OUR COMMUNITY SPEAKS
From the January-February 2017 PNL #854
Khadijo Abdulkadir addresses the Syracuse rally in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington. Photo: Sam Rose
This special issue of the Peace Newsletter is devoted to the concerns, fears, anger and confusion of our community in the wake of Trump’s election. It is also devoted to the creativity, courage, hope, energy and action that have burst forth in resistance to the Trump/Pence/Ryan agenda.
The Peace Council offered this issue of the PNL to The CNY Solidarity Coalition to use. Many people participated in its visioning, writing and production. And yet, it was hard to finish—many of the writers and editors are also organizers, and at this moment, being in the streets and building relationships took precedence over putting words on paper.
A community is composed of many communities, interrelated but distinct. And within those communities are beautifully complex individuals who cannot be defined by a single attribute or put into a box. Some have shared their thoughts and feelings in these pages, and we are all stirred to action. This is our Coalition’s pledge:
We, the people of Syracuse and Central New York, are proud inheritors of the local struggle for abolition and suffrage and survivors of decades of economic deprivation.
We hereby pledge:
To tear down the walls that divide and impoverish us;
To oppose any effort to register, detain, deport, or attack our neighbors;
To provide refuge for those in danger or need;
To protect our water, air, and land as our kin.
Please join us (see back cover).
Being a Muslim in the US Today
When I originally came to the US, people were so friendly and no one really segregated people based on their religion or where they chose to worship. Then 9/11 happened and everything changed.
Close friends and colleagues started aggressively and negatively asking questions about Islam, and what kind of Muslim I was. I found out that our government tried to entrap young Muslim men, and being a mother of three Muslim boys, that made me very uncomfortable. The fact is, after 9/11, Muslims didn’t change. We are still the same Americans, trying to make this country a better place, one we can proudly raise our children in, and one we can proudly call home.
Last year we started to see a rise in fear, and fueling that flame almost single-handedly pushed our current president into office. Now instead of being able to freely help our American society, we are the ones who live in fear.
We live in fear because our President, one of the most powerful people in the world, also happens to be one of the most vocal people against Muslims. Some women don’t want to go out alone. Others take their head scarves off in fear of being abused on the street.
For me, I remember when an old man once told me that God put us on this earth to do a job. So let us do it to the best of our ability, and God will take care of the rest.
Magda Bayoumi is a member of SPC and is also on the boards of the Rahma Clinic and InterFaith Works.
A Perilous Outlook for 2017
We, indigenous peoples, already have a tenuous relationship with the federal government. We Haudenosaunee do not participate in it, rather stand steadfast to treaties negotiated by those who came before us. We know our teachings differ from the rhetoric we’ve witnessed. We continue our relationship with the world around us in spirit and song. We know about the other ship—and we’ve traveled the path with many, many presidents before this one. But, we’ve never known of one so blatantly rude and egotistical.
The new President’s agenda is alarming and insulting for minority cultures. He has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to restart the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, without the promised environmental study and without dialogue with Native people. The Lakota people of Standing Rock who have spiritual bonds to the land and water are put once again in harm's way with a narrowing path toward a peaceful resolution. The land grab era of the United States hasn’t ended. Native nations, primarily on western “reservations”, are likely to face additional challenges as the new administration sets its sights on fossil fuels on reservation lands.
Ever since first contact, the struggle has been about our places to live and grow, to harvest and restore. Our vision hasn’t changed. We will keep our fires burning. We will keep our way of life intact as best we can during these tumultuous times. We must protect our inherent right to live as was intended all across this land. And, we will continue to give thanksgivings for the daily gifts that help us all to live.
Wendy Gonyea is a member of the Onondaga Nation (parts of this piece were originally printed in Ononda’geh Ongwawenna, the newsletter of the Onondaga Nation).
HR 676: NY Health Act Is Antidote to Price’s For-profit Insurance Plan
The Republican Congressional majority has healthcare in its crosshairs and has begun to try to dismantle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or “Obamacare”). If they succeed, an estimated 2.7 million New Yorkers would lose healthcare coverage and about 124,000 New Yorkers would lose help in paying for their health coverage (my health insurance premiums would increase from $195 to almost $500 monthly!).
