This was not the presidential inauguration I wanted today, but the hard truth of this moment is that there is no going back.
Like you, I am worried about the future of our country. I am heartbroken for millions of people in our immigrant communities who are terrified they will be deported or worse. I am scared for communities of color who are being targeted by this new President and his allies. I am angry that the Republicans plan to rip health insurance away from millions of Americans.
We know that the cause of justice and equality is more urgent than ever — because the progress we have made so far is now on the line. Because people’s lives are on the line.
I only have one piece of advice: RISE UP.
Do not despair. Do not become overwhelmed. We cannot throw up our hands at a time that requires all of us to roll up our sleeves.
Republicans may have taken the House, the Senate, and even the White House, but they cannot take away our power. This movement, all of us working together to make change, will be the difference in the challenging fights that lay ahead.
You have a powerful voice. Use it. Don’t sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to solve the problems facing your community — dig deep and get involved. For some, that might mean a run for office. For others, it will mean working locally in their communities to bolster local and state efforts to create social safety nets as our federal programs come under attack.
Make calls, write letters, and join protests as we resist Trump’s radical agenda. Apathy is how they win. Don’t let them win.
We cannot fall into the trap, as Martin Luther King, Jr., would say, of the “appalling silence of the good people.” There is too much injustice before us to stay silent.
History is looking to all of us to get into what my colleague John Lewis calls “good trouble.” That’s why I intend to fight for the voiceless and vulnerable in California and across the country. But I cannot do that alone.
As we face what I believe is an inflection point in the history of this country — one that is similar to the Civil Rights Movement — we must all look in the mirror with furrowed brow and ask ourselves: Who are we?
I believe the answer is a good one. We are a great country. Imperfect, but great because of our values, ideals, and diversity. One election cannot erase that.
The gains the opposition makes in the coming weeks and months, while painful, are not permanent. As Coretta Scott King taught us, the fight for civil rights — the struggle for justice and equality — must be fought and won with each generation.
It’s time for our generation to rise up and take control of our destiny. Choose hope, not hate. Choose action, not apathy. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to fight.
Thanks for everything,