Why are people afraid?
For me, the single most reason for fear is that the people in power want people to be afraid. There's a smugness that communicates "If you're afraid, you should be." "You" must be doing something wrong. "We" decide what's right and wrong and "You" need to just shut up.
The tone of those now in power is that the answers all lie in a particular order of things based on a very narrow view of the world and everyone's place in it. That order lacks empathy. It's grounded in power and control and a central theme of "survival of the fittest".
We need only look to the root from which this grew to gain an understanding of what is now growing. This grew from a question of legitimacy of being an "actual" American. My non-white friends have very good reason to feel afraid. It's not because they have done anything wrong. It's because a large portion of our population believes it's acceptable, even patriotic, to question their legitimacy. The fear is that their freedoms, and sense of well being, will be limited.
Religious beliefs are now front and center. Those who hold different beliefs than those in power now fear that their freedoms will be limited. That spans a wide spectrum of beliefs revolving around a woman's right to choose what happens to her body, actual practice of your religion, marriage equality and more. The fear is that their freedoms and sense of well being will be limited.
Smugly, some who read this will say, "Good! It's about time." Obviously, they aren't in either of the categories above. They cannot sympathize or empathize with anyone in those categories. That saddens me - for both them and those with whom they are not connected. I know they sincerely believe that they are right and doing these things will make their world better. Many also believe the rest of us will be better off if we just get in line.
To those who hold these fears, I say be strong. Stand together in peace. Rest in the knowledge that you are not alone. Don't let fear and anger grow. Feed your spirit with inspiration and wisdom of those who have faced similar odds. Seek out and grow your network of sympathizers and empathizers. They are all around you. Speak of, act on, a path of hope. The pendulum always swings back.