My name is Christine Tuhy. As a woman and as a mother, I am unconditional love for you. I acknowledge your accomplishment. I believe in your humanity, and I believe in your Divinity.
My family comes from western North Dakota. We are a farming family who settled the region as homesteaders fleeing from oppressive government in Czechoslovakia, where we were also a farming family. For as long back as I can trace, the central identity of my family is our connection with the land.
Currently, I am a Minneapolis-based real estate broker specialized in representing homebuyers and sellers in Spanish. My clients speak about the US with deep fondness, patriotism and pride.
Today I am concerned, and I am sad. I’m sad because I’ve just hung up my phone, after hearing again, what I now hear every day on my client outreach calls, “I want to buy a home, but I will not buy now, because I’m afraid of what will happen under the Trump presidency.”
I know you know, that our great country is what it is because we welcome people who want to work hard, connect with the land, start businesses, and love their families—people like your German grandfather, Frederick Christ Trump, immigrant, and your Scottish mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, immigrant.*
It is the courage and trust of new Americans that has caused my success in my business, and the boldness and prosperity of new Americans that fortifies our economy. Nowhere is the contribution of immigrants more visible than in the real estate industry, and industry you and I also share.
When the US housing market crashed in 2005, causing the urban blight of vacant homes in city after city, Ecuadorian homebuyers flooded in with their Ecuadorian money and bought American homes for their families. Then they bought American supplies at American stores to fix up those homes. Then they cleaned up the mice, grafitti, and cobwebs, and filled those homes with love and family. Then, like Fred and Mary Trump, and like Frank and Anna Ficek, they lovingly tended those homes while they worked hard to feed their families and pay their taxes, taxes that were used to bail out the big banks that caused the crisis to begin with.
In the twelve years of steadily declining home ownership that followed, only among Latinos did home ownership rates rise, accounting for an incredible 69% of the total net growth.**
I am deeply concerned for the families I know, but mostly I am worried for our beloved country, a country whose economy is being dealt yet another blow—this time, by the fear and financial clench rippling through immigrant communities.
Just as I owe the success of my business to immigrants, so do we owe the greatness of our nation to immigrants—immigrants like my great-great-grandfather, Frank Ficek and your grandfather, Fred Trump; immigrants like your mother, Mary Anne Macleod, and my great-great grandmother, Anna Ficek.
There is another group I would like to acknowledge together, with you, Mr. Trump, you who so kindly stated, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer….. struggling families all across our land. That changes right here and right now.”
These are the truest of all Americans—the people who are not descendants of immigrants, and the people who welcomed our ancestors as immigrants; a people so far forgotten that many Americans hearing your inauguration promise do not even imagine their faces. These are “The mothers and children trapped in poverty…scattered across the landscape of our nation…deprived of knowledge…and robbed of…potential.” These are people who live in third world conditions within our borders. These are people steadily betrayed and consistently defiled, and I thank you, Donald Trump, for promising to forget them no more.
American Indigenous communities have persevered through poverty and persecution far beyond what it is comfortable to discuss. They have modeled graciousness and forgiveness; prayer and respect; honor of ancestors and elders; and deep, deep love for American land and all the life that it supports.
“We are one nation, and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.”
“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.”
America will not be made great again by stepping over the Indigenous, not in my eyes, not in your eyes, and not in the world’s eyes. Without integrity, nothing works, and this is a wound that will fester, like any unhealed wound. You and our nation will not be seen with honor and integrity until we address the deep injustices that are at the very core of our nation’s history; injustices which are well within your capacity to address.
Then, we will be in an honorable position to “Seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and they will receive us. And then, truly, “We will shine for everyone to follow.”
“Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.”
Only you can do this, President Trump, only you.
And if you do? If you, as one of the world’s most powerful men, choose to acknowledge the impact of the settlement of these lands on the peoples already here and the contributions to our nation of and by immigrants; if you choose to hand them the microphone so that we, as a great nation, may listen to them from our hearts; you will be an example so powerful that it will wash a wave of healing over our entire one, great planet.
“God’s people” are all people, and it is your welcoming and loving all people that will cause us to “live together in unity….speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly.” It is by acknowledging and appreciating the immense contributions of indigenous and immigrant peoples that we will achieve “solidarity” and become the united, unstoppable America of your speech, my dreams, and God’s plan.
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