Wednesday was hard.
I woke up feeling victimized. I found myself constantly questioning my humanity, and grasping for reasons to stay optimistic. It was a far cry from the jubilance I felt in 2008, when as a 17-year-old girl, I watched the nation elect our first black President. I watched a family confidently strut across the stage in Grant Park here in Chicago, that looked like mine. I was about to go into college, and was incredibly hopeful that I would avoid the struggles that befell my mother, my grandparents, and those that came before them would. I had never been prouder to be an American, and because we had just elected a black man, I figured that all would be lit, and life would be much easier. In the years since, I’ve watched the courts continue to allow the justifed homicides of black men and women with no punishment towards their killers, and have seen little progression of race relations in America. However, I am also well aware that there has been progress in other areas, such as an improving economy, one of the lowest national unemployment rates in decades, universal health care, and legalized same sex marriage. While I realistically didn’t have 100% confidence in Hillary Clinton, I did and still do feel that she was the best representation of a qualified candidate, and would be the best option to continue on where President Obama has left off. If you’d told me that America would be dumb enough to elect Donald Trump, a man with no political experience, and with racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and misogynistic ideologies, I wouldn’t have believed it in a million years. Yet, here we are. As I watched the results come in, I immediately thought of my mother, who has advanced Multiple Sclerosis, and could very possibly lose her healthcare under a Trump presidency.
On Wednesday, despite the literal physical and emotional pain I felt, I went to work. Throughout my time there, I found commonality and refuge in people who felt as I did, and felt disturbed by people who didn’t. Throughout the course of the day, I went through a gamut of emotions; any one of them that I could have chosen to encapsulate my feelings moving forward. They ranged from anger, to disappointment, hatred, despair, betrayal, and most overwhelmingly, fear. There are some people out here who have really shown their true colors because of this election. They’ve demonstrated a lack of human regard for minorities in favor of excess and selfishness. This isn’t a generalization of the entirety of Donald Trump’s supporters, rather a depiction of a good majority of them. As tempting as it would be to use the rest of this article to express how I feel towards Donald Trump and his supporter, I won’t. Too much energy has been given to them. My focus, is on people like me, my fellow marginalized people who have been flagrantly and unabashedly told that they are unwanted here, but will dig their feet firmly in this American soil and reaffirm their presence. So while there were so many negative emotions that I am struggling to harness in the wake of this week, the one that I am actively choosing to utilize going forward, is love. Not love for this country, but love for those who struggle like I do.
So whether you pray five times a day to the east, or were told that you could pray the gay away, choose love.
Whether your voice is loud, and your mind is sharp, but you were betrayed by your own body, choose love.
Whether you came here in search of a better life, but were treated with intolerance , and felt unwelcome, I urge you to choose love.
And to my brothers and sisters who are constantly finding themselves as trending topics that change, but with stories that remain the same, driving in cars with the constant glare of red and blue in your rear view mirrors, and the constant reminder of oppression lurking at every corner, I urge you to choose love.
So mourn. Be sad. Be angry. Allow yourself to feel all of the emotions that you’re feeling. Hug your babies and let them know it’s okay to be afraid. But eventually, press on. It’s what we do best.
In the words of the incomparable Kendrick Lamar, we gon’ be alright.