Donald Trump has been all over our televisions, newspapers and even our Twitter accounts in the last couple of weeks as he decides whether to move forward with his bid in the race against Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States. Trump has become the topic of much discussion about whether he is seriously running or if this all part of a scam, some type of publicity stunt or a way of playing with peoples’ lives and emotions for his own sick amusement.
Our younger generation views this man as a powerful, successful, strong figure who represents “being hip” because he has money and hangs out with Russell Simmons. But what they don’t understand is that Donald Trump doesn’t care about our Black and Latino people. He doesn’t care about our communities or our well-being. What has Donald Trump done for our neighborhoods or our children besides attack our president and call his so-called friends, “The Blacks”? What would he bring to the table for our people of color if he were to win the presidency? I can’t tell you what he would bring, but I can give you first-hand knowledge of what he has done.
In April of 1989, Donald Trump took out full-page ads in all of the major New York City newspapers calling for the death penalty for Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Khary Wise and myself, Raymond Santana. The death penalty!!!! Not juvenile psychology or an in-depth look at the juvenile justice system; he called for the end of our very existences.
Donald Trump wanted to lie us down on a table face-up, strap us down and inject us with a fatal dose of drugs that would stop our hearts and discontinue our breathing. Donald Trump wanted to execute 14 and 15-year-old children. I ask you: Is this the characteristic of a president?
I ask you, Donald Trump: What would have been going through your mind as that poison entered our bloodstreams? As we took our last breaths? As you found out, years later, that Matias Reyes was and is the real predator who beat and raped the Central Park Jogger? Would you apologize then? Would you have put out full-page ads in all of the major newspapers decrying the injustice to save our youth?
If you had your way, Donald Trump, I wouldn’t have been able to see the truth finally revealed and our names cleared. I wouldn’t have been able to look into my daughter’s eyes this past weekend as I wished her happy birthday. We wouldn’t have even existed. Donald Trump, you–as well as the justice system–have failed us. You took away our childhoods, our possibilities and our growth and replaced them with prison memories, uncertainty and struggle.
According to reports, Donald Trump, you yourself, at 13 years of age, had some difficulties at the Kew Forest School in Queens and as a result were sent to the New York Military Academy in Upstate New York. How would you have felt if you were labeled a monster? Or an animal? You were given a new start, a second chance. But when it came time to pay it back and do the right thing, you took ours away.
I ask that you look at this man and bypass the money and the fame. Bypass the TV shows and the photographs of him with our leaders in the hip-hop community and view him for what he really is: A man who has no respect, no compassion and no morals. A man who feels that he can do and say whatever he wants without having to answer for his words and actions. A man who can attack our president and refer to our people as “The Blacks.”
I would surely hate to see what he had in store for our community if he were to ever become President Trump!
Raymond Santana Jr. is one of the five Black and Latino (then-) teenagers who, in 1989, were wrongfully charged with the rape and near-fatal beating of a white female jogger in what came to be known as the “Central Park Jogger” case. In 2002, Matias Reyes, the real and only perpetrator confessed, and the convictions of all five young men, who had served between 8 and 13 years in jail, were vacated.