Where Do We Go From Here?
On November 9, 2016, many of us woke up asking, "where do we go from here?" Below are our answers.
We have created a conversation of post-election thoughts and reactions from young voters to signify unity and light in a time that feels very dark. We are aware that these opinions are, for the majority, of those who voted blue. This is not what we want. We are looking to build this community so please do not hesitate to submit yours in the comments below.
In her address to the nation, we leave you with the words of HRC herself:
- Mary Kang, Fashion Editor of POND, voted in the State of California via absentee
"Today I write to you out of fear, out of anger, out of love, and out of a need to find a way pass what has transpired today and over the last year. Today marks a day where our country has put into office a person who has personally attacked all marginalized bodies: not only through rhetoric but also through physical abuse, emotional abuse, and government sanctioned abuse. As marginalized races, women, and queer bodies we must choose in the face of adversity to rise up and organize our efforts to make sure that our ancestors and the generations after us will not be silenced and forgotten. As artists, activists, curators and community organizers it is our duty to create platforms where the joy of our communities can be visualized and justice can be reclaimed. We must act today; because our time is now."
- Myles S. Golden, Safe Spaces Collective Co-Founder, voted in the State of Virginia via absentee
"I am not afraid of Donald Trump as president. I am afraid of the people that are happy he is president. I am afraid of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and discrimination being normalized again because a hateful man has just been given a lot of power. His presidency is an affirmation that it's okay to act on the bigotry people feel."
- Irene Liu, Business Development Intern, voted in the State of California via absentee
"I am shocked to see that the country my family came to in search of a better life has clearly signaled to us that we are not welcome.
Moving forward from these results, the biggest issue we should be addressing as a country is that so many people came out in support of a candidate who championed racist, xenophobic, homophobic, islamophobic, mysogynistic, and ableist views.
We need to begin building up the willpower and establishing the unity that will be necessary across all marginalized groups for the fight to protect our civil liberties under a Trump presidency."
- Alexis Castro, Associate Editor at Jenkem Magazine, voted in the State of California via absentee
"No words to describe the emptiness I've had for the last few hours. I think we all underestimated the fear that so many white people of this country have of women, minorities, and progress. It's a punch in the gut to know that so many of us marginalized people have to figure out what the next step is for us."
- Miranda Barnes, Photographer, voted in the State of New York
"As I wander the dizzy sidewalks of this campus, all I see is Red. It drips down every wall and off every tongue. It blurs my vision and clogs my ears as it slowly tries to take me away. Red is a way of life here, it is a culture. There is no escape and to be Blue is to become the enemy.
I am Blue.
Red versus Blue. Blue versus Red. This isn’t how it should be. To feel isolated and ostracized on a campus that used to be home, these colors have turned us into monsters. Carnal beasts who focus on one thing and that thing? Dominance. To be the most dominant of them all though is to be not only Red but also to be a Male.
I am Female.
This Red campus breeds a very unique kind of Female. Submissive. The men are here to get an education, to further their Red agenda. The Females though? They are here to be made wives. To be made mothers. College education is for the men, they tell me. You are supposed to raise the children, they tell me.
This campus is a breeding ground of stereotypes and gender roles. I have spent my time here hiding myself and my beliefs because if I speak my mind, I am idiotic. I am unattractive. I am not worth the time. I have people laugh in my face only because I cannot stand to watch another innocent girl get raped or listen to another sexist slur from the man we now have to call our own.
I cannot watch this country turn into the terrifying reality I live in everyday. I am ready for change. But what is a girl to do? (My favorite question).
The answer? Everything."
- Tess Cooper, Student, voted in the State of Idaho
- Corrinne James, Illustrator, voted in the State of New York
"I felt every New Yorker's heavy heart this morning. Expressions of sorrow, fear, and deflation marked the face of each commuter on the train- felt like we were all journeying towards the same funeral.
We've elected a man who demonstrates an alarming lack of ethics, empathy and compassion. Forget his zero experience and bluff-like policies, it is who he is as a human being that petrifies me and parks the future of many individuals on unstable footing. He does not have the capacity to feel another's suffering. I'm sure he sleeps a sound slumber every night. We've elected a man who bears no sensitivity or understanding of the soulful torture his propagandistic policies will undoubtedly engender. We can not expect this desensitized human being to lead this country towards the progression we need so desperately both for America and the rest of the world.
