Under an administration intent to divide and conquer, it can be difficult to find the strength and solidarity to resist hate. But six inspiring Americans, each with their own unique story and reason to speak out, have combined their voices to create a united video message of hope for resistance.
Gold Star father Khizr Khan, transgender trailblazer Sarah McBride, DREAMer Astrid Silva, “Mother of the Movement” Lucia McBath, international disability rights activist Anastasia Somoza, and Karla Ortiz, the 12-year-old daughter of undocumented parents who shared her fears of the prospect of her family’s separation and deportation, first came together at last year’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Their messages of courage and compassion in the face of adversity stood out in an election cycle marred by bigotry, hate and aggression.
One year after this historic event, there is an even greater need to remember their words of resilience, and find strength in their calls for solidarity.
“We are seeing difficult times that many of us never expected,” said Silva. “There have been moments when it seems easier to throw in the towel and bury your head in the sand.”
Silva’s concerns are very real. She does not feel safe amidst the current administration’s constant threats to ramp-up deportation efforts, dismantle Sanctuary Cities, and end protections for immigrant families like hers. “I could be deported any day, my parents could be taken from me, my friends, my family,” Silva said. “No one is safe in this new administration.”
Nevertheless, Silva’s desire to defend immigrant rights and join others fighting for equality eclipses her fears and desire to give up. “Strength is in numbers,” she affirms. It’s a sentiment shared by her fellow activists.
“Never be disheartened because the majority of Americans stand with us,” said Khan, who recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post condemning the rise of anti-Muslim harassment under Trump’s presidency. “The goodness and decency of America is many fold greater than hate and prejudice displayed by a few.”
It’s the belief in the fundamental value of equality in diversity that Khan draws upon to fuel his advocacy efforts. “We must continue to remind ourselves and all others of this equality so that it is never forgotten even in these prejudicial times,” he said.
McBath echoes Khan’s optimism despite the state of uncertainty and fear faced by many minority groups fighting for their rights. As an anti-gun violence advocate and mother of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old boy fatally shot simply for playing loud music, McBath gains strength through other gun violence survivors and the thousands of fellow activists fighting against injustice. Her unwavering hope is rooted in the belief that when united, individuals and their communities can bring about formidable change.
“I believe in the power of people to stand up for their freedoms, for justice and equal opportunities,” said McBath. “Never forget how valuable you are in your own struggle.”
McBath, like the six other activists featured in the HRC’s new video, believes that no matter the cause, it is important for all those advocating for justice to unite and come together as one.
“The fight for justice and equality for all only happens when our sleeves are rolled up and hands extended to others that are needed to fortify the movement,” McBath said. “We are stronger together.”