It’s critical to both resist any attempts to repeal the ACA and to insist that the only acceptable replacement is a system that guarantees healthcare for all, such as Representative John Conyers’ Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Bill, HR 676. In New York, we can pass the New York Health Act to guarantee healthcare to all New Yorkers regardless of income, wealth, place of employment or immigration status. No more copays, premiums, or deductibles. Rather, New York Health would be paid for by progressive taxes on income and would provide all medically necessary care, including vision, dental, and mental health.
According to a 2009 Harvard study, for every one million people without health insurance, there will be 1000 unnecessary deaths each year. If the ACA is repealed, over four million New Yorkers will be without health insurance, meaning 4,000 preventable deaths each year. The NYS legislature can take action to protect New Yorkers and guarantee healthcare for all. New York Health has passed the NYS Assembly in 2015 and 2016. Please contact your State Senator and urge them to sponsor New York Health this session. Learn more at nyhcampaign.org.
Ursula Rozum is an organizer with The Campaign for NY Health.
Defending Academic Dissent
As a higher education worker, I’m very concerned about the threat the Trump administration poses to academic freedom. The recent gag order placed on EPA and USDA scientists is indicative of how the administration intends to handle empirical knowledge that undercuts their right-wing, capitalist ideology. In this climate, it’s especially important to defend the rights of higher education workers who teach anti-racist, anti-imperialist, feminist, trans-positive, and pro-worker curriculum.
At the same time, we have to be vigilant in recognizing and calling out the way phrases like “academic freedom” and “free speech” are mobilized to conceal actual power relations. This is apparent in the repression—under the false pretense that they undermine academic freedom—of faculty who support the BDS movement and Palestinian liberation. The smear campaign against Drexel University Professor George Ciccarello-Maher for his satirical tweet mocking white supremacists highlights the contradiction in the ruling class’s mobilization of “free speech”—which gets invoked to justify speech that reinforces oppression while speech that challenges the status quo is silenced. Racist, misogynist, ableist, and anti-immigrant speech should not be permitted to circulate “freely,” as it continuously has through Trump’s Twitter feed and media outlets.
Speech—in whatever form it takes—has material effects. Defending the academic freedom of education workers and students who name and fight oppression and exploitation is critical for building resistance to the Trump administration and the right-wing, ruling class interests they serve.
Laura Jaffe is a Graduate Worker, Educator, and Activist.
Afraid and Resisting
One of the more popular slogans of the migrants’ rights movement is “Undocumented and Unafraid.” But the reality is that to be undocumented in this country means having to manage an ever constant fear. And to be truthful, I am no more afraid of a Trump presidency than I have been the past eight years under President Obama.
The cold reality is that despite the flowery rhetoric, President Obama amply earned the moniker “deporter-in-chief” by deporting an estimated 2.5 million immigrants during his tenure, more than any other president in the history of this country. He is now handing down that very efficient deportation machinery to a man who was partly elected by using openly xenophobic and racist messaging.
One of Trump’s close immigration advisers is Kris Kobach, the intellectual architect of the most brutal anti-immigrant pieces of legislation proposed in the past few years, and a man described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the most dangerous White Nativists in the country. So I am afraid.
But paradoxically, I was less devastated by Trump’s election than a lot of my friends because I have long been in a precarious situation. The tragedy of course is that many more of us will be in such a precarious space. I pledge to fight not just for my undocumented kinfolk, but also to keep fighting for my Black, women, queer, Muslim and refugee friends who will also be at risk. Our resistance must be intersectional or it will be ineffective.
Aly Wane is an undocumented activist.
Sanctuary for All
A few days after our nation celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Donald Trump, a man who threatens the same rights King fought for, became President of the United States. In one of his very first acts as president Donald Trump removed President Obama’s webpage on civil rights and replaced it with a page entitled, “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community.” His message to the Black community: your lives mean nothing to me.
Many of us cried that morning. Yet, the opposition has arisen. People who had never participated in protests have flooded the streets and begun to discuss concepts like intersectionality. Syracuse declared itself a sanctuary city. As bleak as the world has become, it seems as though we might finally find each other in the dark.
It is our sincerest hope that these moments of solidarity aren’t a temporary flare of conscience—a burst of white guilt— but something permanent. When the 10,000 new federal immigration agents, and 5,000 new border control agents Trump plans to hire come for our neighbors, we must again take to the streets, and put our bodies between those agents and the most vulnerable. We also hope that our shared fear of fascism leads this city to declare itself a sanctuary for all of us on the margins, a sanctuary from police violence and rape culture. Let our anger at Trump force us to turn our eyes to those like him in our city.
