Today makes one year since I was declared to be cancer-free. I didn’t actually find this out until a few days before Christmas but this is the date that’s documented to be my remission date. After not being certain if I was actually in remission, finally hearing the words, “Your biopsy came back N.E.D. (no evidence of disease)” was just AMAZING! It had been a rough couple of months for me and my family and this was the news we had all been anxiously waiting for.
On October 9th of this year, my family and friends surprised me with a brunch party AND I was actually VERY SURPRISED! October 9th 2015 was the day that I was diagnosed with leukemia and even though we weren’t celebrating the day, we were celebrating our year-long journey together as a team where we all rallied together and kicked leukemia’s butt. Even though I do like to give my support team a lot of credit, let’s be honest here….I did all of the butt kicking! ;) But I’m digressing. And on this day, November 9th 2016, my friends and family surprised me again with a shower of love and support for my “one year in the clear”!!
Today, November 9th 2016, is also a tough day for me. It is the day that Hillary Clinton lost the U.S. presidency to her opponent. I supported Hillary and continue to do so and was really hoping & expecting her to win. I did feel that Hillary would have been a great president and I thought it was evident that she was clearly a better candidate than her opponent but it just didn’t happen. Hillary’s supporters believed in diversity, women’s rights, respect and support for others, including those different than us, family values and unity. And just as our First Lady, Michelle Obama said, Hillary believed that “when they go low, we go high”.
Her opponent, Donald Trump made it very clear during his campaign that he believed in instilling fear and wanted to exclude the very same minorities that Hillary was trying to unite. He believes in an America that is mostly white, straight, U.S. born, and Christian. I’m not going to waste time in reminding everyone of the racist, sexist, derogatory, disgusting, profane, hateful, and aggressive statements Mr.Trump has said of women, Muslims, Latinos, and the LGBTQ community, All you have to do is go on social media, YouTube, and any & every news site in the world to refresh your memory. However, half of our country has chosen that these things are acceptable, true to American values, and presidential. And for those of you that voted for Trump thinking that that is not what your vote meant, you are wrong.
Was I excited to finally have a female president? Yes. Did I feel inspired and empowered to see a qualified woman campaigning for the most powerful job in the United States of America? Yes. Am I upset she didn’t win? Yes. But I am more disappointed and saddened by something much greater than that. Hillary was not alone when she lost the campaign today. Something much greater lost with her and that is humanity. Hillary supporters are not just angry that she lost. We are angry that in her losing, our country just became one that it is less safe, less tolerable, and less unifying to vastly growing minority groups.
I’m a proud Latina born in the Dominican Republic. My family came to the United States when I was just two years old in search for a better future for all of us, but especially for me. My family has been one of hard work and sacrifice, starting from the bottom and inching its way up to achieve different aspects of what is considered the American dream. This country has given my family tremendous opportunities. However, I also give credit to the motivation, sacrifice and perseverance my family has demonstrated time and time again to take advantage of those opportunities. America has given me the opportunity to one day become Dr. Minerva Guerrero holding the highest level of educational degree our country knows, a PhD, in Mental Health Counseling. This country has also given me a second chance at life. The Dominican Republic was the home of my birth and the U.S. home of my rebirth. I say this as someone who is very aware that my cancer remission was achieved due to the quality health care this country was able to offer me that may not have been the case in my country of origin. My family and I are very grateful for this blessing.
And yet today, I don’t feel proud or grateful. To witness how Hillary Clinton has dedicated her entire life to politics, has worked so hard and is beyond qualified, and yet, she lost the presidential election to her opponent is so demoralizing. Hillary is proof that that a woman can work harder than everyone else and still have to compete against a man who is less qualified and yet this is not a feeling foreign to us women today. BUT it has been painful to watch & it is painful to know that not only did she lose the election but she lost it to Donald Trump.
So how do I move forward after this very emotional historic day? I have chosen that instead of focusing on whether or not I am proud to be an American today, it is more important that I focus on what I am proud of today.
I am proud of the life I live. I am proud of my dreams, my motivation, my strive for success to better myself and my future. I am proud of my perseverance and my will to live even after very difficult trying times. I am proud of my faith in God who has never left me alone even in the darkest places. I am proud of the people I love and that love me. These are my best friends, my boyfriend, my classmates and colleagues and even people that I do not know who have sent me sweet & kind messages. I am proud of my family who has always instilled in me that anything and everything is possible as long as I am a good person, work hard and fight for what is right. And even though, this was not evident today in the United States of America that we have migrated to, this is still evident in our hearts today.
So, where do we go from here? Our country needs to start talking about healing. We need to start praying and we need to stay close to our values of love, kindness, respect and justice. And we need to also pray for America’s President-Elect. It is not smart to wish for his downfall just to prove that America got it wrong. We must pray and hope for his success. For his success as President is our success as a nation. And most importantly, as Hillary Clinton graciously said today during her concession speech,
“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams”.