Since he campaigned for president, Trump has sent a very clear message about his stance on race and immigration. He has referred to Mexicans as rapist and criminals. Earlier this year, he called Haiti and countries in Africa, shithole countries. He has tried to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), a program that was originally designed to legalize undocumented immigrants that were brought to the states as children. And he recently called immigrants “animals” in a rant. Like many of us, Danny Navarro, a Colombian-American who currently lives in D.C. and who has since gone viral after posting a photo of him alongside his immigrant parents, has had enough.
Navarro was fed up with the anti-immigrant rhetoric from Trump and his administration and shared his personal response to all of it, by tweeting out a graduation picture of him standing standing with his immigrant parents. In the photo Navarro is seen posing in a cap and gown wearing a sign that reads: “My Parents Are Not Animals, Trump. #DeportHate.”
Immigrants aren't animals they are men and women that have risked everything to give their children a shot at the American Dream. 🇺🇸 Thank you and your parents for leading by example, @NavarroDanny9. ✊🏽
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) May 18, 2018
This was Navarro’s response to Trump’s disgusting immigrant comments made last week. During a White House Meeting last Wednesday, Trump lashed out and referred to undocumented immigrants as “animals.”
“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in—we’re stopping a lot of them,” Trump said during the round-table meeting in the Cabinet Room. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”
The comments of course—sparked controversy. Navarro, who formerly served as a Campaign Manager for Voto Latino and who currently works as a nonprofit professional in D.C. in voting rights, took to Twitter to express his thoughts.
“Trump’s rhetoric has been the same since day one and it’s disappointing that so many Americans have decided to support the racist ideology of this man because of their alleged ‘economic anxiety,’” Navarro tells Hiplatina. “I’m including the whatever percentage of Latinos that supported Trump as well, since they have willingly failed to understand how Trump is channeling America’s racist history into policies that will deal severe long-term damage to our communities, as in the field of health care, voting rights and immigration policy to name a few.”
Navarro’s parents migrated from Colombia to the states about three decades ago. “They came for the reasons everyone else has: for a better life for themselves and their families,” he says. “My parents met here in the States where they had me and my two siblings. Our immigrant experience was difficult: the dual handicap of living in poverty and both of my parents being undocumented at the time forced us through an upbringing most people find difficult to understand. Those conditions taught me to be academically driven and to work very hard to climb out of the family situation to have a better life. I wish people would take the time to understand the struggle of being the son/daughter of immigrants, rather than labeling me as an anchor baby—especially since I am a 30-year-old citizen!”
Navarro got the idea to share a photo of him and his folks in response to Trump’s comments during his graduate degree ceremony. It was a team effort where he got everyone from his parents to friends involved.
“My parents were in town for my graduate degree ceremony. I heard what Trump said and I was pissed off,” he says. “Even with him attempting to walk back his comments, I felt I needed to make my own stand against his continued racism. So I huddled up with my friends Dennis Gonzalez and Steve Alfaro and decided I would show the poster for the jumbo-iron after receiving my scroll. And so I did. I later took the picture with my parents and shared it to make my stand. I was very surprised at the level of interaction the photo has received.”
Navarro’s photo has since gone viral and has received a ton of likes, retweets and support from even actress America Ferrera and labor activist Monica Ramirez, who both shared the photo to their Instagram accounts.
“I’m grateful for their support of my family. The tens of thousands of people that have liked the posts are a testament to the good people that live in our country and around the world,” Navarro says. “The message is rather a historical one: when we start dehumanizing a group of people, atrocities happen. Open a world history book and you will see countless examples of entire peoples exterminated after being labeled ‘rats’ or ‘cockroaches’ or ‘savages.’ We can disagree on immigration policy, but you can not start calling immigrants ‘animals’ or else tragedies will begin to occur.”
Discrimination against immigrants, people of color and Latinos is nothing new in this country. But there’s been a lot of hate going around since Trump went into office. Just a few days ago, two Latinas were stopped by a Border Patrol Officer in Montana who asked them for documents just because they were speaking in Spanish. He immediately assumed they were undocumented. Last week, a White-American lawyer threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on employees at Fresh Kitchen, a cafe and eatery in Midtown Manhattan, just for speaking to each other in Spanish. The hate towards Latinos and immigrants has grown but Navarro is doing his part to shed light on immigrant stories.
“I just graduated with my Masters in Public Administration [with a concentration in third-party governance] from George Mason University and I started my new job in voting rights advocacy. In other words, I am doing my part to contribute to our country and I will continue to stand up against the racism that exists in our society, one conversation at a time,” he says. “Latinos need to educate themselves about America’s unfortunate history of white-black relations and understand that no matter how light their skin, or citizenship, or English proficiency-level, [none of this] will shield them from the racism that Trump and his supporters are hell-bent in unleashing. Living in Miami or Los Angeles does not protect you from the racism nor shield you from the responsibility you have towards your fellow U.S. Latinos. Most importantly, we all need to turn out to vote in this year’s midterm elections. Voting for your member of Congress is as important, if not more important than voting for the President. Let 2016 be a lesson for our community: when we don’t vote, those that do not want us here will.”