Dear White Supremacists/Neo-Nazis/KKK,
At first glance you might consider me someone you are fighting for: the white girl with the light hair that you believe is being discriminated against. But my name and my sloppy english will give me away, make me a victim of your hate.
At first glance I would consider you a problem far away, in a country way from my home and my family and those whom I love. And then I remember that my sister goes to college, that my cousins live in your country, that I have made friends and met people who will inevitably fall in your way. I remember that my future and those of countless other people lies in the hands of your nation, that the future of my education is in your country. That one day I will probably have to face you.
I used to admire the country which you now plague. It demonstrated, for me, a democracy flourishing and working. Such a thing hasn’t existed in my country since before I was born. I thought everybody had the chance to speak out, to state their opinions without fear of prosecution or hate or being shut out. I dreamed about the day I would stand in a dorm room, ready to enjoy the possibilities, ready to enjoy a life free of fear and constraints.
And now, I am afraid. Afraid of the place I thought would offer freedom and opportunity. Afraid for the students, the citizens of your nation that you have the chance to encounter. I am afraid for the dead, the dying, the injured. Afraid that it’s all an illusion, that the great United States is crumbling. That one day it will no longer be refuge, a safe place, that it will be a place to run from. I am afraid for the world, for what you represent.
I wonder why you are ashamed of who and what you are. Of the fact that you are people of the world, that your heritage is rich with races and cultures. I wonder why you are ashamed of your nation and the opportunities it stands for. I wonder why you are ashamed of how much good you can do. I wonder why you believe that you stand for one thing and one thing only. I wonder why you don’t realize that the land you stand on does not belong to you, that the earth is a magnificent place of which we are just tenants, that we are supposed to care for it and the people who populate it.
I do not wonder about who I stand with. As sure as you are of your beliefs I am of mine. And as much as you wish to breed fear in your nation and the world, as much as I am afraid for others, I am not afraid of you. I will not be backed into a corner and I will not be easy to defeat for I am not alone. All over the world there are billions of people who are not afraid of you, who stand against you and your violence. There are billions of people who look at you and feel disgusted and ashamed. Your cry is useless, and as much as you think you are making progress in your bitter campaign, there is so much more love in the world to counterattack your hate.
Dear white supremacists/neo-nazis/KKK, you will not have my hate. I will not let you win. Despite the deaths you have caused (in Charlottesville— one confirmed dead and around 19 injured), despite the violence and fear you have created, I will NOT hate you. You wish the world to burn with hate and despair and I will counteract with love. Love for the people you hurt, love for the nation you wish to destroy, love for the land you call your own, love for the world you wish to isolate yourselves from.
I hope, if everything else changes in your nation, that one thing will remain true: the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.
A proud Latina who is not afraid of you
-Maria Velasquez Soler