By the end of the election week I had heard from many staff that our clients were worried for their safety and well-being because they feared that the promises made during the presidential campaign would be kept. Over 90 percent of the services we offer are conducted in Spanish to children and families struggling to survive in an environment that provides little security or opportunity. Ongoing access to medical and mental health services and fear of their families being separated because of deportation dominated their concerns.
Whether these are legitimate concerns will be determined in time, but they certainly are understandable given the campaign rhetoric. Aside from advocating for their interests, it is hard to allay their fears. What we can do is provide our clients with a safe place to raise their fears and support them as they address any of these issues should they materialize.
There is a history of average citizens countering the intimidation of authorities by quietly offering refuge to those affected by oppression. We are fortunate that we enjoy freedoms that would eliminate such an oppressive environment. While most of us understand the rights we have and the system in place to preserve those rights, for many who live on the fringes of our society and are not assimilated, their sense of being vulnerable is only strengthened by the fears generated by an especially divisive political campaign.
Informing people of their rights, advocating for them and offering them a safe place to voice their anxieties is something we can provide those we serve. Helping them to discern between perception and fact is something else we can provide, hopefully mitigating their concerns. Advocating for ongoing access to care and safeguarding against harsh immigration policies that would separate families is also something we can and must do for those we serve. More than anything else, we need to lend an attentive ear, free of judgments or political bias.
These are challenging days for a country sharply divided. We need to encourage our political leaders to move away from language that alienates and generates fear to discussions that focus on developing viable solutions for complex issues. The outcome of the elections must be respected and the political process must be trusted in order to provide orderly governance. Faith in our system of government is essential and all are encouraged to utilize it before any other course of action. It is within this framework that we advocate and remain hopeful that justice will prevail.
Let us support one another, encourage those we serve and advocate with those in power.