How Do We Support Each Other As We Do The Work?

3 min read

Donald Trump and Mike Pence won the election last night. This raises a whole slew of questions, but I'll start here with some questions grounded in an educational context:

  • What does it mean to create a safe space for learning for black and brown kids when the leader of the country considers people that look like them to be terrorists, rapists, or drug dealers who should be kicked out of the country?
  • What does it mean to stand up against bullying when we have a leader who incorporated abusive behavior as a campaign strategy?
  • What does it mean to encourage honesty when we have a leader who actively ignores the truth?
  • What does it mean to educate women when we have a leader who consistently demeans women based on their physical appearance, and who brags of sexual assault?

I don't have answers to any of these questions - and really, the answers to these questions reside in our day to day actions. We - all of us - will have a constant series of small interactions where we will have the opportunity to do well, or to do something else. Hopefully, we will get it right more than we get it wrong, and hopefully, when we get it wrong we will have the humility to admit it, make amends, and move forward.

The conditions that led to the election of Donald Trump existed well before Donald Trump announced his candidacy. The racism, misogyny, and xenophobia that he voiced while campaigning has been well documented. However, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia are well worn in the history of the United States. I don't say this to be inflammatory, but rather to acknowledge a basic reality. I mean, I'm writing this within the border of a state that was founded as a bastion of white supremacy

So here we are. To state the obvious: the need to do the work would have existed regardless of who won, but the Trump/Pence victory amplifies the need to center intersectional social justice in our work. And yes, I am being intentionally vague when I say, "the work." We all need to define it in the way that makes sense to us - for some of us, it will be intensely local; for others, it will be organizing at the national level. For most of us, it will be something in between. For people who look like me, let's consider talking less, and listening more.

Food is my thing. When I woke up this morning, I peeled and diced some shallots, onions, parsnips, garlic, and a turnip and threw them in a pot with a chicken, salt, pepper, brown sugar, soy sauce, and some spices. It's simmering now as I write, and soon, the smell will fill the house.

It's not a solution, but it'll feed those around me. Today starts now. How do we support each other as we do the work?