In the aftermath of the election results, what many of us are feeling is far beyond any words that I can type on this screen. However, we are hoping that the words we share here will possibly offer you some comfort and solace. Most importantly, please take from this that your feelings are valid, and during this time, the best way to honor these feelings is to acknowledge them, and in turn, treat yourself kindly. Do what makes you happy with the people who make you happy. On that note, read on to hear some beautiful words of wisdom on the topic from another wonderful Peer Educator, Miriam!
BEFORE WE HEAL
By Miriam Medina
Before we heal; before we take a step forward; before we take action, it is important to ground ourselves. Grounding, as a practice, encompasses remembering, reflecting, and positioning ourselves in our roots, in our circumstances (on this campus and at home), in our ideologies and our perspectives. It involves consciously realizing who we are, what we represent, what our present is, and how we will move forward.
In the midst of this post-election vibe on campus, students that belong to marginalized groups, and their allies, have taken the initiative to organize and voice our resistance against the racist, xenophobic, transphobic, and sexist ideologies for which our newly elected president stands for. Students that identify within these marginalized groups and their allies are supporting one another through various events: events geared towards healing, events geared towards protest, events geared towards unity and solidarity. Amidst this though, historically marginalized groups are being discriminated against and attacked through hate crimes and racial slurs, here on campus, in K-12 schools, and in our cities. With this said, realizing our reality, is a form of “grounding”, and can also be considered our first step towards progress.
It appears that everyone is on different levels of “realizing our reality”, some are immobilized fear while others are propelled to take the streets; some feel glued to their bedsheets without the motivation to go to classes while others need our classes and friends to distract us from the storm. With that said, all levels of coping are valid and necessary, in order to move forward. For those of us that are feeling vulnerable, scared, and disappointed, I encourage you to find empowerment. Find empowerment through music, through poetry, through past movements: the civil rights movement, the Chicano movement, Feminist movements, as well as movements representing Middle Eastern communities. Personally, I find empowerment in rap music. “Sacar La Voz”, by Ana Tijoux, speaks of overcoming obstacles of poverty, fatigue, hopelessness and disempowerment by freeing ourselves from those oppressive ideologies that keep us chained down, taking deep breaths to release that negative energy, and using our voices to write and tell our own stories. “Keep Ya Head Up”, by 2pac, celebrates the beauty of women, and he questions motives around oppressing women. As well, the speaker in Lucille Clifton’s poem, “won’t you celebrate with me”, honors resilience in circumstances of adversity, as the speaker rejoices:
With me that everyday
Something has tried to kill me
And has failed.
These are just examples in which we can find healing in artistic expression. I hope this helps ya’ll think through and cope with the rest of this quarter and year as well. Lastly, for those who have lingering feelings of anger or hatred, remember that these emotions are natural; however, they are only helpful to an extent. Try to channel these emotions with healthy practices—practices that are focused on collaborating, forming unity and solidarity with targeted communities and their allies.