Local refugee immigrant, wife and mother tells Trump: ‘I choose to see the goodness’

A Sunday rally in Boston’s Copley Square protests an executive order banning certain immigrants from entering the country in this image from Brianna Wu, a state candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, via twitter. Click the photo to see the original tweet.

This is an open letter to President Donald Trump.

From Vatsady Sivongxay, Jan. 31, 2017: I am an attorney, community organizer, wife and mother. I am a refugee immigrant. I am a proud American.

I know what it means to be forcibly displaced from one’s home, but also how our country can be a beacon of hope for those who strive for freedom, opportunity and dignity. That is the American story. That is why I choose to see the goodness.

I have lived in a war-torn country where raising my voice could have been punishable by death. I remember being nationless, helpless and living day to day with an uncertain future. That is why I choose to see the goodness that comes from respecting differences, finding shared values and achieving common goals in a diverse community.

I watched my parents work hard and make sacrifices to offer a better life for their children. That is why I choose to see the goodness in the hard-working immigrants who love their children and contribute to our communities as they strive for the American dream.

My family not only embraces our nation’s diversity, we embody it. We are a blended multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial family. Our story comes from different chapters in the narrative of this rich, diverse country. We represent a diversity of faiths and beliefs – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam – and share a moral foundation of love and support for all in our community. That is our story. That is the American story.

Mr. President, the agenda you push is dark and un-American. It stokes hate and fear at home, and closes us off to the rest of the world. We are a nation of immigrants who love our country, cherish its mix of ethnicities and cultures, and proudly contribute to the next chapter in its history.

I know what it means to live without freedom, opportunity, or dignity. I know we must always be vigilant in protecting our rights, and that is why I stand as a proud American in opposition to the dark narrative your recent actions suggest.

I choose to see the goodness. And I will fight for it!


Vatsady Sivongxay is an attorney, community organizer and refugee immigrant in Cambridge.

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