President Barack Obama walks out to the Rose Garden at the White House on April 2, 2015. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

This op-ed is co-signed by 149 African Americans who served in the Obama administration.

This post has been updated.

We’ve heard this before. Go back where you came from. Go back to Africa. And now, “send her back.” Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online. They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.

As 149 African Americans who served in the last administration, we witnessed firsthand the relentless attacks on the legitimacy of President Barack Obama and his family from our front-row seats to America’s first black presidency. Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality, to say the least. But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these.

We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not. There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined.

We are proud descendants of immigrants, refugees and the enslaved Africans who built this country while enduring the horrors of its original sin. We stand on the soil they tilled, and march in the streets they helped to pave. We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed. We decry voter suppression. We demand equitable access to health care, housing, quality schools and employment. We welcome new Americans with dignity and open arms. And we will never stop fighting for the overhaul of a criminal-justice system with racist foundations.

We come from Minnesota and Michigan. The Bronx and Baton Rouge. Florida and Philadelphia. Cleveland and the Carolinas. Atlanta and Nevada. Oak-town and the Chi. We understand our role in this democracy, and respect the promise of a nation built by, for and of immigrants. We are part of that tradition, and have the strength to both respect our ancestors from faraway lands and the country we all call home.

Our love of country lives in these demands, and our commitment to use our voices and our energy to build a more perfect union. We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. We call on local, state and congressional officials, as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy, through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit. We will continue to support candidates for local, state and federal office who add more diverse representation to the dialogue and those who understand the importance of such diversity when policymaking here in our country and around the world. We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions.

The statesman Frederick Douglass warned, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” This nation has neither grappled with nor healed from the horrors of its origins. It is time to advance that healing process now through our justice, economic, health and political systems.

Expect to hear more from us. We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.

Saba Abebe, former special assistant, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Energy Department

Tsehaynesh Abebe, former adviser, U.S. Agency for International Development

David Adeleye, former policy specialist, White House

Bunmi Akinnusotu, former special assistant, Office of Land and Emergency Management, Environmental Protection Agency

Trista Allen, former senior adviser to the regional administrator, General Services Administration

Maria Anderson, former operations assistant, White House

Karen Andre, former White House liaison, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Caya Lewis Atkins, former counselor for science and public health, Department of Health and Human Services

Roy L. Austin Jr., former deputy assistant to the president, White House Domestic Policy Council

Kevin Bailey, former special assistant, White House; senior policy adviser, Treasury Department

Jumoke Balogun, former adviser to the secretary, Labor Department

Diana Banks, former deputy assistant secretary, Defense Department

Desiree N. Barnes, former adviser to the press secretary, White House

Kevin F. Beckford, former special adviser, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Alaina Beverly, former associate director, Office of Urban Affairs, White House

Saba Bireda, former senior counsel, Office for Civil Rights, Education Department

Vincent H. Bish Jr., former special assistant to the assistant secretary of strategic program management, Department of Health and Human Services

Michael Blake, former director for African American, minority and women business enterprises and county and statewide elected officials, White House

Tenicka Boyd, former special assistant, Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Education Department

Tanya Bradsher, former assistant secretary for public affairs, Department of Homeland Security

Stacey Brayboy, former chief of staff, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Agriculture Department

Allyn Brooks-LaSure, former deputy associate administrator for external affairs, Environmental Protection Agency

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, former director of coverage policy, Office of Health Reform, Department of Health and Human Services

Quincy K. Brown, former senior policy adviser, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Taylor Campbell, former director of correspondence systems innovation, White House

Crystal Carson, former chief of staff to the director of communications, White House

Genger Charles, former general deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Housing, Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Glorie Chiza, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

Sarah Haile Coombs, special assistant, Department of Health and Human Services

Michael Cox, former special assistant to the assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs, Commerce Department

Adria Crutchfield, former director of external affairs, Federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Joiselle Cunningham, former special adviser, Office of the Secretary, Education Department

Charlotte Flemmings Curtis, former special adviser for White House initiatives, Corporation for National and Community Service