So it is up to us to generate the change we ache for. Communicate and educate each other with art, books, music. Don't be mistaken by this mutant about to take office. Empathy runs in human blood and we can arm ourselves with this inherent human quality. Hold each other's hand, fear for each other's future and when it gets bad we will speak loud and clear with this booming, unified voice that we will have created for ourselves. We will endure these next four years with grace but that doesn't equate to inaction. Let's show Trump what it really means to be human."
- Serena Ferrari, Writer and Filmmaker, voted in the State of New York
"As I stumbled through the day I was eager to hear what Hillary had to say as well as Obama. Hillary’s conceding speech was refined, professional and ringing with class. She gave me the security and reassurance I was so desperately searching for. However, it did not end there. Shortly afterwards Obama and Joe Biden arrived at the Rose Garden at the White House to deliver their speech. Obama approached the podium with eight years of presidency weighing on his face. Prepared to see everything he has worked so hard for destroyed in one fell swoop. With that said, he spoke about unity, faith and reinforced the continuation of doing the right thing that Hillary remarked on. At the end of his speech, as he returned back into the oval office with his arm around Biden and Biden’s arm around him, I felt superficially reassured as there was a deep feeling of sadness pervading my soul. I watched a true man of the people, a true President, a true human being full of empathy and compassion depart from the podium for what seemed like the final time.
Now we must face the reality of our situation, Trump is our President. Although we have been thrown into chaos and uncertainty, we must persevere. We must come together now more than ever. We have to push fear aside and power on, fighting the good fight. The fight that will allow every American the ability to express themselves, be themselves and thrive in a non-hostile, sympathetic atmosphere. One where we raise one another up rather than tear each other down. Trump’s presidency, his supporters and their ideas will not alter me or influence my own. Compassion, empathy and humanistic qualities resound throughout my mind, body and soul. I am prepared to carry the torch of our inspirational leaders, Obama and Hillary."
- Lorenzo Ferrari, Business Development Representative, voted in the State of New York
"Trump is president today but every tomorrow after that I'm still going to be black, my homies are still going to be amazing as fuck and I'm still going to have a lot of love in my heart unconditionally. Be more open and tell someone that you love them, there is much hate in this world and succumbing to it is just as cancerous as those breeding it. Be safe, trust in love and educate. Don't allow yourself to be passive, and don't let surrounding bigotry and abhorrence define you as a person. You are more than that. WE are more than that."
- Mark Matheson, Musician, voted in the State of New York
"Tuesday night I was at a bar ironically called Golden Years with friends watching the election. We all wanted to remember where we were when the first female president was elected. But instead all we saw was red. I left early, my optimism had already plummeted.
Off the train, I called my mom walking back to my apartment and I burst into tears. We cried together. She tried to console me, saying I would be okay. But I didn’t care about me, I knew I would be fine. I cared about the fact that I, as a Jewish millennial was letting what had happened to my ancestors not even a century ago, happen in my own country. I cared about the fact that my Muslim roommate was about to be victim to this persecution and that Black Americans already were. I had always thought of myself as an educated, open minded young adult, but my bubble had officially popped; Donald Trump was becoming president, and I was just a fucking privileged white girl, and even though I had voted, I had done nothing else to stop it.
The next morning on the train I felt so guilty wearing this privilege on my skin. I listened to a song I had been playing every morning for the past couple of days to put me in a trance, yet each beat only kept reaffirming reality. Pop... pop... pop."
- Rachel Cabitt, Photographer & Digital Director of POND, voted in the State of New York
"We all woke up this morning entering a new upside down period of American history. America has thought it fit to elect a misogynistic, racist, backwards thinking human to lead our country. I went to bed last night angry seeing red. I woke up throughout the night thinking this was all a dream, but that is not the case. This is what we are left with and the reality we must deal with. We can try to run and hide from this new reality, but that is exactly what these crooked people want us to do. It's time for us to have bigger voice than ever before. It is time to stand alongside one another as human beings and nothing else. We need to love one another, listen to one another, and support one another. People are going to do bad things to us in our lives, but we can't let it keep us down. We must put one foot in front of the other and continue to fight for what we know is right and just. Even though we have all woken up today entering a dark period of American history, we were still all awoken by the sun shining on our faces, the birds chirping their songs, and a breath of fresh air entering our lungs. There is light shining at the end of this dark and frightening tunnel and it is our duty to never forget this and never stop walking towards it."
