The front page headline of the January 13 issue of the Boston Globe was this quote from a reporter at an event in Washington: “Mr. President, are you a racist?”

As we write this we are filled with disgust, anger and fear because, once again, and in the most outrageous way (to date), the President has answered that question with his brazenly racist comments about where he wants immigrants to come from, and how he views nations populated primarily by people of color.

This week the Network’s Executive Director Aba Taylor’s father flew to his homeland of Ghana, one of the nations the President referred to as “shitholes.” Response and Advocacy Committee Chair Hillary Turkewitz can only imagine how it would feel if the President said that about her grandparents’ country of origin. Can you imagine if the President said that about the country of origin of your parents, grandparents or relatives and ancestors. Can you imagine?

We and our colleagues at the Winchester Multicultural Network feel it is important to write about what we are faced with – a racist President pursuing racism-based policies and legislation, particularly with respect to immigration.

We need to speak out, as a first step. Bernice King wrote “I’m not surprised when I hear President Trump has said something else insulting (racist, bigoted, hateful),” but she expressed her concern about people who are remaining silent in the face of this. She quoted her father, Martin Luther King, Jr. “My dad said, in the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

We cannot be silent. Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune (1/11/18) asks important questions: “What did you say when President Donald Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as ‘shithole countries’? What did you say when the president of the United States followed that comment by suggesting he’d rather see more immigrants from countries like Norway? Whether now or in the future, you will be asked this question: What did you say?”

We must continue to talk about this in our families and communities, face this together, support each other as best we can, and commit to combating racism and xenophobia in our culture, our town, and our country. The task is daunting. And, as James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Aba Taylor
Executive Director

Hillary Turkewitz
Chair
Response and Advocacy Committee