Herve Comeau is a Black Lives Matter organizer in Syracuse, NY.
A Refugee Speaks
Amar Mahmoud arrived in the US as a refugee from Iraq. He is a student at Onondaga Community College and works with individuals with developmental disabilities. He also volunteers many hours helping the refugee community in Syracuse.
I asked Amar how refugee families he knows have been feeling since the election.
The concern of many refugee families is to get their paperwork done quickly because they are afraid of being kicked out of the US. They also fear that if they were forced to leave, they could not go back to their countries because they will be killed. Most people, when I ask them why they are here, they say they want to live in peace and have a better life for their children. They will work at any job for a better education for their children.
Have you personally noticed changes in people’s behavior towards you since the election?
I noticed a difference even before the election. People in public places hear my accent and react differently. They look up when my name is called at the DMV or doctor’s office. I tell my friends to be careful and to avoid trouble with people who may be suspicious of us. I tell them not to grow a long beard, or use the “call to prayer” app, because if it goes off in the grocery store, people nearby might say something and start trouble.
How can people who would like to be allies of the refugee community be helpful?
Spend time and get to know people. It takes time to build trust and bonds between people if we don’t know who you are.
–Interview by Caroline Kim Tihanyi
Trump and the Military
I am a US Navy Veteran, active duty 1975-1981, with one year in the Naval Reserves, 1983-1984. I did two overseas deployments to the Pacific and Indian Oceans on aircraft carriers. I am a combat Veteran of the Cold War and participated in armed conflicts. These experiences shaped my opinion of the military and war.
The next commander in chief’s military experience was the making of a wealthy man’s son. Donald Trump avoided the military and war by getting deferments, four for college and one for bad feet. He played the system and saved himself from the fate of over 58,000 young men and women who died in Viet Nam and the countless numbers who came back broken human beings. He went to an expensive private military academy, comparing his experience there to actually being in the military. I think he lacks understanding of what the military is and does. A person who enlists in the US military is forced to stay in for the amount of time stipulated in their contract and is severely punished for failing to follow direct orders. Failure to do one’s duty can result in death, especially while deployed to a war zone. Donald Trump could have quit his military school at any time if it became too difficult for him.
Trump has chosen to surround himself with retired generals. I think the military people surrounding him will call the shots. He might just sign off on these decisions without a thought. If you want to know what actions Donald Trump might take with the military, look to the powerful people advising him and in his cabinet.
Dave Kashmer is a Veteran for Peace.
Mr. Trump and Militarism: the Menacing Clouds, their Silver Lining
Trump calls for massive military buildup.
– Sept. 7, 2016 Washington Times headline
Trump’s call[s] for a nuclear “arms race….”
– Jan. 4, 2017 Business Insider headline
Along with hubris and corporate greed, the makings of militarism are patriarchy, racism, classism, nationalism, nuclearism, imperialism, and xenophobia/Islamophobia. No US national leader within memory so perfectly embodies each of these strands as does Mr. Donald Trump.
Nor has any US president sought to appoint cabinet members who collectively so embody such strands. No US president has entered upon office with so little self-knowledge, with so much delusion. No US president has had such a distant relationship to the truth. In this, Mr. Trump has a deep affinity with war—whose first casualty, we know, is truth.
No US president has less prior experience in government. None may have been more of a “deal maker,” but none has been less disposed to diplomacy. None has been so outspoken in his disregard for people and nations beyond these United States—or indeed for the very fate of the earth. The man’s bellicosity normalizes hostility and enemy-making—whether beyond, or within, our borders.
But here’s the silver lining: perhaps never before in US history have the grassroots so quickly pushed back. Despite the opportunism Trump attracts, as never before we are already finding solidarity burgeoning and backbones stiffening. No US president has ever before awakened so many from our slumber.
Ed Kinane is a local anti-militarism activist. Reach him at email@example.com.
