A digital drawing of Donald Trump speaking fiercely.
credit: Isabelle Blanchemain | flickr

A president’s first 100 days isn’t about working with everybody. It’s about ego and fulfilling campaign promises. And that makes it difficult to communicate and sit down and have tea and crumpets (Trumpets) with somebody. It is an unsettling time, but one thing is certain. We have a lot of work to do.

In D.C., we really have it coming. We’re going to suffer because we are a sanctuary city. When the federal dollars are cut off, where’s the money going to come from? Are we going to raise taxes, build private-public partnerships? I think we’re in for a hard time.

So we have to get serious, get educated and really get the advocacy thing together. It’s more than attending meetings and having a picture taken. It’s about coming up with what this should be and what it should look like, instead of waiting for someone else. That takes a lot of volunteers and professionals. And we have to come together over a lot of overlapping racial attitudes.

You have people saying “they’re taking our jobs.” The things that are often said, I don’t know if people mean them in their heart. But it’s on the tip of their tongue. And it will all be used against all of us to conquer and divide America.

D.C. is going to suffer under this. We’re a sanctuary city and we have a president down the street who doesn’t like sanctuaries. What do you think he’s going to do to us?

When my father worked for the city, he opened up job training programs and medical clinics to immigrants and helped them get hired in real jobs. The first one he opened was at Columbia and Calvert. People were angry. But now we’re approaching a point where we could backslide. And that’s dangerous.

Out west you see all sorts of opinions on this issue. Some folks leave blankets, water, tents, med kits, etc., in the area where people regularly cross the border illegally. Then you also have folks that shoot at those same people.

But when you put out a nationwide anti-sanctuary order, you are helping people who already have hate in their hearts to feel valid in their actions.

By criminalizing sanctuary cities, are we moving the same way that the end of Reconstruction went? Once Jim Crow became legal, it justified separate bathrooms, lack of opportunity, etc. And that wasn’t just Black folks. Mexicans who came across the Texas border and Native Americans also suffered immensely.

Hopefully we will not regress, but as John Lewis told us in his interview with Street Sense, we the people must not be silent. Of course, always adhering to nonviolence. But we need

leadership too. When people don’t have good leadership, anybody can end up in the White House.

I’m still seeing protest signs that were in the street last week up in people’s windows now. That’s a sign that we are still not settled, not at peace.

The inaugural stand and the fences surrounding it were up for far too long. To see that in front of the White House for six weeks after the inauguration — for our government to act with that kind of fear — it did not send a message of peace. It sent the message: “I’m in charge.” The only reason that stand hasn’t come down fast in past years was due to ice or snow, which we’re pretty short on this winter.

It was eerie. It was unsettling. It was fearful. It was anti-American. It wasn’t right. That has always been a clear, open, inviting area. It looked like some third world country that had just gone through a violent coup.

Angie Whitehurst is a vendor for Street Sense.