This is a new format for Fabulously Feminist, and one I had planned to start with an already written and edited discussion on the power and role of language in activism. BUT all considering current events, I thought it was time to break out the new format and let everyone share their thoughts, feelings and resources. Folks, as you are all well aware Donald Trump has been elected as the next President of the United States. If there's one thing I can say with certainty in this absolutely uncertain moment, it's that we are ALL having FEELINGS. Let's use the Fabulously Feminist Town Hall to share them.
Josh Gannon-Salomon - November 9th 2016
so much love is needed, and also channels for our collective rage. Thankfully there seems to be no shortage of ways to resist. Myself, I'm looking into anti-fascist organizing in my city and also stepping up my involvement with the IWW labor union.
Callie Garp - November 9th, 2016
I couldn't stop refreshing my phone as I anxiously watched the polls on google last night. I was on a Skype call with my in-laws in PA and while we talked about life, family dramas, the stupidity of the electoral college I hit refresh, refresh, refresh. Every time I hoped for something better - it was still early, surely Clinton would catch up and ultimately overtake Trump. The later it got the worse the refreshing was making me feel.
I feel like in some ways I should not be surprised by this outcome, but I truly am and was caught off guard. I was wondering if I should pick up some kind of celebratory cake or tart on Sunday. Yesterday morning I had a little shred of doubt, but still felt pretty confident Clinton would win. We couldn't follow our first black President with a sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, bigoted, rapist, could we?
This morning I am more than devastated - I am terrified. I wonder about the access to health care my parents, both aging and with real health problems, will have. I wonder about my rights as a married queer woman. I wonder about my ability to start a family through pregnancy and adoption. I am afraid for my friends who are minorities. I am afraid for strangers who have no voice - for people who are Native Americans fighting DAPL and the right for safe, clean water, for people who are fleeing violence and terrorism, for people who are living and working undocumented and documented in this country. That's what I cannot shake the most this morning. The fear.
Nicole Mazzeo - November 9th, 2016
I feel really surprised and freaked out about Trump being elected. For me, it helps a lot to channel my feelings into something constructive. I had the idea to write encouraging notes on post-its and putting them up around the city, so people feel supported on this difficult day. I'm going to give them out at the protest in Boston tonight so people can help me put them up. They say things like, "Practice self care, and then stand against Trump" and," Trump's election hurts. Don't give up." Even though it's still a terrible situation, it makes me feel a lot better to contribute something positive.
Darci McFarland - November 9th, 2016
"In the past ten hours I've seen continuous sexual assault "jokes", I've been laughed at and called "too sensitive" because I said something about them, I've been called a "baby killer", and I've seen that the majority of Americans could care less about the lives and safety of LGBTQ people. This is Donald Trump's America, and I am not welcome in it."
Jennifer MacMartin - November 13th, 2016
I, as well, did not consciously expect this outcome, and subsequently my life has kind of been all over the place. I skipped classes and work for protests in the moment, and now am scrambling to make up for that "lost time" (although I don't believe it was lost). trying to save time for self-care and losing that game.
You can read about the protest here: Cal Poly students protest Trump’s election with campus march
As the crowd assembled at Dexter Lawn, a Trump supporter started chanting in favor of Trump in the middle of the crowd, which drowned him out with chants of “Love Trumps Hate.” At one point, the Trump supporter and some members of the crowd of protesters bumped and appeared ready to fight before tensions calmed and a few feet of physical distance was established.
Debate ensued, with protesters attempting to discuss political issues with the Trump supporter, who repeatedly expressed “the people have voted, the people have spoken.” Another Trump supporter held up a banner stating “Trump: Make America Great Again.” His poster was snatched out of his hand, but he grabbed it back; student protesters tried to obscure his sign with messages of their own, such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Brown Lives Matter.”
Lisa Smith - November 14th, 2016
I've been writing short novels on people's walls and my own all week, and it isn't enough. I'm afraid to go into the studio, afraid that I destroy everything. The fear and anxiety I have felt since this election began last year every time I heard any of the republican party candidates speak, has gotten worse tenfold. The fact that there are so many possible supreme court positions potentially available in the next 4-8 years. The fact that every single person in Trump's closest circle are terrifying racist, classist, sexist, and homophobic. Means that even if Trump is impeached, or resigns, there's Pence, who is terrifying. Paul Ryan, none of them... Ryan is the most reasonable, and he's still horrible.
CG: What's the idea?
LS: Article V allows for a constitutional convention. I had this idea after Dred Scott's visit last year: He burnt a copy of the Declaration of Independence and I realized that institutional critique only goes so far- at some point a new model must be presented as an alternative.I think it's time that we rewrite the constitution. So, I propose that we do just that, only no straight white men allowed. I would want people from territories, Indigenous tribes.
CG: No straight white men allowed in the writing or in the protections of the constitution or in the country?
LS: No straight white men allowed on the constitutional congress. However, while this is an art project, I want it to have potential to be implemented. So that would mean I would need constitutional scholars, human rights lawyers, to at least be consultants. I would hope that each territory/state/indigenous nation would have at least one if not two representatives, who would help write, and vote on new laws/structure of the constitution. The only hope I have right now as to what it might look like is a document that is first and foremost structured around bodily autonomy for all and what that might look like. And after New Zealand's declaration of the personhood of the earth, I think something along those lines would be good, too.
CG: Do you feel like excluding straight white men entirely from the constitutional congress is equitable representation?
