I did not vote for Donald Trump nor was I #WithHer. None of the American presidential candidates convinced me that my social mobility was near the top of their list of priorities. I’m neither disappointed nor pleased by the results of this election because my life hasn’t changed.
There are some who believe that my life will get worse because of President-elect Donald Trump and his supporters, and I don’t see it that way. I am still black, queer, Christian, transgender and from a lower socioeconomic background. All the statistics about and realities facing people living in my social locations are still the same. I still face the same dangers and challenges, and I still navigate the same reality.
Those of us who reside on the margins of society will continue to be marginalized until the leadership and landscape of American society dramatically shifts. And while none of the candidates moved me, I am motivated by the fact that over the next decade, the American workforce and mainstream culture will become increasingly dominated by people of color, Millennials, and those who are presently marginalized.
As the next generation of leadership rises to govern our society, what decisions, experiences, practices, and policies will shape the America we inherit?
While we wait to see what’s in store for our nation, there’s work to be done…
Let us watch what our leaders and elected officials do and hold them accountable for their actions. Whether the election turned out in our favor or not, our votes counted and still count.
Let us listen to our friends, neighbors, and family members—really listen to them. It can no longer be acceptable or commonplace to brush off sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or xenophobic comments and behaviors. When we witness human denigration, no matter how subtle, we are the ones who must call it out by calling people in and holding one another to a higher standard.
Let us look within and discern how we are most inspired to show up in the world. For those upset by the results of the election, we can all do our part in creating a thriving society.
Let us build bridges and relationships with as many people as possible. A nation divided and a people fractured and left isolated in their pain is not what’s needed to perpetuate peacefulness, unity and well-being.
Let us reject fear and the temptation to demonize the “other”. The media, the entertainment industry, and the social systems that control the American narrative must be influenced by perspectives, voices and leadership representative of all Americans—women, men, nonbinary folks, LGBTQ people, heterosexual people, republicans, democrats, nonpartisan voters, people of differing mental and physical abilities, people of faith, atheists, the spiritual-but-not-religious, people of color, and people of Euro/Caucasian descent.
We must be mindful of our diverse perspectives and how these perspectives condition our responses.
There will be people who are empowered to organize strategic responses to the presidency of Donald Trump that impact communities, policies, and governance.
Our understanding of nationalism will be critiqued as people become increasingly more comfortable publicly voicing their opinions and feelings of hostility, fear, dissent, or apathy towards American systems and other Americans.
Many will turn to faith leaders for direction and many will embrace intentional community spaces for healing and support.
Our conversations with neighbors, family members and friends will be filtered through the realization that perhaps we don’t know each other as well as we thought we did.
The silent majority who elected Donald Trump has the world’s attention and now needs to be heard. They cast their vote believing that somehow the quality of their own lives would improve.
How will all our lives improve?
Those who voted for Donald Trump aren’t anti-American, and many marginalized Americans interpret a vote for Trump as a vote against them and their well-being. And while those who are disenfranchised would have been disenfranchised had the results of the election been different, these Americans also need to be heard.
It’s important for every American to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.
It’s important for every American to have an opportunity to thrive.
It’s important that the inalienable rights of every American are protected.
Our right to vote was exercised this week and while many are devastated, there are many who are encouraged.
We are encouraged to perpetuate a dominant narrative that prioritizes the safety and advancement of all Americans—women, men, nonbinary folks, LGBTQ people, heterosexual people, republicans, democrats, nonpartisan voters, people of differing mental and physical abilities, people of faith, atheists, the spiritual-but-not-religious, people of color, and people of Euro/Caucasian descent.
We are encouraged to work for systems and policies that eliminate poverty and systemic marginalization.
We are encouraged to listen to the stories and experiences of the people around us instead of presuming to already know them.
We are encouraged to add our own stories and experiences to the American social narrative.
We are encouraged to build bridges across communities of difference.
We are encouraged to hold our leaders accountable for the work they’re committed to on our behalf.
We are encouraged to dismantle any system which oppresses or undermines progress.
We are encouraged to build a more just and generous America.