- Seb Mueller, Musician, voted early in the State of California
"When I woke up to find there was not a woman president I was shook. I suddenly had to accept the fact that there would not be someone advocating for my body and my equal rights. There would not be someone advocating for POC, the LBGTQ community. I still am having a hard time accepting the fact that this is the reality we are in. We need to advocate for ourselves if the government isn't."
- Savannah Galvin, Artist, voted in the State of New York
Stop pretending you’re something you’re not
You’re not black
You have white girl hair
Look at those thin lips
She think she cute
You don’t know what we go through
Where are you from?
No, like where are you really from?
Like your family
Are you Mexican?
You look so exotic
You look like Pocahontas
But you’re not really black
How do you get so tan?
You’re such a mutt
But you don’t act black
Your hair isn’t nappy though
Why are your nipples are so brown?
But you don’t have a weave
You have such a cute black nose
Can you say the n-word?
- Madison Horne, Photographer, voted in the State of Connecticut
"Yesterday during Social Studies I taught my students the lyrics to The Pledge of Allegiance. As we scrutinized each phrase, word and sentence, I could only think of one thing bearing the election results to come.
I am a 22 year old white female. I am a teacher to 16 Mexican, Puerto Rican, African American students. I am a daughter of a gay woman (the strongest woman I know). A sister to a gay brother (the best person I know). The role we play in this society plays a great deal in determining the type of person we want to be in this life. Yet, the ultimate paradox is just this:
If we can never learn to function as one nation under G-d with liberty and justice for all, that would be indeed the biggest calamity of all. Instead of fearing the change this country is about to face, let's come to understand one another- reinventing what the UNITED States of America manifests itself to mean. The greatest tragedy of this election is not the inauguration of Donald Trump into the White House. It's the potential that the people of the United States of America have to polarize based on the results of one man winning a political race.
Instead of ruminating on the potential he has to destroy, we must work to reunite two stratified political parties in this nation.
Spread the love today, America. We've always been great."
- Alexis W., Teacher, voted in the State of New York
- Dillon Gray, Culture Editor of POND, voted in the State of Pennsylvania
"My heart is heavy, my mind is confused and I feel lightheaded. The American people have elected a racist, xenophobic, islamaphobic, liar, and womanizer as President of the United States of America. I can’t even bring myself to write this without feeling sick…
Donald J. Trump has been elected as
The next President of the United States
I feel like throwing up, crying, and screaming all at the same time. This is a terrible and horrifying moment for all Americans. We are literally going back in time. Obama is our current, Black President and our next one will be a racist. What is life? All I ask for is a world or at least my country to be filled with love, equality, and inclusivity. Is that too much to ask for? To be honest last night did not make me angrier at Trump, it just opened my eyes to the type of people who live in America and their beliefs. That broke my heart."
- Milan Gary, Teacher and Artist, voted in the State of Pennsylvania via absentee
Excerpt from a paper I wrote in college in February 2014, "And in a sphere where masculinity equals competence, women candidates face a struggle of proving themselves whereas male candidates, masculinity and competence are implied."
- Phoebe C., News Researcher, voted in the State of New York
"I'm still numb and in disbelief. A year ago, Trump being president was a joke and now it's a reality. I honestly hope that he does a good job in office. Nothing he has done so far leads me to believe that will be the case, but I'm trying to cling to some hope. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared."
