Freedom for everyone
Here we are, at the dawn of the Trump administration. After two months of shock and disappointment a majority of Americans still can not come to terms with electing a man who has shown little respect for the traditions that have historically embraced the office of the presidency.
Donald Trump’s unusual behavior, maniacal tweeting, coupled with his cabinet choices have simply put a majority of Americans in a state of alarm.
Elections have consequences.
Several days ago I found myself re-reading the Declaration of Independence;
These words, have defined America, “that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." What will these words mean now, in a Trump presidency?
The consequences of this election will directly threaten the lives of good honest hardworking citizens. Latino families, Muslim families, Asian families… We are entering a culture of fear.
This really hit me hard on Saturday at a rally in downtown Los Angeles, for the dreamers and their families who are all frightened of what will happen to them once this administration is in control.
After seventeen years on the trail, documenting our struggle to live in an America we want to believe in, I was not expecting to be so transformed by this mid sized unpublicized rally. I have covered countless marches in support of the Dream Act and immigration rights. I have marched with thousands in Arizona, speaking out against SB 1070. I have been to the U.S. Mexican border with the Minute Men, I have rallied in support of Enrique Morones, the founder of Border Angels. I have canvassed for Voto Latino. I have been inspired by the Wall Off Trump campaign in Cleveland Ohio. The Latino community knows how to mobilize. Usually crowds are fired up, and shouting Si Se Puede.
I arrived late to the rally on Saturday. The neighborhood park across the street is busy with a weekend market place, taco trucks, kids playing soccer, music on the sidewalks. Inside the plaza area, where the speeches were held, many were waiting around until the program was concluded, before leaving. I could feel the solidarity.
Scores of reporters were interviewing young people about what they were expecting, once Trump is sworn in. I was struck by young girls speaking on camera, admitting that they were frightened to show up to work, the minute Trump becomes President. Interviewers were asking these Dreamers what they thought would happen? One young woman spoke, tears streaming down her face, frantic that That ICE enforcement officers will be hunting them down, showing up at their jobs and harassing them. She was frightened that she would be arrested and not be able to see her mother, father or grandparents once she was deported. She was but one young girl speaking out.
This was not simply a rally to decry the eventual policies of Donald trump and his cronies. These brave young men and women, who spoke on camera, were truly terrified of what to expect. For them what is coming is indeed the end of ‘hope’,
Fortunately for those here in Los Angeles , Mayor Garcetti, and Governor Brown have assured Californians that he will not comply with Trumps immigration plans. This is not going to be the case in many other states.
As I walked out of the plaza, feeling enraged; angry at myself that maybe I could have made more calls , I could have better informed thoseI had spoken to, who didnot want to vote because they were Bernie or bust people. I wondered how was my life going to be affected when this senseless man takes helm of our great nation?
A group of four young kids, ages four, six and eight, or so, were standing in a line holding signs, NOT MY PRESIDENT…PROTECT MY FUTURE.
I approached and asked their father if I could take their photograph. He said he would be proud if I did. The six year old stepped forward and held his sign high, FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. He waited till I got the shot and then said with his loud voice, “I am going to stay in the United States, I am going to do good at school, graduate high school, go to college, and then one day I am going to be president so no man like Mr. Trump ever can make anyone like me leave my family or my home.”
Elections have consequences.
Originally from New York City, Tish Lampert began her work as a photojournalist in London where she freelanced for numerous publications and newspapers, including The London Times, The Evening Standard, and Time Out Magazine. She distinguished herself as one of the only women who photographed inside the mines at Abergavenny, Wales. Lampert created a series titled “Exiting the Metropolitan” tracing the closure of rural farms as the British M1 highway was extended.
Tish Lampert’s sixteen years of chronicling U.S. citizens exercising their First Amendment Rights has evolved into two books, America Speaks and I Protest. Ms. Lampert is a 2013 recipient of a Nathan Cummings Foundation Grant for America Speaks. A copy of the book was presented to Michelle Obama. Both America Speaks and I Protest are endorsed by Martin Sheen, Harry Belafonte, Dennis Macdougal, and Greg Palast. In June 2013, Ms. Lampert exhibited at the United Nations. In the fall of 2013, Lampert’s photos from her book America Speaks were on view at the Dan Eldon Gallery in Malibu. Spring 2016, Lampert’s I Protest is featured in an exhibition in Los Angeles with A&I and Harmon Press.
More information about Tish and her work can be found at tishlampert.com.