We’re With You: A Response to the 2016 Election

It's been a difficult few days. For weeks, my community and I have been preparing for this election — hoping, praying, and voting for a different result than the one ultimately that occurred. Since the election of the new president on Tuesday, America has been swept up in a series of hate crimes, including one on my own own campus, in which two white men jeered outside the house for students of African descent and spit on a person of color.

We are hurting. We are grieving. We are afraid.

What do I have to say about this election? As a woman, what do I have to say about a president-elect who brags about sexual assault? As an immigrant who loves this country and chose to make it her home, what do I have to say about a man who wants to push out those seeking refuge? As a Christian, what do I have to say about a person who regularly lies, who mocks the disabled, who appeals to fear and anger, who seems to care more about being great or successful than being good?

I have no words. So, in the absence of speaking, I am trying to do.

The day after the election, my friends and I went out to buy a bed sheet and some paint. We made a sign for our fellow college students, who are, too, hurting, grieving, and afraid. The sheet read:

You belong here. We're with you.

On Thursday, my friends and I made phone calls to the employers of the two men who came to Wellesley College to spit on our students. We filed incident reports. And then, that night, we gathered together to cook for each other. We sat around a table and laughed and talked and processed the week's events. At the table were U.S. citizens both born and naturalized, foreign nationals, and the daughters of immigrants and refugees. Different ethnicities, different faiths. Chosen family.

You belong here. We're with you.

On Friday, my fellow students and I gathered together for a peace walk through Wellesley's campus. That night, we wrote cards to our friends across campus to let them know that we stood with them, that we loved them, that we would fight to protect them.

You belong here. We're with you.

These are only small actions in the emotional days after the election. I know they aren't enough. They're not enough to make my friends feel safe, or to prevent the reversal of years of policy that protects beloved and necessary members of our society. But they are a start. We begin in our community and we move outwards. We mobilize. We aid. We speak. We do not give up.

In challenging times, as I struggle to keep the heart in the face of world events, I turn inwards and rely on my faith. There are Christians on both sides of the aisle. But as for me, I believe that the God who created me meant it when He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 22:39). Our black neighbors, our LatinX neighbors, our Muslim neighbors, our gay neighbors, our disabled neighbors.

As for me, I believe that the God of Moses, who was born to an enslaved woman but rose to lead his people to freedom; the God of Ruth, a foreigner, a convert, and a widow who found refuge under the wings of God; the God of Jesus, who was born in poverty under Roman captivity but became the King of Kings; meant it when He told us to pour ourselves out to the hungry and afflicted (Is 58:10). To lift up those who have been pushed down.

And as for me, I remember that yes, God is enthroned over the flood (Ps 29:10). But God was at the throne when John was beheaded, when Paul was killed, when Perpetua and Felicity were executed. God can be in control and humans can nevertheless harm and endanger and kill each other, as we have witnessed throughout this week. As people of faith, this is not just a time to bow our heads, but to roll up our sleeves.

This is what I tell myself, and this is what I need to remember.

To all who are hurting in response to this week's events: I am with you. Across the world or side by side, I hope that we can come together to stand up for what matters. Because we are still stronger together.

Author: Sara Laughed

I’m Sara, a writer, recent grad, and American abroad. I graduated from college in December and promptly moved to the Netherlands, where I live with my boyfriend and our 11 plants. Follow along as I figure out my roaring twenties: I don’t quite know what I’m doing, but that’s not stopping me from writing about it!

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