-Carl Pietrusinski, Music Editor of POND, voted in the State of Pennsylvania via absentee
- Peter Hopkins, Illustrator and Photographer, voted in the State of New Jersey
"The results of this election are disappointing to say the least. Today we mourn, tomorrow we plan, and we build and rebuild. I have hope knowing so many allies, friends, families, and support systems exist and they are not far and few. I have hope because I am dedicating my life to public service, as so many other inspiring, incredible people have done before and will continue to do for us. I have hope because my immigrant parents consoled their sobbing daughter on the phone saying it will be fine, they've been through much worse. They still believe in the American Dream and we shouldn't be so quick to give up on that. Instead we should continue to thrive, survive, and create the future we want for ourselves no matter how impossible that seems. We owe it to our future generations to be louder than ever."
- Sohana Islam, Public and Nonprofit Policy and Management Student, voted in the State of New York
"Up until yesterday I felt proud to be a part of America. Born and raised in Queens from a working class family, the diversity, boldness, even the hardship I admired being a part of. I felt pride because New York City, America is what made me who I am, and my family and friends are what made it.
This morning I feel ashamed to be a citizen of this country. I feel ashamed to share the streets with African Americans, I feel embarassed to share a subway car with Hispanics, I feel ashamed to wait in line for coffee with Muslims. As a son, a brother, a lover, and man I'm disappointed to make up a nation that has supported someone so ignorant, arrogant, and cowardly to be their commander and chief. I thought as a place we were better than this, and it hurts to know that isn't true.
America has reverted to a hyper stereotype version of itself, where Government is evil. The police are militant, and homophobia, racism, and ignorance is not only common but accepted. We've become a nation where lies aren't questioned, and oppression is shrugged off. Where a greedy, privileged, sexist man wearing a tie is elected head of office. Where I'm just another twenty something year old with tattoos who hates the president.
What a cliche.
However we must use this anger and frustration to work in unity. We must come together and use this acute awareness of how screwed we are to inform, and create a better country. We must tear away the blanket of ignorance that the hicks, the low lives, and the sell outs of this nation use to warm themselves at night. We are capable of so much more than crawling out of bed and filling in a box next to a name. Let us not forget who we are, let us not let this mistake define our being and continue to stand up for the same thing we stood for yesterday now just even taller. We are stronger than those who've aligned themselves with this fraud because we have something they can never have, and that is passion and integrity."
- Anthony Picarelli, Graphic Designer and Founder of Tony Valentine, voted in the State of New York
"As an American who lived in Scandinavia for two years, I can say without a doubt we are already decades behind Europe. Today we took a leap even further back. I fear for my day-to-day physical safety and the rights of my fellow sisters, mothers, and daughters. I fear for my gay friends. I fear for the integrity of my country. I fear for my immigrant relatives. I fear a wall that will hold us in. I fear for the middle class. I fear an impending war. I live in fear."
- Arlena Armstrong, Founder of Marvin & Ruby, voted in the State of Pennsylvania via absentee
"I went to bed last night in utter disbelief knowing that I would wake up to a world redefined by hatred, fear, and oppression. As an immigrant who moved to this country at the age of 7 (and experienced this struggle), the United States seemed like a haven for the displaced individuals of the world to create a better future for themselves -- where you could be yourself and be praised and cherished for it. After becoming a citizen and having lived here for over 15 years, I can proudly say I feel (culturally) as much of an American as I do Colombian. Last night served as a slap to the face, a direct reminder of my naivety. I feel betrayed by our country, but it does not mean we will be discouraged. Let us not dwell on what has passed but what could come out of this. Now is the time to grow stronger, organize, and love/respect one another more than ever before.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in."
- Danny Gomez, Musician, voted in the State of New York
"On this infamous day, America lost more than just an election. America lost years of equality and enlightenment. America has become divided, scared and violent. But remember America, we are still young, scrappy and hungry. Don't give up hope, we are a country created through blood, sweat, tears and dreams. We will be the ones to see injustices righted. Be brave, become inspired, and stand for something. #millennialmovement"
- Sarah Elizabeth Blessing, Student, voted in the State of California via absentee
"I woke up yesterday with my heart in my stomach, a nausea that may linger for an indefinite future, I am still processing, but I am mostly speechless. I called my mom. I hugged my best friend. I cried with my boss. But I am trying to be positive. Be kind, believe in the good of others, love your neighbor, make art, fight the good fight."
- Natalie Leonard, Editor-In-Chief of POND, voted in the State of Pennsylvania via absentee