What a day. I woke up this morning to a call from my sister, Loren, who lives in Chicago with her husband Mauricio, and their three-year old U.S.-born daughter, Sofía. She was sobbing. She's a Mexican immigrant, and she’s pregnant with a second daughter, Luisa, who will be born days after Trump’s inauguration.
And like countless mothers across America, she is scared about the future of her daughters.
She told me, “I was keeping it together until Sofía came into my room this morning, and I just broke down. I sat there and watched this happy, bubbly child who can’t understand that her future has just dramatically changed. As a mother I’m supposed to give her hope… but how can I do that today?”
Today you see my byline for the first time on these pages. I’m usually behind the scenes, planning our communications, chatting directly with our subscribers, listening to your needs.
But today changes everything. For those of us who reject xenophobia, racism, misogyny, what we are facing is nothing short of an existential threat.
So I’m writing to you because there is no word in the English language for the way my chest feels right now. My heart is beating to a rhythm that falls somewhere between disconsolate and deflated, and I’m hoping that the sound of my keyboard will help soothe me.
After talking to my sister, I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “How can I help to stop this assault on freedom and basic human decency? What can I do today, in my current life, in this job with National Observer?”
I’ll spare you the lecturing about all the ways you can make a difference in your communities. I imagine your Facebook feeds or a quick web search can take care of that.
All I can do today is try to persuade you about the importance of facts and truth.
I know, I know, many of you are eye-rolling right now. My thumbs have scrolled through numerous comments that we now live in a post-fact, post-truth society. That the lesson of last night is that facts don’t matter, that emotions, however angry and violent, win the day.
But I refuse to sit by and let the truth die. I refuse to accept a world where misinformation and public relations substitute the basic pursuit of facts. Where citizens feel so disillusioned by their governments that they’re willing to accept conspiracy theories as their only lifeboat.
We cannot accept a world where the powerful can hide behind lies. Because when we lose the ability to tell the truth, we lose everything.
So today, my job became a lot more important. And our team of fearless journalists now has an even larger mandate. With the crumbling of old media outlets around us, independent media organizations like National Observer are struggling to fill out that abandoned space: to keep the most powerful forces in the planet accountable.
But here’s the catch: we cannot do this without you.
I want this letter to be a personal invitation to you. Today, you have the ability to make a huge difference, the opportunity to give your community a fighting chance.
So here’s my appeal to you: read this again. Read this to a friend. Discuss how much journalism matters to you. Discuss whether you can afford to live in a world without reporting that is not afraid to speak truth to power.
And if this makes you feel something in your chest, please support our work by becoming a subscriber.
Dear readers, we have a lot of work ahead of us. But whatever you do, please don’t let the truth die.
Because the next time I visit Chicago to hug Loren, Sofía and Mauricio, I want to be able to look into my niece’s eyes and tell her, in both English and español, that I’m fighting for her future with everything I've got.