Dear President Trump,
My name is Juliet Ramey-Lariviere. I am many things: I am a woman, a friend, an ally, a Chinese immigrant, and a proud member of a multiracial family. I was adopted when I was a baby, and my parents gave me a sense of security and belonging, my white parents. Despite our skin color difference, we talk like a family, we travel like a family, we argue like a family, and we comfort each other like a family.
My school community is also my family. We come from different countries, speak different languages, have different body types, vary in sexual orientation and gender identity, in economic standing, skin color, and religion. And I cannot imagine life without them, whether we believe in the same things or not.
Each of my family members is someone’s brother, mother, father, sister, best friend, peer, coworker, or significant other. My family members know people on the other side of the world. We are all interconnected. As a human race we must understand and accept that we are connected, through friends, language, religion, race, and that one cannot be selective.
I am a human, I have a heart and DNA just like any other: white, black, Muslim, Native American, or Jewish. How can I ignore a person so similar to me? How can anyone? I have my own set of beliefs, you have yours, and they have theirs. I am not trying to convince you to adopt my beliefs; I am simply asking you to consider your impact on others. I do not just mean large political issues; I mean a simple bathroom sign, or a trash can full of recyclable plastic. How do these things affect the person sitting next to you? What about the person sitting across from you?
I write this letter from a place of privilege. I live in New York City, I attend an independent school, I eat every day, I am right handed and can climb stairs. I am writing this letter on my personal computer. I am recognizing my privilege; I am accepting that many of the topics in the news will not directly affect me. I am acknowledging this, but I am writing this letter to you. I believe that you are privileged, sir, please correct me if I am wrong. And while my privilege is different than yours, I am reminding both of us that we as people of privilege should, no, must not sit idly by. Especially while those just as vulnerable as us, just as creative and beautiful and passionate and human are suffering and scared. Please hear me, please hear them, please hear us.
Juliet Ramey-Lariviere, Grade 11, Brooklyn Friends School, member of Fifteenth Street Meeting in New York City