Nuclear Free World: Win Beyond Washington
The ignorant, cavalier comments from the White House about using nuclear weapons raise terrifying prospects. In resistance, the Nuclear Free World committee of SPC (NFW) is coordinating with national and international groups. Nationally we are pressing Congress to support the Markey/Lieu Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017; oppose the most egregious cabinet appointments; and cut funding for “modernizing” the entire weapons infrastructure. Because this is an uphill battle in the current climate, we are strategizing to act beyond legislative channels, to “Win Beyond Washington.”
NFW is joining an international divestment campaign called “Don’t Bank on the Bomb,” through which we will withdraw money from banks that support nuclear weapons and educate institutions about the ways that their investments, pension funds, etc., can create pressure to stop the accelerating arms race. Individuals can pressure our banks, changing accounts if the bank is unresponsive. (For 10 steps to break up with your mega-bank see www.breakupwithyourmegabank.org!) Congregations, colleges and city councils are potential allies and targets. For example, the city council of Cambridge, Massachusetts, voted unanimously in March 2016 to divest their $1B pension fund from companies that produce nuclear weapons. Read more at www.dontbankonthebomb.com.
Locally, NFW is collaborating with Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union and Hansen’s Advisory Services, Inc. on strategies to “Win Beyond Washington” through socially responsible banking and investment. Our campaign kicked off January 17, 2017. For next steps and to participate, see www.peacecouncil.net/programs/nuclear-free-world-committee.
Diane Swords facilitates dialogues and agitates and organizes with SPC’s Nuclear Free World Committee.
To Attack One is to Attack All
I’ve always had an interest in politics. Latte-fueled conversations about intersections of politics and social justice gave me life. When I moved to Syracuse, I became a public affairs organizer for Planned Parenthood in the midst of last year’s contentious election.
Part of being an organizer is getting a feel for what a community needs. None of us could have known that so many issues would come under attack. We all need to count on each other. The Women’s March in Washington, among numerous local activities proved to me that reproductive health has no lack of support. Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York serves over 30,000 patients of all backgrounds. Those patients stood for us, and it’s our turn to stand for them.
Post-election, the outpouring of support drove us into planning mode. One after another, people came to us. People wore their pink hats, shirts and scarves. However, as a woman of color who is a single parent, who has immigrant family members, I understood that this was not only about reproductive health. It is also about reproductive justice. Our experiences are more than our biology. Healthcare is and should be a right, and is integral to healthy communities.
Planned Parenthood will stand with immigrants, Black Lives Matter, the Muslim community, and the poor. We are this community. Coalitions are more than standing shoulder-to-shoulder on one day, then going back to daily life. To attack one is to attack all. We are providing a platform for communities to speak for themselves and to tell their own stories, so change can happen.
Gina Iliev is a Public Affairs Organizer for Planned Parenthood of Central & Western New York.
Solidarity with Planned Parenthood at Syracuse's protest on the day of the national Women's March. Photo: Sam Rose
Strength From Each Other
As I look to the future and try to understand what is ahead for our country and the world, I am reminded of something a fellow soldier used to say when we were cold, wet, and exhausted, “Don’t ever say it can’t get any worse, because it will.” With each new appointment, each new tweet, each refusal to acknowledge facts, the President and his staff seem to drag us farther and farther backward rather than moving us forward. For my children and grandchildren, it is difficult to present a positive outlook, but it is my role to do just that.
I talk to students about Onondaga Lake frequently. The most common question is “Why would somebody do what they did to a lake?” These are people (like my children and grandchildren) who were born since there was a Clean Water Act and an Environmental Protection Agency. Any positive point of view we bring to our current situation has to be based on how much we have accomplished and how dedicated we are to not letting anybody tear it apart. There will be setbacks. We will need to get strength from each other just like we did a few years ago.
Remember when we never thought we’d get a fracking ban in New York? But we talked to our neighbors, we showed up, we spoke out, and we didn’t give up. We need to find the energy to do all of that and more. Just don’t say “it can’t get any worse.”
Jack Ramsden, a veteran of both the Army and the National Park Service, is an environmentalist.
Empowering Voters to Resist Trump
The election of Donald Trump as President showed the extreme impacts of voter suppression. The GOP suppressed votes by making it harder for People Of Color, elderly and students to vote in key states and Trump suppressed the vote by convincing voters to feel discouraged about the election process. Then Trump turned out his base.
Trump continues to encourage state legislators to suppress the vote by falsely claiming that millions of people fraudulently voted in the 2016 election. The truth is that voter fraud of this type is virtually non-existent.
