Reflecting on the Election
I know many in our community are joyous over the results of the presidential election. Joe Biden’s promise to become the president of all Americans brings this country new hope for a less divisive future. Kamala Harris’s historic election as a woman of Black and mixed race is making headlines around the world. It feels like a sunny new day.
But as we now watch and wait to see how and when final results are validated, likely through the courts, we should take time to plan for how we go into a future after the fractions of the past. The last year has brought more anxiety to most Americans than they have ever experienced in their lives. Between Covid-19, financial concerns, lost jobs, families evicted and businesses forced to close, the past year has brought sadness and despair to so many. But for people of color, those concerns were amplified.
Student trustee Richard Diego, who represents the entire student body on Montserrat’s governing board, wrote to me over the weekend, and I would like to share his words as they eloquently address what many of us are thinking. His message is from his heart and his personal experience, and in it he shares his hopes for us to continue the march towards a more equitable America.
He said: “I think that in all of this celebration we should not be so quick as to forget that there are still issues at hand to be faced….these issues have not left our country because Trump has left office. If we lived in a country where everyone believed that racial discrimination was an issue, these incidents would have gone down very differently. But even in unjust murder, many stood alongside the murderer simply because the victim was a person of colour. I may not know the entire community of colour as a whole, but I can attest from my own experience and many others around like me: we are still afraid….Even beyond the issue of racial discrimination, there are many more cultural and social issues that still need to be thought of moving forward. Many people still stood against gay rights protests. Many are still harassed for their sexuality. Many still believe that LGBTQ+ members are not to be considered people.
He goes on: “My point in all of this is that I think that the Montserrat community needs a reminder that regardless of how you feel about this election, there is still work to be done for the better of our community … And rather in celebration or tears at the inauguration of Biden, we must still remain strong as a community and continue to preach as we believe. I’ve seen many of my peers go to counterprotest against those who stood against people like me. The amount of BLM posters and signs I’ve seen from Montserrat alone has warmed my heart more than I can express. I wish to see this energy continue on across the next four years and beyond. I am not saying do not take this moment to be happy. But rather, take your time to celebrate and prepare to move towards a better future.”
I thank Richard for his heartfelt message and agree the work can not stop. We must continue our march toward justice. But for the short-term, my wish for each of us is to find some peace. Reflect, stay hopeful, be brave, and be kind to each other.