Today I remembered how I felt the day I was able to cast my vote for #Hillary. It was surreal, it was ephemeral, and the feelings of pride and confidence escaped like air through a gaping hole of despair. It took me a few days to remember the way it felt to walk into my polling station and to mark my seal of approval on the ballot, inserting my ballot into the box I had taken a mental picture: I wanted to be able to remember just how my vote looked on its way to electing our first female president. I wanted to remember the way my fingers felt as they released that vote into the box, and how thrilling it felt to watch as my vote made an impact on the world around us. For me, it wasn’t so much about Hillary’s gender as her proof of hope for a truly stronger America through policy. Everything she said she believed and I believed in her. Her cause was one that included the forgotten, and brought to light modes of inequality that she would not stand for. So, now that she is not our #PresidentElect, where do we go from here?
It’s strange to think about the calm and resolve that came from the last 8 years under Obama and that we will have to work very hard to remember that exact feeling because the road ahead of us will be one that consumes what little space we have left for new memories and, perhaps, even takes over the old ones. As I combed for the voices of Social and Racial Advocates I found exactly what we need to stand up against:
These images come from just one day after the election. The stories that poured over the web brought forth a heart wrenching suffocation in my throat that sunk deep into my lungs. I felt paralyzed and I felt powerless, but I am absolutely neither. I wanted to transport myself to Philadelphia and outside this store to let our voice be heard so that no one would walk by and think for a second that this was remotely acceptable. If only it stopped with just one instance of racism, with just one hate crime, with just one assault, that even one has happened should incense you. It should burn, and you should take action because that feeling is your ethical thermometer telling you that you need to do something to stop any instance of hate. The hate is overflowing- Racism and Hate are seeping through to our children. Racism is in our schools. The children are chanting and screaming with hate filled voices, they are writing unimaginable white pride rhetoric on the walls. And it doesn’t stop there:
Women are experiencing violence in the name of #Trump everywhere, in vile and soul crushing ways. It feels like blatant and overt betrayal to everything I have ever stood for or relied upon when dealing with biases in everyday life; but hatred has been boiling, hidden beneath the surface for too long: Women turned on women, and they proved that racism is an easier sell than acceptance. I watched the instances of hate against Muslims sky rocket, women’s hijab’s were being torn from their heads, or worse yet they were assaulted and shamed beyond belief. Every person who is different has become a target. I was worried, I was scared, but I was positive that this was wrong. The hatred I was seeing everywhere over the last 4 days will never divide us. We must commit to a position and commit until we are wounded, drained of every ounce of energy, and defend our brothers and sisters. We must appeal to our own inner beliefs in right and wrong and speak up when we see anything that challenges those beliefs: because for every one of us who is able to fight there are many more who cannot. There are too many people who are too wounded, and already cast aside by the people they experience as society: It’s time, we must stand up for them.
These stories are real. They are happening. They are wrong. I am willing to speak up and stand up for the people whose voices have been stolen. I am willing to speak. I will help you take back your pride and stand together against whatever may come.
**Credit to @ShaunKing for his work that I have referenced here
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