Rodney L. Pepe-Souvenir
Although both my parents are tried and true Haitians and I
love my Haitian heritage; my whole life growing up my daddy constantly reminded my siblings and me that we were in America, and should Be American.
That is we were to adopt all the American ways and blend in so we would be treated fairly and equally. I even got my name “Rodney” because my daddy swore I was going to be a boy, and he wanted his son to have what he thought was a most American name. Duh, I came out with lady parts.
“Oh well” he said and I got the name Rodney anyway. Daddy emphasized to us the importance of having all the rights as an American citizen in these United States. The right to get an education, the right to go anywhere, the right to have a job and keep it, the right to have protections from wrongs, the right to vote, the right to speak out against injustice, and the right to protest.
Of course, when you have those rights, you tend to take them for granted. However, never did those rights seem as important to me as it did on Monday, Jan. 15.
I was able to exercise my right to Be American and protest against a president who says and thinks little of immigrant people all over the world unless that is you come from Norway!! I was American as I shouted, stomped my feet, raised my Haitian flag, and applauded those who felt just like me at a rally against racism and prejudice, and for support for those with TPS and DACA. It was exhilarating to Be American among my immigrant family at the “Crossroads of the World” 42nd Street.
Sir/Madam may I suggest no matter what nationality you are Be American today. Be American, call your local elected official and let them know your concern about anything. They are here to serve you. Be American and provide information to someone who may not understand English. Be American and encourage some young person to register to vote. Be American and rally, march, walk, or shout against injustice of any kind.
Mexicans, Muslims, Africans, Haitians, El Salvadorans, women, and the disabled have been the target of Number 45, and we do not know who will be next; however in the meantime Be American today and be the change you want to see!!!
Rodney L. Pepe-Souvenir is a Haitian-American attorney, living in Brooklyn. She works for the City University of New York and is active in her local community.