Editor’s Note: We received the following letter from Regina De Nigris, a 17-year-old high school junior from Michigan. A Spanish version of this letter was published here.
Mr. Donald J. Trump, President-Elect of the United States
Mr. President-Elect Trump,
I write this letter to express my sentiments regarding the news of your election into the presidency. I am a 17-year-old Mexican-American. I was born in Connecticut from two Mexican parents, and lived the first nine years of my life in Mexico. When I was entering the fourth grade, my family and I moved to the United States, due to the globalization of my father’s company. I now attend a Catholic high school, in which most of the students and teachers supported/voted for you, as their Republican candidate. As a Mexican-American woman, however, I felt the words that echoed through your campaign personally, in a way that most of the members of my school could not. Although I could not vote, this political argument was a significantly present topic in my life, and I would like to address what the words that resonated throughout your election campaign signify to millions of Americans now that your ascension into office has been determined.
First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you for your success, and wish you a great term, filled with peace, economic stability, social unity and global cooperation. Although I hope for your success, I believe that it is important to address and express the worries presented to millions of Americans throughout your campaign. I would like to speak for myself, as well as Latinos, women, Muslims, African Americans, and hopefully the majority of the moderate right and left-leaning American citizens, including children and teens. On the eve of your rise into office, it is imperative that the United States becomes unified, as I am sure you have heard over and over again, especially these past few days.
To achieve this goal, however, the United States must be led by a man who respects and supports all of the people, regardless of their race, gender or religion. What concerns millions of Americans today, is that you might not be that man. Unfortunately, I cannot express confidence in your apologies regarding the many depraving and insulting comments you have made in order to boost your popularity throughout the campaign. Further, it worries me that, even if you did not mean these comments, you have incited in millions a hateful aura toward all those who are different. The support you received from people who support, uphold and encourage the hateful language you have used to describe many groups concerns me, as well as many Americans, and even citizens of other countries throughout the world. Not only have you promoted this hate, but you have also created a new fear, which minorities had only just started to overcome. In this country of immigrants, you are now responsible, as President-elect, for caring about and protecting them all.
Having proclaimed about policies which will halt Muslim immigration, spreading ideas that undocumented Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers, as well as bragging about sexual assault and claiming it to be mere “locker-room talk,” you must now think of how you will convince the population that you have made a mistake. I hope that you realize that you indeed have made a mistake.
You are now President of the people. It is no longer about defending yourself by proving that former Secretary Clinton is worse. It is about you, as well as much of your support base, who have proved to America that racism and hate is still fairly prevalent in this country. I truly hope that the comments that you have made are not who you are. A president’s moral meter must point in the right direction so that he can encourage those he leads to follow his example.
Americans are outraged. Americans are scared. And it is not only because of many of the policies that you have promised to make, but also because of the immense support you have received solely because of this aura that your election campaign has created.
I also hope to speak for all those who voted for you and supported you in spite of this divisive ambiance. Unity should now be your first goal. You must prove to be worthy of holding such a title, a title which holds you to support the roots of immigration with which the country was founded. The United States is a country of immigrants. Not just those who migrated from Europe in the 1700s, but of immigrants who continue to come to this Land of Opportunity, immigrants who can still feel the traces of slavery, immigrants who came to be part of this greater union. This hate you have instigated, whether purposefully or accidentally, is now a problem that you have to address as well as repair in a country increasingly divided.
Regardless of policies, all Americans must feel respected, not just by their President, but by their communities as well. Be the change you demand in America. Be the change that America needs. Unify this deeply divided country. Prove your respect, esteem, and care for the people toward whom you now have a great responsibility. Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, whites, Muslims, women and men. They are now all under your care. As President, you must now uphold the freedom demanded by the Declaration of Independence, by the Amendments, by the Constitution—the freedom demanded by every single American principle.
Prove your critics wrong. Promote the unity that your campaign debased. Fulfill your promise to make America great. Be the President of all the American people, be a moral compass for all those who look up to their leader, be an example of respect, prove that you are worthy of this title and the power that comes with it. Prove this to America, by your words and your actions.
If I had been able to vote, my vote would not have gone to you. I strongly believe that what America needs is a unifying leader.
Change my mind and be that leader. Win my vote and the vote of all who need more from you. Provide a new environment of safety and unity in a country that increasingly demands it. This is my challenge for you.
Regina De Nigris