We are sitting outside of the Supreme Court of the United States, awaiting the futures of our friends and families to be determined in the coming days. As the moon sets and the bright lights of the Capitol building shine down upon us, I have Angela Davis’ Freedom is a Constant Struggle on my lap, while two of my fellow Arizona neighbors lay down on the ground next to me. It is no coincidence that 11 out of the 52 people in line at this point are from Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city and a predominantly Latinx community. Not all of us here are undocumented, though. Most of us grew up in Arizona, and we are here to fight for our DACAmented brothers and sisters.
We have seen the effects of the decisions that directly target immigrant populations in Arizona. DACA recipients in Arizona are forced to pay out-of-state tuition, up to triple the amount, which takes a toll on the more than 2,000 students in Arizona public colleges. It is yet another tactic to instill fear within a vulnerable and historically oppressed population. To be part of the movement directly in Washington, D.C. is a privilege, as we are able to advocate for a just and equal society for marginalized communities across the nation, not just in our hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. We stand in solidarity as allies to support our friends, family, and to protest the harsh circumstances they face. As a citizen, I recognize the privilege of not having to live in constant fear and acknowledge that this fight is not to be fought solely by immigrants.
It is a battle that all members of the community have to fight. For this to play out in our favor, we have to rely on our allies and identify intersectionality as central to this movement. This fight is not exclusive to the Latinx community. As a Latinx youth, I’ve come to recognize the struggles that indigenous, black, Latinx and other ethnic groups share. These commonalities are hardly acknowledged and that is the root of many of our problems. We can not be selective about which issues we choose to fight for and amplify. This is everyone’s fight.
There is clear intersectionality between the social, political, and environmental issues that communities of color experience first-hand. The issues we are facing in modern American society are not specific to one ethnic group but pose a threat to all marginalized communities. Immigration, climate change, police brutality — when you look at the powers that be perpetuating these systems of injustice in our political systems, it becomes easy to see how they are all interrelated. The DACA oral arguments are not only a direct attack on the undocumented community. Similarly, the environmental injustice that predominantly native tribes and low-income areas endure is a demonstration of the systematic oppression directly targeting people of color. All in all, it is evident that the current political structure and those in a position of power have embraced policies of increasing hostility towards people of color. These same policies are directly targeting and attacking those who do not have the power or privilege to fight back. This is the era of Trump.
To be interning in the House during such a critical time in history, an era when “no one is above the law” echoes from the Lincoln Memorial down to the Capital has been profound. I can feel the forces pushing to create change for the betterment of society. “The Squad” and other congress members want Congress to become an inclusive space that is actually representative of the people it serves in order to uplift the voices that have been silenced for far too long. These members of Congress understand the complexities we as people of color face. They recognize that DREAMers did not get to choose their place of birth and this fight is not about what a document says. This fight is not about citizenship status, it is not a defining factor of one’s identity. Instead, this fight is about combating the tyrannical actions of this administration and establishing a sense of pride and belonging that is rightfully everyone’s in the United States, the land of immigrants. Home is here.