As Day 34 under Trump’s administration comes to a tumultuous close, the focus is on strong reactions to anti-immigration and anti-minority policies. Our day starts with the removal of Shepard Fairey’s “We the People” poster series from a Maryland high school. Fairey is known most for his work on the “Hope” posters that became iconic for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign back in 2008. The pictures, depicting women of color framed by the caption “We the People,” intend to convey the idea that “equality, respect, and religious freedom are unassailable American values and non-partisan.” The school administration asked teachers to take down the posters because “they perceived them as ‘political’ and ‘anti-Trump’”, according to the Huffington Post. Fairey felt “very disturb[ed] that someone could find those ideas specifically, and by extension inclusion in general, to be partisan or problematic.” In response, the students have organized a day to wear shirts with the designs printed on them and stand in solidarity with those who feel marginalized by the school’s actions and Trump’s administration.
Meanwhile, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union promise to sue in defense of immigrants denied due process in the continued battle against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while communities known as “sanctuary cities” refuse to hand over illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity, despite President Trump’s threats to “starve them of their federal funding”.
However, although a Harvard-Harris poll survey reported by The Hill found a massive amount of support for comprehensive immigration reform among voters surveyed, 80% believe that local authorities should actually concede to federal authorities and report the illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity. Harvard-Harris co-director Mike Penn agrees, saying “The public wants honest immigrants treated fairly and those who commit crimes deported and that’s very clear from the data.”
In other news, President Trump and his advisers are currently rescinding policies put in place in defense of LGBTQ students under the Obama administration. Specifically, Trump is no longer requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, overriding his own Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos by offering an ultimatum of either dropping her opposition or resigning. DeVos, who, according to The New York Times, felt uncomfortable with rescinding, later released a statement saying it should be a “moral obligation” for schools to protect their students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
For more details, see NYU student Jordan Smith’s article on Gavin Grimm and the fight for transgender rights here.
While the Trump administration is continuing to make controversial and detrimental decisions, it is encouraging to see many Americans taking a stand. Although the previously mentioned Maryland high school in the Fairey case is in a 93% white county, according to the Huffington Post the students still object to the removal of the posters in defense of their fellow students in minority groups.
The actions taken by the ACLU also offer peace of mind, ensuring that those detained by ICE will be put through the proper protocols and will be ensured fair and equal treatment under the law. On the other hand concerning sanctuary cities, I find myself disagreeing with the withholding of criminal illegal immigrants from the federal government. I agree wholeheartedly with Penn in that we need immigration reform, as long as it is not in the direction Trump is leading it.
DeVos, although recovering from the loss of this battle for trans rights, is at an advantageous public position. She could prove a strong objector to Trump’s regressive policies and could offer a voice to marginalized groups. DeVos may find herself, surprisingly, as an important voice in support of the LGBTQ rights movement if she continues to publicly push for more progressive, left-leaning legislation.