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Donald Trump said nasty things about Mexicans, so she said, 'Meet my dad.'

Here's the face of undocumented immigrants that people like Donald Trump need to see.

Donald Trump said nasty things about Mexicans, so she said, 'Meet my dad.'
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In a recent attempt to make a case against immigration, Donald Trump said some pretty messed-up stuff about Mexicans in his presidential campaign announcement.

“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems. ... When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
— Donald Trump


Yikes. The response was swift. Trump lost business partnerships and sponsorships, and he was on the receiving end of tons of public backlash and anger.

But when 28-year old Adriana Almanza heard Trump's comments, she didn't just get angry. She decided to introduce him to her dad.

Adriana's father, Raul, was an undocumented immigrant who, in her mind, more than fit the bill as one of "the best" — the term Trump used to distinguish people he arrogantly decided are "worthy" of being American.


As one does in 2015, Adriana took to Facebook and wrote Trump a letter. The entire letter is a thing of beauty, but below is my favorite excerpt:

"Raul doesn't have what you call a 'formal education'. He left high school early on to work and contribute to the household financially. But that doesn't mean anything. When I was young, I would come home where my dad never hesitated to help me with my homework; he instilled in me the importance of education and a degree, even though he didn't have one. My dad has worked 5-6 days a week since I was a child and I've never heard him complain about it one time. He doesn't drink. He doesn't use drugs. He is certainly not a criminal, rapist, or drug trafficker, as your speech suggested. ...

If my dad is any representation of the type of people Mexico 'sends', there is no doubt in my mind this country is getting the best. The problem is that you and I have a different definition of 'the best'.

I sit here now with a Masters degree and a rewarding career. ... We are not rich in wealth, sir. But we are rich in what matters.. knowledge, culture, & faith. We come from humble beginnings.. and every year we are reminded of that when we travel to Mexico to visit our beautiful family. To us, THAT is what matters."
— Adriana Almanza, "Dear Mr. Trump"




So what qualifies someone as "the best"?

A college degree? A Ph.D.? A white-collar job? Speaking English? Usually (especially in the context of the immigration debate), the term "best" is code for classist and racist stereotypes that not only ignore the beauty of what really matters — hard work, honesty, family values — but also imply that those who aren't in that category take away from rather than add to America.

Adriana could have replied with some of the ways immigrants help the economy, like starting their own businesses. She could have done a historical analysis of all the ways immigrants have helped build this country. Or she could have made a list of the "best and brightest" that have crossed the border and helped make this country what it is today.

Instead, she simply told her father's story in the hope it reaches Trump and reshapes the narrative about Mexico, immigrants, and what it means to be "the best."



If Donald Trump can speak negatively about immigrants in the face of the millions of people just like Raul and Adriana, one thing is clear: He certainly isn't the best that America has to offer.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Another week of 2021 in the books...and now we're fully into September. Holy moly, how did that happen? Pandemic time is so wild.

Another week means another chance for us to counter the doom-and-gloom headlines with some simple rays of sunshine. Need a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

Enjoy.

1. This story of quick-thinking generosity on 9/11 is a reminder of the goodness of ordinary people.

Mercedes Martinez shared a story on Twitter about how her dad rented the biggest van he could find just before his flight was grounded on 9/11 because he knew people were going to be stranded. He ended up driving seven scared strangers from Omaha to Denver, took them straight to their front doors, and refused to accept any payment. She wants to find the people he helped. Read the full story here and follow her thread here for updates.


2. A WWII veteran got to meet the girl who wrote him a letter in the third grade, which he's kept with him for 12 years.

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