Recently, I saw a photo of one of the many marches that have emerged since Trump's inauguration and was struck by this poster and its message. "We the resilient have been here before." We have. It's an important message. It reminds us that we are still here despite the centuries-long attacks on our bodies, our languages, our cultures, our spiritualities, our sexualities, our love, our very being. We are here still... in the inner cities, in the barrios, in the urban areas and in the rural areas. We are resilient.
We are also profoundly affected by those never-ending attacks.
My mother suffered a great fear from having experienced repatriations and deportations among her family members. As I grew from adolescence to young adulthood, she warned me, "Mija, they are going to deport you if you complain too much." It was difficult for her to have a daughter who grew up with the Chican@ movement, and later entered the lesbian rights movement. Until my forties, she warned me that I was not safe, that I could be deported for speaking up, even though I am a U.S. citizen. I never knew how much this affected me until one day in class during my doctoral program, we were discussing the history of deportation and I had to leave the class to cry. I still hate to answer the door or the phone because doing so fills me with anxiety.
Many of us suffer the worst consequences of historical generational trauma: alcoholism, drug dependence, addiction to food, illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure, suicidal feelings, and depression. Eduardo Duran has explored this in Healing the Soul Wound: Counseling with American Indians and Other Native Peoples (2006).
In these times of despair, of heightened attack, of the normalization of racism, sexism, xeophobia, homophobia and transphobia, I want us to learn to heal ourselves and each other. I want our resilience to shine through our art and writing and speaking and teaching that is grounded in freedom and love. I don't want to "go through this" again.