To those fighting the Trump administration, and a right wing congress, for their rights and their safety – know that I and many others in Canada and around the world are in your corner. My silence cannot be bought with pipelines or promises of trade deals. I will not support an administration that openly, boastfully devalues Women, Muslim, Black and Brown, Queer and Disabled bodies.
I will not compromise my fight for equality, or the struggle to end white supremacy and colonization because it may not directly affect me today.
In only one week Trump has taken away language supporting civil rights, Climate Change policy and LGBTQ rights from the government’s websites. He has stripped funding from international organizations that provide family planning support, including abortion options. And this week, Trump will take action on immigration – including ending DACA and building a literal wall.
And yes, he has moved on Keystone and DAPL.
There are many calling for governments, federally and provincially, to stay out of Trump’s line of fire. To basically hide in our great-white-north’ness. Perhaps those folks are hoping our Prime Minister’s “sunny ways” will shield Canadians from the unchecked rhetoric of bigotry and hate coming from Trump.
Perhaps for some it will. If they carry enough privilege and enough economic security. If they can pass with male privilege, or white privilege, or class privilege then perhaps Trump’s administration and the international impact of Trump’s foreign and economic policy doesn’t scare them like it scares me.
If you voted for Trudeau because you believed in “sunny ways” and/or if you voted for a self-identifying progressive provincial government because you believed in economic equality for all – regardless of gender or race, I ask you to consider if you were voting for your advancement or the advancement of all. If you support a woman’s right to choose, if you support anti-racist immigration policy, if you believe climate change is a serious threat to our earth, if you believe in Indigenous rights, if you believe in end violence against women, if you believe that anyone should be free and safe to be in a public space, then how can you be so willing to stay silent in hopes of a trade deal or more pipelines.
Is the oil & gas industry more valuable than a rape survivor’s fight for justice? More valuable than the right of education for a kid born to undocumented parents? More important than the mass incarceration of black bodies? More important than safety for a family fleeing persecution? Is your privilege and comfort more important than those folks living in fear across a border?
We know that change is made through decades of work. The civil rights movement, suffrage, divorce, abortion rights, birth control, ending Jim Crow – that was work. Steady work by committed people. People who did not accept a compromise. People who would not accept that the life of a brother or sister was less valuable than the trade off they were offered. And when that became acceptable – when women agreed a white woman’s right to vote or work or live was more valuable than an Indigenous woman’s rights, that is when we lost. That is when we accepted the premise that some bodies are more valuable than others.
My comrades to the south, and across Canada – I am still with you. I believe our rights are worth fighting for and that standing up against oppression is important.
Black, brown, and women’s bodies are not up for sale.