HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS UNDER TRUMP:
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS!
In the just the first 100 days in office, Amnesty USA Executive Director, Margaret Huang, indicated that she has never seen such a climate of “abuse and fear” in the organization’s 55 year history! Of even greater concern is that this unprecedented trampling upon the rights and protections of minority populations has emboldened those who share the President’s fear and intolerance and the rise in documented hate incidents, 42% of which can be attributed to Trump’s election, is truly alarming. Although Amnesty easily listed over 100 areas of concern, the following seemed to rise to the top:
Black Americans…We have only to consider the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, an avowed racist to whom the Senate refused an appointment for a federal judgeship based on his racist record. Federal efforts to discourage racial profiling by the police are now on a back burner!
Immigrants and refugees/Muslims…just a week after taking office, Trump signed executive orders banning residents of 7 Arab nations from entering the US, sparking protests at airports nationwide and the deployment of volunteer attorneys to assist those detained. Thankfully, the courts weighed in and it was all put on hold. The Supreme Court, however, is set to weigh in on these travel bans, as well, and we’ll have to see if this thinly veiled discrimination against Muslims – in the name of national security—is upheld.
And, of course, we cannot overlook the President’s attitude toward Mexican immigrants to this country reflected in the comments made during his campaign and now with regard to the determination of the Dreamers’ fate. The language used during the January 11, 2018 bi-partisan meeting in the Oval Office regarding immigrants from countries other than Norway says it all! This nationalistic, xenophobic approach by the President is contrary to the integrity of the American experience: we are a nation of immigrants!
Jewish people…Although occurring after the first 100 days, who can forget this President’s pronouncement following the tragedy that was Charlottesville: “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” and his statement the following day that “there were some very fine people on both sides” when one side was chanting, “Jews shall not replace us!” He’s been slow to respond to hate crimes against Jewish centers, failed to mention Jews at all during last year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary, suggested that Hitler wasn’t as cruel as Syrian dictator Assad because Hitler “didn’t use chemical weapons.”
Journalists and Activists…even during his campaign, journalists were singled out for ridicule and criticism at massive rallies, not only to intimidate them, but actually to endanger their well being! He’s described mainstream media as the “enemy of the American people” and given out Fake News Awards! His effort to build mistrust of our free press is exceptionally dangerous to our democracy! At one campaign rally, he complained that protesters actually infringed upon his First Amendment rights!
LGBTQ folks…the first thing he did was to reverse federal protection for transgender students that allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. Without this protection, these children are more likely to be harassed and to become victims of violence. He also reversed requirements that federal contractors—paid for with tax dollars—could not discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Further, he has also attempted to ban transgendered individuals from serving in the armed forces, a move which has not met with legal success.
Scientists and Environmentalists…any threat to the environment is a threat to human rights, indeed, the right to a healthy life! We all have heard about the “forbidden words” edict to the Center for Disease Control…words like “transgender” and “science based”…words that should not be used when submitting their budget requests. It is broadly seen as an attack on scientists and science, itself! There have also been reports of the Trump administration’s attempts to “muzzle” environmental scientists and attempt to limit their communication with the public.
Students, youth and children… What the Trump administration is seeking to do is to undermine the public confidence in public education, in favor of privatization. Serious budget cuts hit the poorest of our students by denying them access to after-school programs which often provide additional instruction and nutritional assistance. The current Secretary of Education is a proponent of vouchers and will do all in her power to weaken our public schools, upon which our democracy depends!
Indigenous People…the construction of the Keystone Pipeline across Native American tribal lands completely ignored the “right of Indigenous People to consent to such a project.”
Women and girls…of course, the right to choose is threatened! One of the first things this President did was to implement the Global Gag Rule, which will restrict aid to foreign nations to groups which do NOT offer abortion services or even education about safe abortions. He also signed a bill that will enable states to withhold Medicaid reimbursements to groups providing abortion services and, of course, that includes Planned Parenthood! He also reversed Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order…an order designed to eliminate gender based wage disparity, protection for parental leave and fair processes for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace…and now we have the #ME, TOO movement which calls out the very thing Trump decided was not necessary to have in place: good policies in place to deal with sexual harassment!
In conclusion, Indivisible Naperville members march, protest, meet, write and speak to these issues and we are working very hard to elect leaders to Congress who will act as a check on the President’s powers and to enact fair, just and humane legislation which protects all of our citizens.
Co-Founder, Indivisible Naperville