Days after the 2016 presidential election, Americans are trying to figure out what a Trump future holds.

With Donald Trump as President-Elect, we are grappling with emotions of disbelief, anger, and disappointment. How do we move forward?

I had to take a day to digest what had just happened this election: to regroup mentally, talk with family and close friends, and breathe. I didn’t read all the think-pieces trying to dissect how Trump won, listen to the somber podcasts or check social media on Wednesday. The night was taxing enough on my mind and my heart. On Tuesday I signed off Twitter with this note:

I let myself feel all the emotions on Wednesday to the soothing music. Solange’s new album, “Seat at the Table”, Childish Gambino’s “Kauai” and Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” helped me push on. My work still had to get done, even if I was in no mood to do it. Instead of getting angry and lashing out on social media, I took the time to breathe and reflect.

The overwhelming reality is that America chose Donald Trump via electoral college. He won states that in the recent presidential elections went to a Democrat, like my home state of Michigan, which tipped the scales in his favor. Was I dismayed that Michigan had the nation on the edge of its seat? Yeah. Was I surprised he won it by a small margin? Unfortunately, no. The state has had a struggling job market, decaying infrastructure, and has been trending conservative for a few years now with a Republican governor, who is not unlike Trump: a businessman who held no prior public office. Let the Flint water crisis be a potential prophecy of how running a business and government are two different animals. But people were frustrated. They voiced that with their vote — or lack thereof.

It’s extremely concerning for us Americans who fell into one (or more) of the groups Trump had disparaged over his campaign. How am I supposed to feel, as a Muslim, when he had said he would “ban all Muslims” from coming to the US? How am I supposed to feel about his complete lack of respect for women while holding the highest office in the land? And in having friends and colleagues who are Black, Latinx, LGBTQ, AAPI, Native American, and/or immigrants, how am I supposed to feel about their safety and livelihoods going forward? After all that he had said, of course we are scared! It’s a fear that hearkens back to the era of Jim Crow, internment camps, and abject racism. We fear for ourselves and the children who could grow up in this environment.

Protests have continued in cities like Chicago, LA, Portland, Washington DC, NYC, and Milwaukee. The turnout is relatively young, with a good amount of high school age students too young to have voted. As a part of an even more progressive and diverse generation, they are making their voices heard the way they can: peaceful protests and walkouts.

So how do we continue to process this new reality? I’m still keeping my optimism: we have work to do. We have to keep raising our voices to injustices: police brutality, misogyny, and prejudice. We need to support those who will bring those concerns to the table: senators, representatives, non-profit organizations, and movement leaders. Change does not happen swiftly; it takes time and dedication. We need to educate those around us — knowledge is indeed power. Have calm, intellectual discourse with people who have opposing views. Enlighten those who may not have had the exposure. When we read, listen and learn, we erode ignorance.

Do not become weary, friends. We have a long road ahead, but we will continue the path laid by those who fought before us to ensure a better life for those after us.

Comments

comments