Nearly 300 people gathered Sunday in solidarity with communities that have been singled out by President-elect Donald Trump throughout his campaign.
Organized by Albuquerque Interfaith and attended by leaders from numerous religious congregations, public schools and nonprofits, the event at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church focused on working “together democratically to defend members of the community who may face discrimination and attack.”
Julie Radoslovich, director of the South Valley Academy, a college-preparatory public charter middle and high school in the heart of the South Valley, said that for many families at the school, Trump’s election feels like an attack on them and on diversity, and it has brought “fear and uncertainty” to their lives.
That, she said, is evidenced by some of the questions students asked school social workers in the wake of the election: “What is going to happen if my parents get taken away? Are we going into foster care?” “Can he deport people right away, like in January?” “How does the government find out who has papers and who doesn’t?” “What’s going to happen to America?”
The event Sunday aimed to foster unity and validate people’s feelings, organizers said.
“Today, many people in our congregations and schools are afraid, especially those that our president-elect has regularly attacked,” said Christopher McLaren, rector of St. Marks Episcopal Church. “Right now, the world feels full of hate, unleashed by an unprecedented presidential campaign that shocked and dismayed many with its name calling, bullying behavior, lack of truth telling and outright disregard for a wide swath of our citizenry. As members of Albuquerque Interfaith, we are committed to stand with those being excluded in our city, in our state and around this county.”
McLaren told those assembled that “when you really get to know people and build relationships with them, you begin to realize the transformational truth that we really are all brothers and sisters, and we share a common humanity with all of its concerns, struggles and joys.”
And when people of good will join together, he said “we can build a stronger democracy that cares for all the people who make this country great.”
University of New Mexico senior Natalia Garcia said she comes from an immigrant family and was attending the interfaith gathering to “speak on behalf of my friends and family members” who have lived in the United States for many years but do not hold citizenship.
“With the election of Donald Trump, a whole community has become emotionally unhinged, experiencing fear, sadness, anger and disappointment all at the same time,” Garcia told those gathered. “They fear having to go back to a country they do not know. The progress we have made as a nation is being dismantled by the words and ideology of people who are fearful of what’s different.”