, especially post-9/11 – there has never been a more open and blatant attempt to marginalise us, as well as many other minority groups by an incoming President. More concerning than Trump's overarching rhetoric, are the actual people he's bringing in to staff his cabinet. Many of whom are closely aligned with Islamophobic hate groups in America, and are seeking to curb the civil liberties of our community.”
“This is not a time to sit back and stick one’s head in the sand. This is a time to build strong alliances with other marginalised communities and educate the public on how we will be affected. Right now, we have a few different projects in the works in collaboration with minority communities and within the interfaith community as well, to stand together in the face of hate. Through this collaboration, our collective voices will be much stronger in the fight against hate and bigotry.”
Founder of Equality for HER
“For me, a Trump presidency means sustained violence against our most vulnerable communities. In light of his continued disregard for our most cherished institutions and civil rights leaders, I am reminded that a Trump presidency also means a war of ideologies and narratives in addition to his plans to dismantle our public safety nets. Trump's presidency means that resistance and staying woke are no longer optional.”
“I'm going to be sharing my knowledge of grassroots organising and protest at every opportunity that presents itself. I will remember that we are all siblings on this earth and that we are stronger when we are united. I will continue to resist Trump's narrative despite its increasing prevalence. Finally, I will be editing the Resistance Manual which was created by Sam Sinyangwe and the entire Campaign Zero team.”