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    Marching for the Dream, DREAMERS and a Fair 2020 Census

    By Andrea Shorter–

    This past Saturday, hundreds of thousands of true believers in equality joined Women’s Marches around the country and world. Many of us who marched continue to share our stories and smartphone photos on Facebook, including mentions of why or for whom we marched—for ourselves, for our daughters, for our grandsons, for generations to come. The initial impetus for last year’s march in the hangover of the sobering results of the 2016 presidential election has evolved into the resistance movement. In this second wave, marking the anniversary of the first, we marched against what predictably bared out as near daily and unparalleled assault on practically every civil sensibility, policy, and proposition that has sought in the last fifty years to move us closer to realizing equality as women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people.

    Just a week before the march, and days before MLK, Jr. Day, bi-partisan talks regarding immigration reform in the Oval Office quickly imploded when the President reportedly profanely debased immigrants from Africa and Haiti by referring to their homelands as “s—holes,” stressing his preference for much less or none of them and for boatloads of more immigrants from places like Norway. Translation: to make America great again, we need more undeniable, certifiable white emigrates, and much less black and brown people. After all, is there a country more predominantly white than Norway? Maybe Iceland? Did he say Norway because he just met earlier that day with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg?

    As all hell broke loose around the world—including from righteous, unflattered Norwegians—at yet another unbelievable, yet characteristically believable, utterance from this sitting POTUS, the idea that such vulgarity was described as having spewed from Trump’s mouth was of no surprise. Even sadder was that the isolationist leader of the free world’s long record of clearly racist sentiments (see Trump’s ventures in housing discrimination, the Central Park Five, Birtherism, Pochantes, Mexicans as rapists and murderers) were further affirmed.

    I’ve since fantasized about millions of descendants of the heroic Haitian Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, the African slaves who built the White House, and Latin, Asian, and other less-than-Nordic descendants streaming en masse in non-violent protest at the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue through the midterm elections in November. That perfect picture fantasy, of course, would be incomplete and colorless without the full palate of European, Scandinavian, Slavic, and other non-brown descendants also keeping their eyes on the prize of full equality, inclusion and diversity.

    I do believe that King’s dream is alive, and the revolution is being televised. The record numbers of women and LGBT people running for office is one testament to a turning tide. With at least 79 women considering gubernatorial runs and nearly 1,000 reaching out to EMILY’S List exploring running for local and state offices, it is reported that nearly 26,000 women have at least entertained the prospects of running for office since Trump’s election and the first Women’s March.

    With last election’s historic ascent of 8 transgender people into public offices, fuller representation of the rainbow movement is gaining ground. According to OutSmart magazine, a record number of LGBT people, 35, are intending to run for either governor, judicial seats, state legislature and Congress in the state of Texas alone this year.

    For the first time in its proudly proclaimed center of all things socially progressive, the race for mayor of San Francisco doesn’t include a single white, cisgender straight male amongst the four major candidates. With a roster boasting three women, two women of color, and an openly LGBT man contesting to succeed the city’s first Chinese American mayor after his unexpected death in December, this in and of itself is a historic first for any major U.S. city’s mayoral race. And, in the City by the Bay, the race for Mayor is always major. Whoever wins, it will be a major historic win for the city.

    These glimmers of hope for potentially greater gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and racial diversity amongst elected officials are why we march. As division and fear of the browning of America are stoked by racist authoritarian isolationist fascists in our midst, the evolution of a majority-minority society appears concurrent—not colliding—with the rise of democratic women and LGBT people working to take the political reigns of America’s better destiny. Dare we call it collusive? Well, maybe not. We still have a long way to go before we break out into a full chorus of “Kumbaya.”

    One test of our ability to hang tight together will be the upcoming U.S. Census in 2020. This administration has already demonstrated efforts to basically eradicate the 2010 Census inclusive count of same sex households from the 2020 count, while seeking instead to intensify the count of non-U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants within our borders. The Census not only determines tax apportionment by state, but it also determines the number of congressional representatives per state. Next to Hawai’i, California is the second most racially and ethnically diverse state. It also has votes for 53 of the 435 U.S. Representatives. It additionally has the largest number of undocumented immigrants, upwards of 2.4 million in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center.

    The fates of DREAMERS and DACA designates remain a major priority for California representatives and the state’s Hispanic communities. With 61% of Hispanic voters registered as Democrats, California Democrats face not only a moral imperative, but also a potential political crisis should efforts to protect DREAMERS and DACA fail. While conservatives speculate that the real imperative of Democrats to save the DREAMERS and DACA is to increase its voter base with currently undocumented persons, the most immediate crisis resides in failing to maintain the coalition and support of the existing block of Hispanic voters, and eventually not losing one of its 53 U.S. Representative seats.

    As the efforts to protect DREAMERS and DACA drum on, including the concerns, vulnerabilities, fears, and hopes of these families in our march forward in the resistance remains paramount. No one wants their lives or their families to be used as a political football. As we work to build that grand coalition to elect the diversity representative of our changing society in the face of the ever-apparent racism, sexism, homophobia, and nationalism posited by this President and his true believers, hanging tight together no matter our place of origin, language, gender, gender identification, or sexual orientation remains the ultimate test as resistors in the long march forward.

    Andrea Shorter is President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights, and marriage equality. A Co-founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.