Kareem Dale, former special assistant to the president for disability policy, White House

Ashlee Davis, former White House liaison, Agriculture Department

Marco A. Davis, former deputy director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Russella L. Davis-Rogers, former chief of staff, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Department of Education

Tequia Hicks Delgado, former senior adviser for congressional engagement and legislative relations, Office of Legislative Affairs, White House

Kalisha Dessources Figures, former policy adviser, White House Council on Women and Girls

Leek Deng, former special assistant, Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development

Tene Dolphin, former chief of staff, Economic Development Administration, Commerce Department

Monique Dorsainvil, former deputy chief of staff, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

Joshua DuBois, former executive director, Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; former special assistant to the president, White House

Dru Ealons, former director, Office of Public Engagement, Environmental Protection Agency

Rosemary Enobakhare, former deputy associate administrator for public engagement and environmental education, Environmental Protection Agency

Karen Evans, former assistant director and policy adviser, Office of Cabinet Affairs, White House

Clarence J. Fluker, former deputy associate director for national parks and youth engagement, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Heather Foster, former public engagement adviser and director of African American affairs, White House

Kalina Francis, former special adviser, Office of Public Affairs, Treasury Department

Matthew “Van” Buren Freeman, former senior adviser, Minority Business Development Agency, Commerce Department

Cameron French, former deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Jocelyn Frye, former deputy assistant to the president and director of policy and special projects for the first lady, White House

Bernard Fulton, former deputy assistant secretary for congressional relations, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Stephanie Gaither, former confidential assistant to the deputy director, Office of Management and Budget, White House

Demetria A. Gallagher, former senior adviser for policy and inclusive innovation, Commerce Department

Lateisha Garrett, former White House liaison, National Endowment for the Humanities

W. Cyrus Garrett, former special adviser to the director of counternarcotics enforcement, Department of Homeland Security

Bishop M. Garrison, former science and technology directorate adviser, Department of Homeland Security

Lisa Gelobter, former chief digital service officer, Education Department

A’shanti F. Gholar, former special assistant to the secretary, Labor Department

Jay R. Gilliam, former special assistant, U.S. Agency for International Development

Artealia Gilliard, former deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, Transportation Department

Brenda Girton-Mitchell, former director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Education Department

Jason Green, former associate counsel and special assistant to the president, White House

Corey Arnez Griffin, former associate director, Peace Corps

Kyla F. Griffith, former special adviser to the secretary, Commerce Department

Simone L. Hardeman-Jones, former deputy assistant secretary, Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs, Education Department

Thamar Harrigan, former senior intergovernmental relations adviser, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Dalen Harris, former director, Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, Office of National Drug Control Policy, White House

Khalilah M. Harris, former deputy director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans; former senior adviser, Office of Personnel Management

Adam Hodge, former deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, Treasury Department

Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser, White House

Will Yemi Jawando, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement, White House

Karine Jean-Pierre, former northeast political director, Office of Political Affairs, White House

A. Jenkins, former director, Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Commerce Department

Adora Jenkins, former press secretary, Justice Department; former deputy associate administrator for external affairs, Environmental Protection Agency

W. Nate Jenkins, former chief of staff and senior adviser to the budget director, Office of Management and Budget, White House

David J. Johns, former executive director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans

Brent Johnson, former special adviser to the secretary, Commerce Department

Broderick Johnson, former White House assistant to the president and Cabinet secretary for My Brother’s Keeper Task Force

Carmen Daniels Jones, former director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Agriculture Department

Gregory K. Joseph II, former special assistant, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Energy Department

Jamia Jowers, former special assistant, National Security Council

Charmion N. Kinder, former associate, Press Office of the First Lady, White House; former assistant press secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Elise Nelson Leary, former international affairs adviser, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Kimberlyn Leary, former adviser, White House Council on Women and Girls

Daniella Gibbs Léger, former special assistant to the president and director of message events, White House

