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On Wednesday, November 9, UCLA students were obliged to attend classes amid the emotional aftermath of one of the most traumatizing events in recent U.S. history. On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will become the President of the United States of America. Dear God help us all.
It feels like a waste of time to parse, yet again, all of the views and actions that make this man unfit to lead; to list, yet again, all of the people he has plowed through, stepped on, and threatened in his horrific ascent. We already know that a Trump presidency threatens undocumented immigrants, people of color, women, those who practice Islam, and the LGBTQ community. Everybody knows it. Those who voted for him did so either because of his hatred, or despite it. It’s hard to know which is worse.
Fourth year African-American Studies major Taylor Alford and fifth-year Civil Engineering major Winston Boyce reflected the views of many black students on campus today when they expressed “outrage, surprise, disappointment, and shock” at the election results. Boyce elaborated, “People treated it as business as usual. But shit ain’t the same.”
First year student Princess Amugo expressed fear. “I’m just so afraid for our people of color and our intersections. I just wish for everyone to stick together. We have to go against everything that man stands for.”
Afrikan Student Union Representative Alicia Frison highlighted the larger issue of institutional anti-black racism while emphasizing the need for energy and engagement moving forward:
“I was not dependent upon the election’s outcome, because regardless of who was elected, our oppressor would be the same…Though this appears to be a dark, hopeless moment, it is merely just that, a moment here to remind us of our goal: liberation, not an election…before we consume ourselves in rage and mobilize, lets refocus that energy towards our goal. I look forward to coming together and unifying as a community. For now, let’s heal and get ready to continue the work.”
For now, the only way we can move is against: against racism, nativism, sexism, all the other “isms” that liberals can no longer pretend exist only in the shadowy periphery of this nation’s collective identity. It may be difficult to know right now what that movement looks like, but we must lean on each other to fight discouragement and fulfill our collective responsibility to defy and eventually dismantle the systems of hatred that have enabled Trump’s victory.
“We use Assatta Shakur’s chant often in organizing spaces,” Frison explained, “but I think understanding its meaning is vital in coping with the election results. ‘It is our duty to fight, it is our duty to win, we have nothing to lose but our chains.’ Our goal is liberation, and that comes through empowerment.”