I am one of the organizers of the event to be held at Hennessy’s Irish Pub on Saturday January 21st. Since the gathering was announced, social media is full of differing opinions.
I would like to clarify a few points to all supporters and opponents.
The aim of the event at Hennessy’s is to show solidarity with the March on Washington and more than 300 sister events. These simultaneous gatherings will provide a venue for concerned citizens around the world to come together and voice their opinions about policy statements made by the incoming president of the United States of America.
President-elect Donald Trump’s views on LGBTQ rights, immigrants and refugees, needs of children and the elderly, climate change, weapons proliferation, affordable medical care, accessible education, and many other issues are certainly at odds with those of many global citizens.
I am not a citizen of the United States of America; I was born in Vancouver, which practically lies on the Canada-USA border. I am a citizen of Canada and of Mexico. Both of those countries are part of the North American continent and that makes me an American. Because of geography and other non-variables, the fates of all Americans are intertwined. What one nation does, affects us all.
A lot of Mexican citizens and many of the expats who live in Merida need a way to express their views, and I am grateful to Hennessy’s for providing the place.
But, I hope the event will transcend name-calling and the venting of our disaccord. I hope the solidarity gathering at Hennessy’s will send a message of support to our friends who desperately need a morale booster – the Mexican people.
On Wednesday January 18th, I will complete my 41st year living in Merida. I have seen and experienced so much it makes my head spin. But truly I have never before seen the people so crushed.
The Mexican peso is worth half what it was worth ten years ago. The daily minimum wage is 14 times lower than the average minimum daily wage in the USA. Gasoline prices have gone up 14-20% this month, corporations are slashing jobs, the government has increased taxes, and despite claims of “transparency”, there are more “irregularities” than ever. And now, insult has been added to injury.
How would you feel if the president of another country felt such disrespect and abhorrence for you that he vowed to build a wall to keep you out? What if he also demanded you pay for it? What would you think about the population of the nation who elected such a person?
I can count on one hand the Mexicans who have been hateful towards me. I feel a sense of inclusion and kindness. Yesterday at the Merida English Library, an expat told me about an experience she had when she went to a tailor shop to have her purse strap fixed:
I sat on a chair, and while one of the tailors mended the strap, the other recited poetry to me.
This is the Mexico I know. These are the people I live amongst. They have no way to tell the incoming U.S. administration how they feel about the abuse being heaped on them, but we do. Loyalty and gratitude are two of the pillars of friendship. For the kindness and support we have received, we should defend our friends.
Although the event I am helping to organize will be attended by many who disagree with the USA’s president-elect, personal criticism of him or any other politician is not our agenda. We want to show our support for those living in the USA, and in other countries, who will suffer because of the policy changes the new administration wants to affect. We do not want to see hard won civil rights taken away. We do not want more acrimony in the world.
Some expats have expressed worry about attending this event. They are concerned that their presence might be considered a political act, and they might be breaking the Mexican law that prohibits foreigners from political participation.
To allay this fear, I will say that the City authorities know the event is planned and they are positive about it. We will not be causing a disturbance or blocking traffic. Our message regarding Mexico is one of support. We have nothing to hide or worry about.
So, on behalf of the organizing committee, I invite you to join us on Saturday January 21. We’ll be at Hennessey’s from noon till 3 in the afternoon. We will provide a long white banner and all participants will be invited to add their thoughts – be sure to bring your felt pens and markers. After the event, the banner will be hung for all to see.
For more info, please leave a comment or have a look at our facebook event page:
Yucatan Expat Life also has a post about the Merida’s Solidarity with the Washington March.