Having a Voice within the Trump Administration: Is it Possible?

By: Liechelle R. Hernandez

Under the Trump Administration, the tension between marginalized individuals which include blacks, Hispanics as well as members of the LGBTQ community have been evident. Whether it was calling attention to the “Blacks for Trump” signs at his speaking engagements or even the supporters chanting “Build that Wall!”, it has been harder for those who have long been continuously silenced to have a voice at all.

Since the beginning of his term, President Trump has been setting back the work that has been done in President Obama’s administration. Whether its through budget cuts, dissolving programs , or composing his Cabinet with officials who do not sympathize with actions placed by the previous administration. Controversy does not begin to describe what has plagued the United States under the new administration. The appointment of Betsy Devos for Secretary of the Department of Education has led to protests, campaigns and other forms of outcry to make voices heard. Although education is not at the very top of Trump’s agenda, is it still a tremendously significant social problem. Trump’s first full education budget surfaced mid-May. It places importance of the focus of the administration which is school choice while placing deep cuts on public school programs. You can read more about his education budget here

Both Devos and Trump have agreed that they want to decrease the federal government’s role in education to push school choice and giving parents to opportunity to choose what school their children would attend. Looking at the budget shows that there is use of federal dollars to establish school-choice policies and cuts to long standing programs in public schools. There are also changes to higher education as there is the reshaping of financial aid programs. With $9.2 billion being cut from the Department of Education, there is no time to wait for reform but instead action needs to take place. Because of this decrease, the areas that would be mostly impacted are urban communities with high populations of marginalized communities. Education is an investment for the future that will last longer than the Trump administration so understanding the budget and asking those necessary questions is important right now for America.

Another discriminatory attack on civil rights can be seen in the staffing cuts under President Trump’s proposed budget for the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights. This office is involved in the investigation of discrimination in school districts. With the staffing cuts, there would be a cutback in the amount of investigations that are done.

Trump is not the only one rolling back Obama’s legacy in this administration, another name familiar to controversy is Jeff Sessions. Sessions not only defended the President’s unconstitutional Muslim ban, he also threatened to deny federal grant funds to sanctuary cities for immigrants such as New York City and Chicago. By having such a strong coalition backing his beliefs, it is easy for Trump to push the initiatives that he mentioned in his from the moment he took the campaign trail.

With all the economic and social discrimination that has happened in less than 6 months, it is important to think of all the changes as harmful to those of any minority. Attention to what the Trump administration is doing is needed as well as action. Reform can happen by even just speaking to your local congressperson about your concerns. But to dismantle foreseen injustices we need to focus on civil rights equality for our nation. The only way to have our voices heard, is never to remain silent!