After a long, tiresome election season, the unexpected (or the expected, for some) has occurred.
The victory of Donald Trump has evoked some feelings of distress, uneasiness, and of course, fear. And deservingly so.
Muslims girls are being encouraged not to wear their traditional head wear in public to avoid hate crimes. Latino children are afraid of mass deportations separating them from their families. Members of the LGBT community are anxious about others knowing their orientations, among countless other groups that are frightened and upset by the news of his forthcoming presidency.
There is a looming national outcry from all sorts of marginalized people in fear of the potential horrors soon to be committed by the Trump Administration. These concerns are definitely valid and should be shared and addressed; nonetheless, it is important that while we mourn, we recognize that his victory does not signify our defeat.
Grieving, in the initial stages of adversity, is a therapeutic and necessary part of the process to recovery. However, simply being stuck in this phase is not at all conducive to the progress that has been made by those who came before us.
The oppression of our people is not a new concept. Sure, Trump's win may have reignited the flame and reminded us that there is still work to be done but this system of inequality has existed centuries before this election. From nearly 400 years of chattel slavery to black codes and sharecropping in the Reconstruction era, Jim Crow laws, racial segregation, gerrymandering, the War on Drugs, and mass incarceration along with other hardships faced by members of our community, this is not our first rodeo, and judging from history, it will likely not be our last.
In spite of the continual struggles we faced since first being stolen from the shores of Africa, we have always had fearless leaders resisting injustice. Nat was embarking on a slave rebellion while Harriet conducted a trip to freedom and Frederick led us on a road to abolition. W.E.B. co-founded an organization dedicated to our advancement as Marcus founded one to lead us back to Africa. Rosa took a stand by taking a seat and Martin envisioned the dream while Malcolm took any means necessary and Huey, Bobby, and Stokely redefined black power and pride.
Prior to the Black Lives Matter movement, our generation seemed pretty much complacent in terms of racial progress. Nevertheless, the coalition and the recent election has been monumental in helping unifying us against the system. Every generation has its moment that inspires change for them and we may have just found ours.
Instead of permitting your fears or frustrations to go to waste, channel that energy into something productive and actionable. Organize. Learn your history. Get involved in local politics. Invest in your own communities.
An initial fear or mourning is natural but we can use these emotions as an opportunity to do so much more.