Six months ago on this day, I was sitting on a beach in St. Croix, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary. It was a steady 82 degrees with a slight breeze, and I was sipping a cold Presidente beer. Boats were bumping lightly in the harbor and that electric blue Caribbean Sea was running gently against the sand in front of my cabana. All was well. Too well.
Six months later, the world is a much different place. It's angrier and uglier, and you can bet it will only get more so in the next six months. In St. Croix, back in the first week of August 2016, the town of Christiansted was papered with "Hillary Clinton for President" posters. The Crucians were having their own local elections but because of the USVI's status as a U.S. territory, only the ex-pats could cast ballots for president. Still, the feeling was heavily Democratic and celebratory amid the waning of President Barack Obama's two-term administration.
I don't know what the mood is on St. Croix these days, but Stacey Plaskett, a USVI delegate to the U.S. Congress, wrote in the St. Croix Source shortly after the election that the outcome was "difficult for many people to comprehend," noting fear in the 76 percent Afro-Cuban population that President Donald Trump's "populist movement and nationalist-identity politics" would spur his base to "engage in a 'post-Obama' backlash similar to the post-Reconstruction era of American history."
Considering the centuries-old legacy of slavery, racism, colonialism and disenfranchisement on the U.S. Virgin Islands, I imagine those fears are palpable. Likewise with others living in the mainland U.S., whose experiences have been marked by institutional marginalization, bigotry and economic disadvantage.
Far from the deceptively calm beaches of St. Croix, immigrants and refugees in the Treasure Valley are navigating their fears as Trump's policies threaten to fracture their families with sweeping deportation and detention rules. Boise Weekly staff writer Harrison Berry took an in-depth look at how some local organizations and industry groups are approaching Trump's hardline approach to foreign-born residents. Find his report on Page 6.
Also, inserted in this week's paper, you'll find We Are Boise—a brand-new, full-color glossy magazine in which local merchants celebrate our community in their own words.