by Andreia Gibau · 03 Apr 2020 · 6 min read
I am an Irish immigrant. SWAAY's Founder is a Muslim who emigrated here from Morocco, and our Managing Editor is a first generation Cuban whose grandparents arrived on JFK's Freedom flights. Our stories are as diverse as they come, our backgrounds worlds apart and yet we have all ended up here in New York at the same time. There is no cosmic cause that explains why we have all met each other - there is simply the fact that this country has welcomed immigrants since its birth, and here we are, three immigrants of some variation, legally living in this country. And yet for the past week we have been questioning our very status because of a ban that persecutes those executing their right to travel here under years of agreements and contractual legislation between their countries and this one. Yes, it's been temporarily stopped by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but with our new President responding with a law suit threat, it seems the ban is far from disappearing.
I've spent years now encouraging people to have difficult conversations, to talk about the things that are bothering them and yet, remain unspoken. I've read the research showing that couples who argue effectively, instead of staying quiet and avoiding conflict are ten times more likely to have a happy relationship.
Growing up, every image depicted around me gave the message that most dark girls were ugly. So, when people would say, "You're pretty for a dark-skinned girl," I took it as a compliment.
The heartbreaking deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are sadly nothing new for our country, but they have broken the straw on the proverbial camel's back. All of their stories are tragic in their own right, but the match that lit this fire around the world was the public lynching of George Floyd. I heard about the murder before I ever got a chance to see it, and when clips were being shown I could only stand to digest a good five seconds of what was being captured. Despite all this, the most discouraging part about George Floyd's death is the silence from those around me.