Some voices were firm at the beginning — almost like everything was normal — before they broke. Other voices couldn’t even provide a sound when students tried to speak. The stories, which were brought back to light by the results of the presidential and senatorial election, came from pasts of discrimination and futures of fear.
The pain could be heard in the voices that filled the Memorial Union Multicultural Center on Wednesday night where students gathered for a “post-election reflection," which was hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs.
Some students shared their feelings on the election.
One student said President-elect Donald Trump questioned their basic rights as a human being with his actions, which made this election, their first, feel like a do-or-die situation.
Another student said picking between Hillary Clinton and Trump was like picking between pig [fertilizer] and cow [fertilizer.]
Students went on to share their displeasure with his policies, but after a few students started sharing, the personal stories started flowing.
A story was shared from a woman. Tears started to flow before she began.
She said she had been crying all day.
She received a text message earlier in the day from her brother’s male fiance. The text read that the couple was thinking of getting married in Canada, because they didn’t know if their marriage would remain validated after a Trump presidency.
Malik Burton, junior in communication studies, wasn’t old enough to vote in previous elections but he remembers the scene in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected.
“People were running up and down the streets, jumping and cheering,” Burton said. “I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders [watching this election.] This is the first time in my life that I am unsure of my future.”
Torrell A. Foree, the coordinator for multicultural programming who hosted the event, said he came into the night with two goals.
He said he wanted students to recognize they were in a safe space to express themselves. He also wanted folks to recognize the steps they can take to deal with the transition.
“This election is a very special election, regardless of how it went, we recognize that folks would have needed this space,” Foree said. “There were some rumblings that students were already not feeling safe on campus, so we wanted to make sure we were proactive in putting this space together for students.”
Josh Popoola, a sophomore in biological systems engineering was one of the students who said he didn’t feel comfortable in his own home and on campus after the election.
“Can I have marriage equality?” Popoola asked rhetorically. “Can I not be called a n-----? Is that too much to ask for?”
Popoola said with the election of Trump, discrimination is not only validated but has become the mainstream.
“I’m not afraid of Donald Trump,” Popoola said. “I’m afraid of fellow Americans who do not see me as a fellow American.”