A lot has happened in our nation during the last few months. Politics aside, it seems that a casual callousness has pervaded politics, discussion and particularly the rhetoric of Donald Trump. Racism and prejudice have always existed in our nation and unfortunately form a major part of our history and values, but recently it seems that these harmful ideologies are becoming a source of pride for those who believe in them. Early in his campaign, Trump had remarked that many Mexican immigrants were rapists, criminals and drug dealers. Like most people, I was appalled by the comments. As a Puerto Rican, I've experienced this racism before and it hurt to see a man with such prejudice become validated further and further. The comments didn't really hit me until a few weeks later when I started volunteering at an after-school program. Many of the kids in the program were of latin or middle-eastern descent and many of them were immigrants or had parents who were immigrants. One of the kids I worked with was named Roberto. Roberto was Mexican and his family had come to the U.S. likely within the last five years or so. By any standard, Roberto was a normal kid. He fought with his friends, played games, didn't want to do his homework and enjoyed snack time. One day Roberto mentioned that he hated Donald Trump. Hate is a strong word so I asked him to explain. He went on to say that he hated Donald Trump because Donald Trump hates his family and thinks that they're murderers. He then went on to say that he wished his family could go home. Worst of all, he said that he was afraid. Roberto couldn't have been more than eight or nine years old, but he was already fully aware of racism and xenophobia that exists in this nation. An eight-year-old child was afraid because of something that a candidate for president said. I ended my time with the program before the election, so I can't say much to how Roberto feels about it now, but it's disgusting to me that any child should have to worry about whether his family is safe in the nation. As an adult, I've learned to live with the burden of prejudice, but it saddens me to think that a child has to carry such weight.
~ Jordan Almodovar