NCLEJ Statement on 2016 Election

In April 1944 in New York City, while on shore leave from the Merchant Marines, Woody Guthrie recorded “This Land Is Your Land,” which many regard as an alternative National Anthem.  Guthrie’s timeless song, with its refrain of “this land was made for you and me,” continues to reach across generations, speaking to community, fairness, and inclusiveness.  These are values woven into the fabric of American life.

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States threatens to undermine these values and the social fabric that binds us together.  His campaign presented a bleak vision of the country as deeply divided, revealing fissures founded in fear and hate.

Throughout the long months leading to his election, Trump and his surrogates, under the guise of “populism,” relentlessly pandered to the worst instincts among Americans.  In disturbing rhetoric, he repeatedly denigrated women and racial and religious minorities in the basest terms possible, laying bare his belief that this land was made for you and me, only if you are not somehow “different.”

The nation is already seeing the ramifications of Donald Trump’s view of who is deserving.  Demonstrations prompted by outrage over his vision and promises have occurred in cities throughout the country.  News reports and social media have described an influx of hate and violence against marginalized communities.  Schoolchildren are asking their immigrant parents if Trump’s election means their family will have to move.

We at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice stand in solidarity with communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, low-wage workers, persons with disabilities, and all others who are forced to wonder whether they still have a place in Donald Trump’s America.  We declare it is our America as well, and NCLEJ, as it has for more than 50 years, joins with low-income families, individuals, and communities to continue to advance the cause of economic, social, and racial justice through litigation, policy work, and support of grassroots organizing across the nation.

Moreover, NCLEJ stands with all organizations, advocates, and committed persons willing to resist the acceptance of divisive attitudes and implementation of policies and practices that threaten universal health care, the rights of low-wage workers, and so much more.

This will be far from easy – we here are quite concerned.  But, we are heartened by the great John Lewis’s wisdom that “there will be progress, but there will also be setbacks. We must continue to have hope and be steeled in our faith that this nation will one day become a truly multiracial democracy.”

NCLEJ, through its unique ability to combat economic, social, and racial injustice, will continue the fight.

There are things we all must do.  Give to organizations fighting for justice.  Volunteer your time.  Make your voice heard.

We know if we all stand together, we can prevail.