I have tried really hard to find a way to articulate exactly how I feel about the outcome of this election. I have tried to find words to really express the gravity of my grief, of the void that now exists within me because of this. I know not many understand how this feels—this unbearable, confusing pain. But there are some who do understand and share my pain. If you are one of those people, this is for you.
Yesterday I acknowledged that I was privileged to grow up during the eight years of the Obama administration—in a world where a person of color was commander-in-chief. Yesterday I acknowledged my privilege and feared for the future. Today was different.
Today I woke up to a country that doesn’t want me because I am different. The Latino community has been called many names in the past few months, and we’ve learned to take ownership of them—a la “Bad Hombres.” Yesterday, however, Puerto Ricans were called "invaders."
Today I remembered that history is an option for some people. I remembered that the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico in July of 1898.
Today someone told me that I have to get over myself because I’m a U.S. citizen and I have nothing to fear because of that. I fail to understand the validity of this argument. Yes, I’m a U.S. citizen, but that does not mean that I am equal and/or valid in the eyes of many. Last night proved that I will never be as equal as I was told I could be, as I was taught I was.
Today I saw a group of High School students of color on a tour of campus, and my heart ached for them. I wondered what they were feeling, if somehow my despair is universal. I wondered what they must feel about becoming adults in a world like this.
Today I am aching
I am aching for my friends who are undocumented immigrants
I am aching for their families
I am aching for my family
I am aching for Puerto Rico's future
I am aching for all children of color
I am aching for the LGBTQ+ community
I am aching for women in a sexist world
I am aching for Muslims that now have to hide
I am aching for the disabled
I am aching for everyone who has ever been treated poorly because they are different
Today I realized I am angry. I am angry that we took so many steps forward (like with DACA and same-sex marriage) only to take huge leaps backwards. I am angry that people refuse to step away from themselves and see the world through the eyes of others—to acknowledge that things that aren’t part of their spaces are valid and real. I am angry that we are becoming a more divisive country because of these things.
Today I realized that this election was never about Trump or Hillary for me. This election was about the values and beliefs that we stand for as a nation—the nation that I was always told would accept me as I am. Go ahead and call me names, I’ve heard it all. Through this grief, I know I am growing.
Today we are all growing.
Today I am scared. I don't know what's going to happen in the next four years, where we'll be when we pass the storm.
Today I realize that I am strong. My brown skin was made for more than the sun—it was made to stand hurt and scars.
Today I remember that I am part of a community. I am surrounded by incredible and inspiring people who are my support system. We may be wounded right now, but we are here for each other. We will mend together.
And you, person who is reading this, have people too. You are also part of a community.
Turn to your brothers and sisters.
Please do not despair, because we are not done.
We are never done.