Staying politically optimistic

CHRISTINA GREER PH.D | 2/21/2019, 9:42 a.m.
The recent blatant power grab coming out of the White House is a lot to digest. For many, the feelings ...
U.S. Capitol Pixabay

The recent blatant power grab coming out of the White House is a lot to digest. For many, the feelings of depression and disgust are commonplace when thinking about the political leadership in Washington. The president is attempting to unilaterally fund his useless wall to nowhere. His homage to his notions of racism and bigotry threaten to bankrupt our nation and it appears the Republican party is willing to sacrifice democracy in the name of loyalty to a man who has no respect for the executive office. However, the encouraging news seems to be the groundswell of activists and organizers coming together to counteract the many facets of the Trump agenda. The tentacles of hate coming from this administration extend so far and wide. However, there are countless organizations disseminating the work that needs to be done and attacking this agenda of hate at each turn.

The work of so many organizations across the country gives me hope. There are good people in this country, documented and undocumented, combating the Trump agenda that seems bent on taking civil rights and civil liberties away from marginalized groups, immigrants, racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and the list goes on. Many of these organizations are operating within the constraints of the political agendas and priorities of nonprofit foundations; others are managing to succeed with incredibly small budgets and/or the kindness of those also in the struggle.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. In his capacity as executive director, “He oversees CCR’s groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes using international and domestic law to hold corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; challenging racial, gender, and LGBT injustice; combating abusive immigration policies and Muslim profiling; and stopping the illegal expansion of U.S. presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo and torture.” The Center for Constitutional Rights recently teamed up with Color of Change, led by the inspiring Rashad Robinson, and is currently engaged in demanding answers from the federal government as to their treatment and classification of Black Lives Matter activists. This arduous work gives me hope for the long arc of the struggle for freedom.

I know I have written this in previous columns, but we—that is, those who respect democratic principles and are committed to social justice and equity—must remain vigilant. We must also remember this fight is not a sprint, but a continuation of the tiring fights of our ancestors. We have an opportunity to change the course of this nation. Let us remember our collective power and support the many organizations doing the difficult work each day. We can win, we must never forget this fact.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC and the host of The Aftermath and The Counter on Ozy.com.