The results of Tuesday’s election are a disaster for our nation, for our communities and for our friends. Gay marriage, abortion, immigration reform, healthcare, Syrian refugees, guns—we took our three steps forward and now, thanks to The Donald, we have been shoved thirty back.
Community gatherings this week have been a beacon of hope. Student of all stripes and backgrounds came together to mourn what may be the greatest American tragedy since 9/11.
These immediate efforts towards healing set in motion just minutes and hours after the results came out helped make students feel less alone. Students, staff, faculty and the administration came together for each other’s sake. In a time such as this, when it has become so clear that this country is divided, where we look in horror at the vision for America so many of our fellow citizens voted for, it is truly a blessing and privilege to be included in a protective community like Lawrence, where love and support voluntarily pour out in times of crisis. The people offering hugs, company and safety in numbers this past week represent the best of what Lawrence is.
This election meant the social death for many people. Many of our dreams to be a part of history burned and crumbled around us. We all will feel this differently. There will be many calls to stand up and start working, and if you can, you should heed them. However, you also deserve the room to be healthy, to process and to relax. We need to be there for each other, and especially for all those feeling rightfully scared about their safety on this campus.
It is important to remember in this time of tension that there are many people outside of Lawrence who feel just as ostracized and frightened by the election results as we are. However, these people may not have access to the sorts of support networks and resources we have on campus to process the immediate shock and future implications of a Trump presidency. Therefore, in light of this dark time, let us reach out to others who may be hurting in the greater Appleton community to combat the fear, anxiety and hopelessness brought on by the election.
One concrete step you can take right now to help marginalized individuals in the Fox Cities is through volunteerism. By providing assistance to those who will be most affected by a Trump presidency—such as the women at Harbor House and the kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Appleton—we can use our privilege of being on this campus to improve the lives of those around us.
The Volunteer and Community Service Center is an on-campus resource you can use to get involved—please do so. If we cannot remove the specter of a Trump presidency, we can at least work to combat the damage it could cause to this community.