These are perilous times. A day does not go by when I don't worry about what sort of senseless executive action will come out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I am horrified at the values President Trump laid out in his budget. I am horrified by his immigration ban. I am horrified by how he chooses to divide Americans on almost every issue that he can.
As an elected House member, it is my job to fight back on issues that negatively affect our brothers and sisters here in Colorado. I ask Governor Hickenlooper to join me and stand up to this President and fight keep our families safe and healthy.
Governor Hickenlooper has been presented with many opportunities to lead and has made some statements that give us hope - hope that when the rubber hits the road, Governor Hickenlooper will stand with Colorado's immigrant communities and do whatever he can to make sure that families are not torn apart and good people who have been contributing to the fabric of our lives here in Colorado will not summarily be whisked away in the dead of night.
To not defend our immigrant neighbors and friends is to not defend our state. We are a state and country of immigrants. Colorado must unite to oppose the President's executive orders and the recent memos on immigration enforcement because we are Colorado. The famous words of Desmond Tutu ring true: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Immigrant families and neighbors are living in fear now more than ever.
However, in one area President Trump's actions are setting our nation on a course that may be impossible to correct. I am speaking to his actions to roll back the progress we have made in protecting our rivers, open spaces and air; his actions that will reverse the progress we have made on the damaging effects of global warming. Climate change is real. It is not fake science. It is not a hoax perpetrated by the Russians. We must fight environment justice.
Latino communities suffer disproportionate impacts from pollution, including increased rates of asthma and respiratory disease. Environmental justice is a constant fight and we need Governor Hickenlooper to lead on climate change and air pollution. As was recently reported by the Denver Post, the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods in northeast Denver are the most polluted and environmentally at-risk in the nation. Pollutants are a silent killer in our air and water. It's no surprise that these neighborhoods are made up of primarily low-income Latinos. The Governor must not forget that he represents many economically and socially disadvantaged communities across the state, and those voices ring loud and clear: we deserve clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a safe environment in which to play, live and raise a family.
People of color are under threat from every direction, from immigration policy to clean air and our climate. Our voices matter. We are Colorado, but right now, our voices are not being heard. Governor Hickenlooper has an opportunity to help Colorado become a national leader on the issues affecting our communities, including immigration and environmental justice, two intimately intertwined issues. We all love the Centennial State, but we need our Governor to help us show the nation that Colorado is a force to be reckoned with, and that we will not back down when faced with adversity, intolerance, and injustice.
Thornton resident Joseph Salazar is a Democrat state representative from House District 31, which includes Northglenn, Thornton and parts of unincorporated Adams County.