The Donald Trump presidential campaign seemed to spark a growth in hate speech and hate crimes targeting immigrant populations in America. Referring to Muslims as “radical Islamic terrorists” led to criminal actions like the vandalizing of mosques. This hateful rhetoric is dehumanizing and demonizing members of our community and forcing them to change who they are to avoid discrimination.
As a tutor at local schools, I have witnessed incidents where students have stopped wearing their hijabs or speaking their native languages for fear of becoming victims of these hate crimes. Our community should be a place where everyone feels welcome and where we encourage diversity instead of fearing it.
We live in an era where anything you say or do can be publicized and spread with just the click of a button. That is why we have to be conscious of what we say. Elected officials, politicians or any other influential figures in our community should be more careful with their choice of rhetoric, because their words will lead to actions. It is up to them if those actions will have a positive or negative impact on our community.
Johana Martinez, Merced