President-elect Trump, you can reboot your relationship with Latinos

Story highlights

  • Manny Ruiz: The president has the chance to build a good relationship with Latinos
  • Donald Trump must let his actions speak louder than his tweets, he writes
  • Ruiz says he opposed Trump's candidacy but wants him to succeed

Manny Ruiz is the CEO and founder of Hispanicize Media Group, the parent company of the 8th annual Hispanicize event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers, the national Hispanic digital influencer network DiMe Media and Latino digital food media company Hispanic Kitchen. He is a registered Independent. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)Dear President-elect Trump,

Over the course of this election cycle, I actively and strongly opposed you for saying and inciting things that I deemed detrimental against Latinos. This week, following your electoral victory, you said you wanted to become known as a president that unites our nation and that you aim to be everybody's president.
Today I want to say that I am personally giving you a clean slate to reboot your relationship with the Latino community after what everyone can agree has been the most toxic election cycle in recent political memory.
    Manny Ruiz
    As an American of Cuban Latino descent (yes, I am ALL THREE and not just one!) who is married to a Mexican-American, I want you to know that I want you to be super successful because your success would mean our nation is thriving and uniting.
    Many of my friends in the communities of color I represent are gravely concerned about your presidency and whether this means you will use your presidential powers to strip our communities of our dignity and our rights, but I believe you have the opportunity to be successful and to win the whole nation over.
    I can't say it's going to be easy. It's going to take guts to make inroads into our communities but that's one trait we all know you have. The fact that you almost single-handedly won this election without any of the traditional establishments of politics and media in your corner tells me that you can make unconventional, practical decisions and that many of your followers will listen.
    Trump transition effort starts with leadership shake-up
    Trump transition effort starts with leadership shake-up


      Trump transition effort starts with leadership shake-up


    Trump transition effort starts with leadership shake-up 02:48
    In the spirit of unity, here are some ways you can be true to those who elected you while ALSO building bridges to many people of color:

    Let Hillary go

    If you want to unite the nation, come out quickly saying your administration is not going to prosecute Secretary Clinton. Pursuing a criminal case against Hillary will instantly turn into the kind of political drama you don't want or need in your first days in office and the best part about this idea is that you have a Republican political precedent for this: Ford pardoned Nixon after the Watergate scandal for the sake of moving the country forward.

    Build the wall but create a path for citizenship for undocumented Latinos

    This idea is very controversial for both border-obsessed conservatives and Latino progressives, but in many ways it is the perfect middle ground. If your administration moves forward with rumored deportations and no path to citizenship for undocumented Latinos -- who, in many cases, have been living here for years -- the human and psychological toll this will take on our community will be great. This is the No. 1 apocalyptic fear Latinos see with your presidency.
    I want to appeal to you to consider the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the same president who you say you admired and whose campaign also inspired your slogan, "Make America Great Again."
    Reagan endeared himself to millions of Latinos when he authorized a path to citizenship for them in the early '80s, and I am certain that over the course of your presidency you and your Republican Party can take action on the immigration issue to convert many Latinos to your party, accomplishing something your Democratic counterparts never did.
    It is reasonable to say that this path should not be available for undocumented Hispanics who committed any crimes, that criminals be immediately deported and that citizenship include some of the bipartisan fines and timelines that have previously been discussed by members of both parties in Congress.
    In this context, if you build the wall that you promised your voters you would create, it will have been built for people who have not yet tried to cross the border and will not impact families that right now could feel totally displaced.

    Create a national task force to address police brutality

    Those of us who have family who work in the line of duty know that the overwhelming majority of police officers are good people with dangerous jobs. Police work is violent and volatile, and it is wrong to demonize the professionals who sacrifice their lives daily to serve and to protect.
    That said, there are some rogue cops who are literally getting away with murdering unarmed African-Americans, and the black and Latino communities are justifiably hurting and angry.
    Mr. Trump, Rudy Giuliani is a specialist in making communities safer and stronger. It would be impressive for someone like Giuliani to be the one who initiates the dialogue with the African-American community and who, together with minority communities, police leaders and the Justice Department, establishes new standards that improve what is now a very volatile situation.

    Bring people of color into your administration

    America is a diverse nation and you yourself have said that you have a history of employing many people of color. Make your administration one that is inclusive with political outsiders and insiders alike that reflect our diversity and can inform your ideas and policies.
    I am not saying this because it is the politically correct thing to do. I am saying this because it is the right, smart and truly unifying thing to do. It will also boost your party's position at a time when many people of color are convinced Republicans don't want to be inclusive.

    Actively engage Latino and African American media

    It is 100% true that both media and social media organizations from diverse communities vehemently opposed you. Rehashing why and what happened is pointless on both sides of this situation. As a leader in the Hispanic and multicultural media industry I urge you to reach out to us and meet us so we can build a dialogue that is productive and unifying. People like me will probably not see eye to eye with you on everything you'd like us to, but I am convinced that over time we can find a way to agree to disagree.

    Proactively disavow people who hate people of color

    In every community and political party there are always going to be weirdos and haters. In this election, we unfortunately saw those like David Duke and the KKK who openly and stridently embraced your candidacy. We know you did not ask for their endorsement and that in fact you later condemned them, but in the future, please consider doing so more quickly.
    Also think about how you can use your words (or Twitter!) to indicate your support for our nation's diverse communities, including Muslim-Americans. It may seem trivial, but it is not. These are the optics by which our communities of color interpret where you stand in relation to us. Racism is real.

    Don't give up

    Finally, please know that the post-election wounds and fears our communities of color feel are raw and real. Even writing this open letter to you can get me in trouble because many of us right now are blinded by our fears.
    Some protests and even civil disturbances are going to ensue in the coming days or weeks purely based on things you said or did during the campaign. My message to you is to put these ideas into motions, let your actions speak louder than your tweets and persevere.
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    These suggestions are not the be-all and end-all, but I do believe they cover the most burning things you need to tackle to strengthen your connection with our communities of color. If you consider these ideas seriously and prayerfully as the leader you say you want to be, I am certain that you will prevail, building a presidency that could truly be legacy-making.
    Don't give up, because that is the only way you will unite the nation. That is the only way you will "make America great again."
    Wishing you much success,
    Manny Ruiz