A powerful way for us to counter the Trump agenda is to pass local and state laws that make it easier, rather than harder to vote. New York is in particular in need of this reform. In defending North Carolina’s voter suppression laws that were found to be specifically tailored to exclude Blacks from voting, North Carolina’s attorney cited New York’s laws which have “no early voting…no same-day registration…no out-of-precinct voting…and no preregistration.”
We are working with other organizations in NYS to pass early voting and automatic voter registration. There is also an ongoing effort to pass small-donor matching funds to empower voters to participate in elections and counter the force of wealthy donors.
Please reach out to your Assembly-member, state senator and Governor Cuomo and encourage them to support these reforms.
There is also an opportunity for us to pass small-donor matching funds here in Syracuse. Please reach out to Mayor Miner and your Syracuse Common Council members to support these reforms.
Jonah Minkoff-Zern is Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign Coordinator
Don’t Dismantle Our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
The large majority of Republicans in Congress are chomping at the bit to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Given the opportunity, Republican legislators will cut and privatize Social Security, substituting 401k plans or similar retirement schemes for the benefits earned by working Americans.
Raise the Medicare eligibility age, cut and turn Medicare into a form of private insurance...and repeal Obamacare. Eviscerate Medicaid. They advocate sending a smaller, fixed amount of money each year to the states in the form of block grants—a move that would unquestionably cripple protections provided to nearly 70 million people, including children, people with disabilities and seniors.
We know that the Congressional leaders of the richest nation in the world should be talking about expanding, not cutting, these institutions!
A good place to start is with our Representative John Katko who went on record before the Central New York Chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans, saying he supported eliminating Social Security for those under forty, which would undermine their economic security and decimate the program without the contributions of those individuals. He opposes “anything that raises taxes,” including scrapping the cap so that the very rich are subject to the same payroll contribution rate as persons earning less than $127,200. Will Rep. Katko fall in line with slashing Medicaid, dismantling Medicare?
Eric R. Kingson, Ph.D., is a Professor, School of Social Work at SU and Jerry Lotierzo works with the Alliance for Retired Citizens.
Billionaires To End Access for Students with Disabilities
To say that parents, teachers and disability rights advocates are worried about how the Trump Administration will negatively impact the education of students with disabilities would be a vast understatement. Trump’s disrespect and lack of compassion was obvious in the way he mocked Serge Kovaleski. His nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education would institutionalize that disrespect.
Both Trump and DeVos have proclaimed that they are advocates for “school choice” and see education as the last great frontier for privatization. DeVos in particular has spent her career working to increase funding for charter and religious private schools, as well as advocating for online education programs. While school choice sounds as though it will put power back into the hands of parents, it is nothing more than coded language for dismantling and undermining public schools and working to further segregate schools by race, class and ability through the use of a voucher and admissions lottery system.
None of these alternative education options requires the same oversight and regulation that public schools do. Not surprisingly, they do little to protect the educational rights of children with disabilities. For example, private schools are not required to provide a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities. Nor are they required to follow any sort of individualized education program (IEP) that a student may need.
Parents, teachers, and disability rights advocates are understandably afraid that under the Trump administration profits from privatized school systems will be prioritized over quality public schools that work to meet the needs of all children.
Kelly Prucker substitutes in the Syracuse City School District while completing her Master’s in special education at SUNY-Oswego. She was diagnosed with dyscalculia in elementary school.
I am a former refugee from the largest refugee camp in Dhadhaab, Kenya. I have spent the last four years helping resettlement agencies, such as Interfaith Works, as well as refugees and immigrants, with self-empowerment.
Recently, we have created a support group empowering women refugees in Central New York. The program has taught our women the skills needed to acquire and retain jobs, earn promotions, assume leadership positions in community organizations, and advocate on behalf of other refugees like ourselves. Many of the women in the Women’s Empowerment Group have been motivated to finish high school and college degrees and aspire to professional careers previously unavailable to them, like those in the fields of science and technology.
Educating these women, who in my experience are the hardest working of our community, will eliminate many of the struggles we face.
We have decided to take this initiative to the next level and form an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization so that we’ll be able to raise funds, obtain grants and continue to build our programs for women refugees in the community. I would appreciate your support in helping me raise funds needed to start this organization and expand it throughout our community. I will continue to be a voice for refugees in the United States who don’t have one. Taking this next step will help us gain more visibility.
