The last time this Chicano wore a baseball cap was nearly thirty years ago, surrounded by my family in our living room as we watched the Dodger’s Kirk Gibson hit a two-run homer off of the Oakland’s A’s Dennis Eckersley in Game One of the 1986 World Series. Since then, my head seems to have grown an inch with each passing year and trying to wear a baseball cap these days is like trying to put a baby’s sock on a watermelon.
But when I saw Anna Gold’s “Make America Mexico Again” hat on Latino Rebels’ Facebook page last month, I knew I needed to have it. Donald Trump’s meteoric rise to become the GOP Presidential nominee has been one based on racism, xenophobia and polarizing messages of hate. His infamous red caps emblazoned with his campaign slogan-Make America Great Again– are an affront to the lives of those lost fighting for social justice and those continuing the struggles to making our communities better.
That’s why I decided to use a GoFundMePage to crowd source the creation of a parody hat mocking the absurdity of Trump’s hateful campaign. Not only does the hat’s slogan mock Trump’s idea of building a wall between the US and Mexico, it is a donation based project with all of the proceeds going to Mijente, a social justice organization focused on empowering Latinx and Chicanx communities.
Additionally, Jacinta Gonzalez, the activist pictured with her neck locked to the passenger door of a van blocking the only highway leading to a Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona earlier this year, is the organizing director for Mijente. Members of Mijente are actively standing up to Trump’s hate filled rhetoric and organizing to empower our communities.
I am also incredibly excited to say the Trump parody hat will be made in the US by a worker earning a living wage. The manufacturer, Ethix Ventures, is an organization that supports employers who recognize the rights of workers to organize unions as well as the rights of workers who have formed their own democratically structured enterprises.
So far, responses to this hat have been generally positive, knowing that we are using parody and satire to flip the script on Trump. Do we want the U.S. to be Mexico again? No. Do we want Trump to be President? Hell no! What we do want is a country that recognizes and embraces the struggles and contributions of historically marginalized communities. We reject Trump’s polarizing racist rhetoric. In contrast to Trump’s agenda, we want to foster dialogue, build bridges and dismantle institutional racism and xenophobia. Hence, the hat.
As of the writing of this blog, over 500 people from all over the U.S., and several other nations, have donated to Mijente and ordered a parody hat. My hope is that we continue to organize against Trump and against hate past the election in November, as Mijente has pledged to do, so that we can truly make our communities great porque el pueblo unido jamás será vencido.
Jeronimo Saldaña is a Chicano living in Brooklyn. So far more than 550 people have ordered the parody hats with all proceeds going to Mijente.