Arizona has overcome a very long, uphill battle as many campaigns and efforts to put a stop to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's hate and racial profiling has come to an end. As Donald J. Trump holds the future of of our state and our nation in his hand as the future president, uncertainty and fear are inevitable.
As a first-time Latina and millennial voter, this year I have learned that a determined community works efficiently. Sometimes the sense of fellowship and solidarity are not enough when the oppressed have to conform to popular decision: "Make America Great Again."
Yesterday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was defeated by popular vote, making Paul Penzone the new Maricopa County Sheriff in January. It is still very unclear how much the Latino vote determined the results, but it's evident that this community has worked vigorously to put an end to families being separated and people living in constant fear of deportation.
After receiving the results that Arpaio had been defeated, community members gathered outside of his office in downtown Phoenix to share their joy and testimonies. America's Toughest Sheriff's defeat is the result of many campaigns and protests led mostly by Latino activists. It means Latinos and the community do have a voice.
"If you come after us we're gonna come out for you and make sure you pay for it," said Carlos García, executive director of Arizona's Puente Human Rights Movement as he gathered with Bazta Arpaio and community members to celebrate Arpaio's defeat last night. He continued to say, "Our people worked so hard for this and it's the same people that he came after and it shows that if you work hard you can make it happen."
On the other hand Alfredo Gutierrez, author of "To Sin Against Hope: How America has Failed Its Immigrants: A personal History" and current president of the Maricopa County Community College District Board believes that Arizona’s toughest battle is yet to come.
“This helps our community move forward but it’s not enough. Today he has been defeated but the racism that he is sharing is going to continue," he said yesterday outside the office of the defeated sheriff.
Minutes later, Donald J. Trump would be announced the president-elect.
Arizona had achieved one of its long, and most yearned for defeat in its history. After more than 20 years of racial profiling, Arizona will face four more years of uncertainty and fear as the leader of our nation has promised to deport millions of undocumented immigrants in the country.
It’s easier said than done. Building a wall along the almost 2,000 mile border will cost approximately $12 billion dollars to make, if not more.
Deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, is close to impossible as many experts have said. But we also thought it was impossible for Trump to become president, yet here were are.
There’s a national, superficial sentiment that people are going to leave the country given the results of the presidential election. This resembles a concerning level of disrespect for all the families that are truly scared that they will be deported. That is: they will be made to leave this country. These families are anxious about their future and it’s not funny and shouldn't be taken lightly.
As we overcome a dark history of our state, now more than ever we have to stay together to make sure that democracy and equality is still part of the American Dream that led many people into this country.
Now that Trump will be the 45th president, we must move forward and fight stronger than ever for comprehensive immigration reform instead of deportation or construction of a wall.
I truly hope for nothing but the best for Arizona and this country. I wish nothing but the best for our elected president. I hope that as he is inaugurated and sworn as president, he works hard to truly "Make America Great Again."
Most importantly I really wish the best for the American people.
America is rich in diversity and it should be considered in its entirely as we move forward. This election year has made history, without a doubt, but the future is uncertain for many.
America can’t be made "great again" when people are afraid if their families will be separated due to their immigration status and the overall future of our country.
Being an American means more than what Trump is leading the world, and even ourselves, to believe.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @santiagoc_17 on Twitter.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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