Khadijo Abdulkadir works with the Women’s Empowerment Group and is on the Coordinating Committee of the CNY Solidarity Coalition.
Labor and the Trump Administration
After being asked for my input on how the Trump presidency might affect labor unions and what we might do about it, I had to think about it for days to come up with a comprehensible answer. I am not sure there is one. In fact, this is the first time an election has ever frightened me. Given Donald Trump’s practice of union busting, and not paying contractors that have worked for him, labor will be in its biggest battle in my lifetime.
Trump’s cabinet selections will be horrendous not just for labor, but for all who are concerned with economic and social justice. Andrew Pudzer, Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Labor and critic of government regulation, is opposed not just to a $15 dollar minimum wage, but also to Obama’s recent expansion of overtime to lower paid salary workers. Pudzer doesn’t agree that fast food workers whom he has employed should even receive breaks. He is also opposed to the Affordable Care Act that benefits many lower wage earners.
The war on labor has been going on forever, but this now has hit a peak. How can we respond to this? The progressive community needs to keep their arms open to all, while labor goes back to its roots and helps organize itself. Labor leaders need to hit the streets and show active support for their members and others. Community alliances will be a key factor in the most significant battle of our time.
Ray Trudell is the Vice President and Chief Steward of UWS Local 0143.
Pro-science sign at the rally calling on Sen. Schumer to stand against Trump. Photo: Kimberley McCoy
NY state Can Lead the Way on Clean Energy and Climate Action
From the myriad of cabinet appointees in cahoots with the fossil fuel industry to the scrubbing of “climate change” from the White House website to executive orders in support of the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, Trump’s war on the environment is off to a stunning start.
We must organize resistance and take the renewable energy revolution into our hands. Here in New York, we have an opportunity to lead the nation in renewable energy and strong climate action. And we have the responsibility to do so in a way that empowers our communities and makes them more resilient, equitable, independent and sustainable.
There are several initiatives across the state working to make sure there is a swift and just transition to local and renewable power. To get involved, check out our organizations: New Yorkers for Clean Power, and Alliance for a Green Economy. We can help you connect with other local groups and find your place in this movement. Stay tuned for a clean energy and climate action forum we’ll be hosting in Syracuse this March.
If you don’t have the time to join a local organization, but are willing to take an action, please mark your calendar for April 29, when CNY will be mobilizing buses to the next installation of the Peoples Climate March in Washington DC.
Renee Vogelsang is Campaign Coordinator at New Yorkers for Clean Power, a statewide campaign working to transition New York to renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy efficiency. Jessica Azulay is Program Director of Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), a coalition working for a carbon-free, nuclear-free New York.
Stonewall Under Trump
February 5, thousands of demonstrators crammed Christopher Street, in NYC’s Greenwich Village, before the iconic Stonewall Inn to protest the Trump presidency, Trump’s cabinet appointments and his executive orders. Queer politics, though conceived within the more staid activism of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Mattachine Society, was ultimately born of the Stonewall rebellion––an uprising that exploded around issues of sexuality, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity and class. The patrons of the Stonewall were the poorest and most marginalized of the queer community. What better site to protest an administration bent on turning “us” against “them.”
Log Cabin, a national Republican organization representing gay conservatives, denounced the demonstration, claiming that Trump will be a gay-friendly president. They cite Trump’s praise of Elton John’s wedding and welcoming gay members to his Mar-a-Lago club as evidence, but queer politics embrace more than celebrity weddings and admission to country clubs. We are everywhere––a part of all neighborhoods, mosques, temples, churches, and families. We are immigrants and refugees. The demonstrators and speakers at the protest reflected this. We are concerned about health care, and we especially worry about the culture of bullying, given that our youth are too often the primary victims. Numerous organizations show that hate crimes have been on a rise since Trump won the election.
Selecting Vice President Mike Pence, alt-right hand man Steve Bannon, and Attorney General Sessions prove that Trump’s support for queers goes no deeper than cocktail parties. Pence is an advocate for conversion therapy. Bannon’s politics is based on exclusion. Under Sessions, the Department of Justice has backed away from the Obama administration’s support for transgender students.
Vince Sgambati’s fiction has appeared in literary journals, and his creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous online and hardcopy queer publications.