Keeping the Torch Aflame
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Politics and Activism

Keeping the Torch Aflame

The Aftermath of the 2016 Election

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Keeping the Torch Aflame
www.alternativesjournal.ca

On November 9, 2016, we woke up in a new America.

We woke up in an America much less equal and much less brave.

We woke up in an America where value is being clearly placed on some over others. We woke up in an America where safety is not guaranteed to everyone, where intrinsic human value is not given to everyone, where fear prevailed.

At its very core, this new reality comes down to basic humanity and intrinsic human value – the very sanctity this country was meant to be founded upon but has been so twisted and shortsighted that we are unrecognizable as the place of refuge and safety we were always meant to be.

This America is no America of ours. This America, though, is not where our America ends.

We are still here. Our voices are still powerful. We will want to run and hide but we don’t get to. We don’t get to give up – we never have before, so we cannot now. The fight continues.

We continue to fight because lives will be valued less. We cannot let this happen. New wounds are forming; but we will patch them.

Racism.

Sexism.

Homophobia.

Transphobia.

Islamophobia.

Xenophobia.

These are not values that we can condone. These are not realities that we can accept. These are not realities we can sit idly by and watch become cemented into law.

We are all refugees, who have reached across waters to the arms of Lady Liberty to set us free and hold us in star-spangled safety. Our voices are one and the same: The United States of America was never meant to be a land of oppression, but we lost sight right at the beginning. This country was built on the backs of people who were deemed less than human and never asked to come here, then given 3/5 of humanity as if it was a gift. Women and people of color were sold as property. We fought tooth and nail for what we have; but this isn’t over. It never ended. We have not faced it head on. We cannot look past our history as if it never happened when we see it repeating itself with our own eyes. We must face it.

We cannot dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools. We must rebuild. Our communities will rebuild and we will create new tools. We have seen this on November 9th, 2016, we have seen it in the following days, and we will continue to see it everyday for the next presidential term. We must rebuild.

We’ve been doing the same thing over and over again for centuries. We silence those who speak out about their marginalization because rather than face it head on, it’s easier to will it away. This is privilege. But those of us who are marginalized have had to fight daily for rights that were always guaranteed to others, and the going has always been tough.

But when has this stopped us before?

Those fighting to keep us down have the precedent behind them, and this is what the 2016 election has shown us. It’s easy to keep the ball rolling, especially as a majority no matter how “silent” they feel they are. But it is hard to gain momentum, especially as the majority works daily to shove our voices back down our throats.

But we will. Our momentum is here, ready and waiting to be activated. We are not weak.

In the hours and days following the election, I found myself within a community filled with outpourings of love for each other. I found myself talking to everyone, wishing peace upon everyone, crying with everyone, wishing safety upon everyone. My professors sent messages of love and hope to us, offering spaces of healing and safety in a world whose space is becoming more full of fear by the minute. In class, we discussed inequality. I am endlessly grateful for the incredible people I am lucky enough to learn from day in and day out. Others are not so lucky. We must remember this.

I have never been prouder to be part of the community I am in. When we saw each other, eye contact was all we needed to know. Discussions with my colleagues and professors brought me through. One conversation has stuck with me, and will always be with me:

We need education, we need academia, and we need people to pursue social justice and human rights - now more than ever. We need social scientists to show us where we are, what is happening, and where to go. We need critical thinkers and empathetic, loving people to pull us through. Luckily, that is just who we are and who we have always been. This is a call to action.

We are united in these states, and this unification is what will drive us forward. We are united in love and in solidarity. We will lift each other up.

We will pick up the torch and fight. Just like we always have. Just like we always will. Because this is not the end. It has never been the end. We will be watching, we will be supporting, we will be acting. We will hold our sorrow and anger in our hearts and use it as fire to fuel our activism because the world needs us now more than ever. We will march on.

Our doors must remain open. Our hearts must remain full of love and hope. Our torch has never burned brighter.

To those most greatly affected by this cultural shift: I will never stop supporting you. We will never stop fighting. Be safe. We will heal and grow collectively into something bigger. Something greater. Something stronger.

We will create something that looks a lot more like love. The sun will rise.

This fight is not over. We are ready to work.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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