On Wednesday morning, around 3:30am someone pulled the fire alarms at different buildings at Hampshire College. Students rushed out, most had been in deep sleep. Watching the result of the election, most thought this was part of the reaction to Donald Trump becoming President-elect.
After everyone gathered outside the building, we all waited for someone to speak out. Personally, I wanted someone to, I wanted someone to rally people up and talk about taking action. But nobody did. In this void I felt something building inside of me and without previous thought I yelled at the top of my lungs. It went something like this:
“My name is Eduardo Samaniego and I’m an undocumented immigrant, student at Hampshire College, I am one of the 11 Million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Just moments ago, Donald Trump was elected president.” (Most students were unaware of this.) I could see them looking, turning to their friends for confirmation of this. I even saw how a group of students started laughing, their laugh was over soon, they realized it was now a reality. I continued “while this might not change much for us, students at Hampshire College, this means everything to undocumented immigrant families across the country. This is not a joke to us, a man who ran his entire campaign denigrating Mexicans, demonizing immigrants and Latinos just became president. This is not a joke, while some of us can go on with our lives as if not much has happened, my life, and the lives of 11 million people are on the line. Now, when you go home, evaluate what happened tonight and no matter what you do, remember that Latinos did their part, we voted against this racist and xenophobic monster, in a historic turnout. So, go back to your community and address what happened. An overwhelming number of white men and women voted for Trump, that couldn’t have been undone by Latinos or Black folks alone.” (Someone shouted “this is not about white or latino or black.”) I kept going and ended by saying “today, is a day to reflect on what happened and to deal with the fact that this was a victory for white voters to the detriment of minorities. Go home and answer this question: what did I do to stop Donald Trump?”
I am Mexican, immigrant and undocumented, a member of the community that was in my eyes was the most targeted and factually is the most vulnerable to actions taken by a President. I fear more than ever of deportation, I fear for my family and 11 million undocumented immigrants.
I call for Hampshire College students in this time of pain to show and hold space for one another, to mobilize beyond our college and to take action to support and help protect undocumented immigrants.