An Open Letter to Melania Trump

Dear Mrs. Trump,

Walking through the School of Social Work on Wednesday morning, I overheard you on TV. You said many lovely things about issues so near and dear to my heart, but I was confused upon hearing you say them. It seemed incongruous that you spoke earnestly about “fighting injustices” when just a stone’s throw away from you, our lawmakers were discussing how to best gut our nation’s healthcare system. You spoke eloquently about how we must have “respect for people from all backgrounds and ethnicities,” while immigrants are treated with great disdain by your own husband. I am curious, why not talk more about how you too were an immigrant to this country? Do you realize what an incredible advocate you could be in reminding others of the worth of immigrants and the importance of treating them with compassion?

You said “we must declare that the era of allowing brutality against women and children is over,” yet on Thursday your husband’s party approved an attack on Title X, a program solely devoted to helping low income and uninsured women. The path they’re embarking on could hinder the ability of women to get vital care they need (items like cancer screenings, birth control, and of course, access to safe abortions.) You noted, “the time for empowering women around the world is now.” I couldn’t agree more. Even here in these great United States, women are killed, raped, and sold every day. 90% of our country’s rape victims are women. Many millions of women die - or come unacceptably close - from preventable illnesses associated with childbirth due to lack of accessible, affordable care. And who can forget that only 20% of our federal legislators - the people who make our laws and decide where our money gets spent - share our gender.

Mrs. Trump, I applaud the content of your words on Wednesday. They were beautiful and inspiring. You called for us to “remain vigilant against injustice in all its many forms.” I concur, it’s important to look for the injustices, but vigilance isn’t enough! As said in John 3:18, “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” While I could easily see the enticing call for you to stay apolitical and out of the public eye, you must not forget how much power you wield, and how much of a difference you could make by lending your voice to important causes. I read that you have interest in fighting cyberbullying. This is certainly a worthy cause, and surely you know of myriad others deserving of your attention. Please consider jumping into one of these many urgent fights taking place right now.

You know, Mrs. Trump, I imagine a lot of people might tell you, “politics aren’t personal,” but from one woman to another, I assure you: they are. The political decisions being made in D.C. - and our state capitols - echo throughout our nation and have severe consequences in the lives of many people. I know the need is dire - and at times, seemingly endless - and I do not mean to imply it is all on your shoulders, but our country is at a crossroads and needs people of all stripes and strengths to stand up. In closing, I ask you to consider the plight of so many Americans struggling and scared right now, and I pose your own words back to you, “Ask yourself if you would have the fortitude of spirit, the courage of your convictions, and the enormous inner strength required to stand up and fight against such odds.”