A few short days after the results of the 2016 presidential election, a poster for a gun shop was inserted into the glass case of the bus shelter where I regularly wait for transportation to the university I attend. While some of my neighbors took this as a sign of peace and protection, I took it as an omen. Instead of building shelters, my countrymen, including some of my neighbors, were embracing a language of violence with the intention of silencing anyone who opposed them. Guns were not the only weapon I saw being used to inflict pain and to disenfranchise innocent people. Plans for a great American border wall, the antithesis of the hope of Ellis Island from the past generation, ran rampant. The mass deportation campaign came next. So did the governmental threats to slash funding for sanctuary cities, such as Boston and Philadelphia. Then the series of Muslim bans, which directly blocked Syrian refugees from entering America, even though they desperately needed shelter.
All of these events led me to create the Sanctum theme for this issue. What seems most necessary to me now is to find sources of compassion and love for others however I can. In the words of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Ellie Wiesel, "no human being is illegal." I am compelled to live by these words and I hope others are as well. We must use the tactics of peaceful nonviolent resistance to protect human life. We must refuse to use the violent and abhorrent languages of bombs, racism, sexism, and xenophobia as currency. We must vow to protect the individuals our government is targeting and seeking to ostracize. Ask people what they need to feel safe and protected. Gather resources to ensure that level of safety is met. Use your skills to build inclusive sanctuaries for individuals who need those spaces the most. I feel the aching in this world, and I want to do everything in my power to heal that wound. I hope this issue of our magazine will provide some sense of relief and peace for you, if only for an instant. I hope it will inspire you to identify where sanctuaries are needed most and to begin building shelters in your own communities. I hope you feel safe and loved within this space.
Lastly, I promise that our staff will continue building this space for everyone who needs a platform to share their voices. Regardless of executive orders or presidential tweets, everyone is welcome in the L'Éphémère Review community. We love you and we are with you.
Yours in solidarity and survival,
Managing Editor & Poetry Editor