Georgette Lewis, former policy adviser, Department of Health and Human Services

Kevin Lewis, former director of African American media, White House; former principal deputy director of public affairs, Justice Department

Catherine E. Lhamon, former assistant secretary for civil rights, Education Department

Tiffani Long, former special adviser, Economic Development Administration

Latifa Lyles, former director, Women’s Bureau, Labor Department

Brenda Mallory, former general counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Dominique Mann, former media affairs manager, White House

Shelly Marc, former policy adviser, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

Tyra A. Mariani, former chief of staff to the deputy secretary, Education Department

Lawrence Mason III, former domestic policy analyst, Office of Presidential Correspondence, White House

Dexter L. McCoy, former special assistant, Office of the Secretary, Education Department

Matthew McGuire, former U.S. executive director, The World Bank Group

Tyrik McKeiver, former senior adviser, State Department

Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, former assistant to the administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Solianna Meaza, former special assistant to associate administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Mahlet Mesfin, former assistant director for international science and technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Ricardo Michel, former director, Center for Transformational Partnerships, U.S. Agency for International Development Global Development Lab

Paul Monteiro, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement, White House

Jesse Moore, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement, White House

Shannon Myricks, former specialist, Office of Management and Administration Information Services, White House

Melanie Newman, former director of public affairs, Justice Department

Fatima Noor, former policy assistant, Domestic Policy Council

Bianca Oden, former deputy chief of staff, Agriculture Department

Funmi Olorunnipa, former ethics counsel, White House Counsel’s Office

Elizabeth Ogunwo, former White House liaison, Peace Corps

Stephanie Sprow Owens, former deputy director, Reach Higher, Education Department

Denise L. Pease, former regional administrator of the northeast and Caribbean region, General Services Administration

Danielle Perry, former special adviser to the assistant secretary, Agriculture Department

Allison C. Pulliam, former special assistant, Office of Presidential Personnel, White House

Colby Redmond, former advance specialist, Office of the Secretary, Commerce Department

Derrick Robinson, former researcher, Office of Communications, White House

Lynn M. Ross, former deputy assistant secretary for policy development, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Sarah Rutherford, former press and media operations assistant, White House

Alexander Sewell, former special assistant, Export-Import Bank

Michael Smith, former special assistant to the president and senior director of Cabinet affairs for My Brother’s Keeper, White House

Russell F. Smith, former deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce Department

Jackeline Stewart, former press secretary, General Services Administration

Angela Tennison, former leadership development director, Education Department

Kenny Thompson Jr., former special assistant to the president and director of message events to the vice president, White House

Ivory A. Toldson, former executive director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Fred Tombar, former senior adviser to the secretary for disaster recovery, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Christopher R. Upperman, former assistant administrator for public engagement, Small Business Administration

Malik Walker, former senior adviser for congressional and legislative affairs, Office of Personnel Management

Jason R.L. Wallace, former director of scheduling and advance, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Myesha Ward, former assistant U.S. trade representative for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement

Clarence Wardell III, former presidential innovation fellow

Benjamin E. Webb, former executive director of policy and planning, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

C’Reda J. Weeden, former executive secretary, Department of Health and Human Services

Tonia Wellons, former associate director, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Peace Corps

Antonio White, former senior adviser, Treasury Department

Monae White, former special projects manager, Education Department

Aketa Marie Williams, former director of strategic communications, Office of the Undersecretary, Education Department

Jonta Williams, former adviser to the assistant administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development

Jessica Wilson, former special assistant, Office of Policy, Department of Homeland Security

Taj Wilson, former deputy associate counsel, White House

Candace Wint, former director of advance, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Brent C. Woolfork, former managing director, Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Tarrah Cooper Wright, former special assistant to the secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Ursula Wright, former associate assistant deputy secretary, Education Department

Carl Young, former adviser and assistant, Office of Management and Budget, White House

Stephanie Young, former senior adviser, Office of Public Engagement, White House

David N. Zikusoka, former senior adviser for weapons of mass destruction and nonproliferation, Office of the Vice President, White House