When Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States, I began bawling. And immediately I thought about the dozens of middle schoolers I've taught: in East New York, Brooklyn, in Harlem, and in the Bronx, some of which are already in high school, and wondered what they thought of Trump's victory. I thought about my first and second year teaching, of my chaotic and charismatic 8th graders in East New York, many who blossomed into inquisitive young adults and opened up to learning more about the world they live in, many who became more aware of how they see the world, how the world sees them, and why that is. What did they think about this? I prayed they still felt hope and pride in themselves.
And I cried some more. I cried for the kids who were going to sit in their classrooms the next day scared for their lives, for their families; I cried for the kids who look racism in the face everyday, who know it exists, who aren't surprised; I cried for the kids who would feel discouraged and disappointed by their country; And I cried for the kids who did not yet understand.
I cried for the New York City teachers who might not know what to say to the brown and black faces staring back at them in their classroom tomorrow; I cried for the teachers who did not know how to encourage and support their students in this crucial time; and I cried with the teachers who felt real fear of how this new presidency and administration would affect the everyday lives of our kids. I felt their pain.
I knew I was not alone, I wasn't the only teacher who felt more fear for our future generation than for myself. I am an adult, I can deal and I can fight. But the younger ones? So many students who see mostly white teachers in their schools, how will they feel? Did they feel hated by them? Did they feel their country hated them for the color of their skin? As a Latina and as a Womyn I felt despised by my home country. I commiserated with them, and I cried.
For months this country witnessed a Republican candidate who showed he knew more about social media than politics and history. A candidate who called us "The African Americans" and "the Latinos" making claims that we lived in crime riddled neighborhoods, a constant war zone, who never glorified our communities for the beauty that exist despite the poverty and lack of resources. This country witnessed a candidate attack his opponent with low-blows, attacking her gender while making outlandish statements like "abortion should be illegal." A candidate that was more fit to be a meme than a president, and yet here we are. To think that this man gave a voice to even 10 people is disgusting, but here we are. Now what do I do?
I'm going to fight like I've never fought before and I'll teach my students to fight like I've never taught them to do before.