When I found out Donald Trump was the president-elect, I couldn't move. I couldn't sleep. I was filled with so much anger, sadness, and confusion.
I am a very optimistic person. I believe that people deserve the benefit of the doubt and that everyone has good in them. So that's why I was so surprised when this election unfolded and I discovered that the country I adored and the people I believed in, hated me. This feeling was indescribable.
I know people voted for Trump for very specific reasons that don't include his racist, homophobic, and xenophobic views, but it's very hard for me to believe that someone could support a man who is all of these things without feeling the same way. Condoning or permitting racism, homophobia and xenophobia is just as bad as being the person perpetuating the ideas.
So with this in mind, I watched many of the people I knew celebrate his win and I felt sick.
How could people I cared so deeply about not care enough about me to think of me and people like me when voting in this election? How could they allow such a bigot to run this country for four years just because they wanted America to be "great again?"
All of these questions and the reality of who really cared about me turned my heart black. I was extremely angry and I felt hate in my heart for all the people that voted the way they did.
Waking up was hard. I didn't know how to go about living normally for a couple of hours. I was running on four hours of sleep and a heavy heart, but around 2 o'clock I found solace in Makuu, the black cultural center on Penn's campus.
They were hosting a conversation and a safe space for students to vent about how the election made them feel. Once I walked down those stairs and saw the number of people sitting around, eating, and chatting, I felt better automatically. I knew I wasn't the only one feeling the way I was and that everyone was there because they too were angry, sad and disappointed. I saw people hugging other people and just asking each other if they were okay, and I felt some peace.
This peace allowed me to get through the rest of my classes. Then around 6pm, I went to a solidarity walk around Penn's campus. It was a way to show each other, Penn, and the world that Trump's presidency does not define Penn's minority population and neither does it defeat us. It was an amazing and refreshing experience. Walking together with people who felt the way I did, having people honk in support of us, and even having the rain falling down on us was so refreshing and reassuring. It showed me I wasn't alone, and I would never be.
Trump being elected made me feel small and that my opinion and vote didn't matter. It made me feel like a true minority in this country-- someone they don't care about. But Makuu, Group Quisqueyano, Penn's Black Student League, and Black Wharton all helped reassure me of my worth at this university and in this country. I want to thank all of them and I want to make sure every person of color, Muslim and/or member of the LGBTQ+ community knows that this election is not the end of us. We are not defeated.
I want all Trump supporters to know that I do not forgive you for making me feel small yet. Maybe eventually I will, but as of right now, you tried to invalidate my feelings by telling me that I'm overreacting. You tried to silence me and make me feel stupid for feeling as I do. I know Trump will be your president, but he is not mine. I won't respect him or honor him until he earns it and the same goes for you.