Disclaimer: I'm in no way suggesting that we all just "move on" and pretend that everything is okay and that people aren't being oppressed and targeted. I'm simply stating that recovery in all of its forms is essential. Many things need to change for the better. Recovery is the first step in igniting change and progress. It's the first step in fighting back.
While I don't want this article to come off as strictly political because it is relevant to everyday life, I do want to make it clear that my initial reason for writing it was political. Throughout Donald Trump's campaign, he has made it clear that several groups are less than equal to others. Actually, less than equal to one: white Christian men. African Americans, non-Christians of any sort, Jews, Muslims, people of color, women, people with disabilities and so many others will now feel in danger now that Trump has been designated as our future president—and for good reason. Fear is a legitimate response. I won't go into details; that's for a different article entirely. However, I will say that one thing is absolutely necessary for progress and defense: recovery. Recovery should be everyone's top priority right now. Even if you don't feel targeted or unsafe, recovery should still be on your mind. Even if it isn't your own recovery, please encourage others to mourn, grow and recover.
While I definitely don't have the answers to everything, I do have an opinion on (almost) everything, so without further ado, here are what I believe to be our next crucial steps in recovery:
1. We need to mourn.
We need to take time for ourselves. We need to realize that everyone is impacted by this. Everyone is also impacted differently, so we need to react accordingly. We need to stop, breathe, listen, relax, understand and plan. Things can't get better if we aren't well enough to make a change.
2. We need to mature.
We need to grow to the maturity level that knows only love, not hate. When faced with hate, we shouldn't respond with hate. While hate shouldn't be instantly forgiven, we shouldn't lower ourselves to the same level that we're fighting against. We should remain above it and respond only with love, kindness and education.
3. We need to grow stronger, so much stronger.
We need to grow as a community and as a nation. We need to gain the strength to lift up one another not only for the next four years but for the rest of our lives. While no identities should be ignored, we are all Americans at the end of the day. When all other commonalities are lost, one remains. We may disagree, and some may engage in hateful activities, but we must fight against this hate and encourage personal and national growth. Growth leads to progress, and progress leads to love and equality on a much larger scale than what we have now.
4. We need to fight.
We need to come together in solidarity. We need to love and protect one another. We need to stand up for what is right. Running away is not productive. It isn’t an option. While I'm not asking every single person to protest and rally against hate, I am asking that each and every one of you fight in any way that you can. Don't put yourself in unnecessary danger, but do provide support and love to everyone you meet. Simply showing support for your cause is enough.
5. In all that we do, we need to always remember exactly what we are: us.
Not I. Not you. Not them.
Regardless of what you believe, regardless of what you identify as and regardless of how you are viewed by society, it is your duty, our duty, to protect ourselves and each other. Regardless of what happens, we are one. Even if we disagree, we are one.
We are us.
Division and hate cannot win. We can't let that happen.
We must recover, and then we must fight.