I have a memory from when I was six years old, my uncle and I driving to the ranch early one morning. The air was fresh, the road was clear, and we were in a hurry because the cows needed to be milked, and the milk needed to be delivered. Suddenly, we saw a car that had gone off the side of the road. No one was hurt and a couple was trying to push the car back on to the road. My uncle immediately pulled over and got out of the car to help. I looked at him and I said, “I thought we were running late”. He leaned in through the open window and said, “Today for them; tomorrow for us.”
I think about his words everyday these days because there are crises all around us that have been created out of hate and fear, misogyny, and greed, and we play a role in them, whether we want to or are even aware of it. Here are two that keep me up at night:
We are destroying children, their bodies and their spirit. It is time to stop hiding, to stop pretending that if we don’t see injustice directly or if we don’t feel it on our own skin then it doesn’t exist. Injustice exists, and at this moment there are thousands of infants, children, and teenagers that are separated from their families, packed like animals, sexually abused, medically neglected, and emotionally terrorized in US concentration camps along the southern border. These camps are sanctioned by the Trump Administration and supported by us, the taxpayers. These children are our children. I understand that the situation can feel overwhelming and it seems like there is nothing we can do from Alaska, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth: 1. Call or write your legislators and council members, all of them, local, state and federal because the fate of our children will not matter to them, if it doesn’t matter to you. 2. Do not be silent. Talk about it with your own family, neighbors, and others, but don’t get lost in political rhetoric about “us vs them”, remember we are talking about children, vulnerable human beings who are not disposable. 3. Support agencies and organizations that are working to save the children and bring to justice their abusers. 4. Don’t give up!
Governor Dunleavy’s Budget is unconscionable and will destroy the future of Alaska. Candidate Dunleavy ran on a disingenuous promise—to give Alaskans a huge PFD. I believe people were compelled by this promise because times are financially hard for many, and because they didn’t have all the information of the impact that this would have on the investments necessary to create a strong future.
The problem is that there is no such thing as free money, so for Governor Dunleavy to keep this promise and satisfy his political supporters, he has opted to sacrifice the well-being and future of Alaskans. Instead of taking on the Alaskan spirit of innovation and creativity, he’s designed his plan on an antiquated economic model that is blind to opportunities outside of business as usual. In general terms, the Governor is misplacing investments by putting them in corporations and not in Alaska’s true and greatest resources --its people and its land.
Instead of cutting corporate subsidies to save money, or requiring higher taxes from resource development and/or exploring the idea of a progressive income tax to raise revenue, or looking towards other industries like High Tech and Renewable Energy for diversification and growth, the Governor’s plan instead cuts education, the arts, and condemns vulnerable populations to an even more uncertain future. Alaskans have a responsibility to speak up and guide their leaders, and that includes Governor Dunleavy and the legislature so that they can have the vision and courage to prioritize every Alaskan, their needs, cultures, and rights.
My uncle’s actions and words resonate as true today more than ever, we need to remember them and to apply them to the challenges we face as human beings, as Latinx, as immigrants, as people of color, and some of us as members of the LGBTQ+ community. We must stand up for ourselves, and for others. We must stop putting up walls in our own minds and hearts that prevent us from showing compassion and make us coward behind fear. We must act today for the children at the border and for disadvantaged Alaskans; because tomorrow they will act for us.
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