Darci McFarland - November 15th, 2016
Disassociating from devastation is a survival tactic trauma survivors know all too well. Disassociating from the devastation that was this Presidential election was a subconscious default setting. As a queer woman, as a trauma survivor, and as someone working on Reproductive Justice in a red state, I must keep moving. Now more than ever. We gave ourselves a day to grieve our losses and let the reality of what had just happened sink in. But the urgency, the anxiety, and the very legitimate fear of what’s to come under a Trump/Pence Presidency drove us forward. We are organizing. We are fighting back. We are stepping in. We are protesting. We are taking care of one another. We are holding space for each other. We are cooking dinner for one another. We are baking cookies for ally organizations doing social justice work together. We are donating $10 of our last $20 to indigenous activists at Standing Rock or Transgender Support funds or Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name. We are loving one another, despite the hate. Despite the bigotry. Despite the never-ending fight that we know all too well.
Elizabeth Gallien - November 15th, 2016
The night before the election, I had this sickening feeling in my stomach, knots turning and churning. The overwhelming sadness and anger were already present. I stayed home from work on election day, feeling as if I knew what was going to happen, anticipating the worst. I slept, I cried, I felt tremendous anxiety, and I drank whiskey coke, repeat. Messaging with a friend, I tried to be hopeful. I said, we still have the west coast votes. I did not believe my own words of encouragement.
Since the election, several people I know have been harassed in the street. I live in the liberal west coast bubble, but, I still know several people who have been harassed. A friend of mine was yelled and cussed out, called a fag and a hoe. Another was told to just go kill themself because come January they wouldn’t matter anymore. Another was threatened by a group of men who said they could rape her if they wanted. Someone spray painted “black lives don’t have to matter anymore” near the airport. Another friend of mine is terrified to use a public restroom for fear of harassment or worse. I, too, have been yelled at, walking down the street near my work. I kept my eyes focused forward, walked faster, did not respond. I live in a liberal west coast bubble and I cannot count on one hand how many instances of harassment people I know have experienced since the election; and the Trump presidency was mentioned by attackers in several of these instances. It’s as if this election gave people the ‘go ahead’ to do whatever they wanted, no matter who is effects. In fact, racist incidents as well as other acts of bigotry have increased since the election.
The fear is real. Calls to suicide hotlines rose immediately following the results of the election. I see people posting on facebook that we need to just “get over it” or “stop whining.” And, I see those people standing in a place of unchecked privilege. They don’t have to fear what might happen; it won’t affect them directly. We’re just whining, they say. But, when lives are at stake, when racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc., are so prevalent, we have every right to fear. For many this is a shock; but more many, this has been their daily lives; they know too well how racist and homophobic the United States has been and still is. We have every right to fear. This could literally be matter of life or death for many.
This is a call to action for many of us who believe in social justice.
Molly Eliza Donlan - November 15th, 2016
The week prior to the election I spent over 20 hours talking to ~320 middle school students about consent. As a sexual assault advocate and educator, I highlighted the importance of asking and waiting for the “yes,” as opposed to just assuming based on an absence of “no.” I stressed that consent is an ongoing conversation that needs to be free from coercion. The engagement of students gave me hope and I felt inspired to give students the power to change our culture and community, reiterating to them that they would one day be running our world.
Then a man, who openly admitted to sexual assault, stating that consent does not matter when you are in a position of power, became the president-elect of our country. My first reaction was denial, quickly leading to overwhelming sadness, fear, and powerlessness. Every bit of hope I gained from the students drained out of my body. Suddenly, I remembered that it was 6 am Wednesday morning, and in two hours I would again talk to middle school students about the importance of consent. For the first time in my seven years of violence prevention education, it felt futile. I battled with the feeling that my work was now so much more important and so much less effective with this man in charge. My voice—informed and guided by the voices of survivors of sexual violence, the voice I was giving to these students—would be overpowered by the most powerful man in the world. His voice is much louder than mine will ever be, and the voices of survivors are silenced by the almost 60 million people that voted for him. When a vote is cast for someone who brags about using his power to sexually assault women, that vote tells survivors to stay silent. It condones his behavior and the behavior of all offenders of sexual violence.
When I began my career in advocacy I was fueled by anger: anger that the first time I learned about the realities of sexual assault and interrelationship violence I was almost in college and supporting a handful of friends in their own experiences of rape and intimate partner abuse. I was angry that we didn’t learn sooner, that we were learning intervention instead of prevention. I was 17 and I channeled my anger into activism and found myself on this career path that I have never strayed from. On Wednesday morning I didn’t feel angry, I felt hopeless—a feeling I knew could not propel me through the muddy waters of advocacy.
Over the past seven months my self-care has evolved to include a daily meditation practice. Meditation has helped me gain insight into my habitual reactions to the world around me. With that observation I’ve shifted my responses to more mindful actions that help cultivate peace within me. When the election results came in, I meditated to help me find a way to proceed. From the clarity of meditation I remembered many things: the only control I have in this world is how I respond to events around me; there are still good people in this world; the work I do—that we all do—is important and necessary; and I finally remembered that these students I work with are still going to run our world one day. My hope returned and I decided, in this critical hour, to respond to the results of this election with friendliness, peace, and kindness regardless of how I am treated. Everything is connected and the more kindness I give, the more I receive. That exchange of kindness increases kindness in the world.
That day I set an intention to practice Metta every day between the day that the election results were announced and Inauguration day. Metta translates to loving-kindness. It is a traditional meditation practice that helps cultivate feelings of warmth, compassion, and friendliness towards the self and others. The Metta practice unites us on the worldwide human desire for our own safety and happiness. Metta is a practice of unconditional love and universal friendliness and it increases the resiliency of our hearts and the hearts around us. My beloved teacher once said that when the world is full of violence and fear, when it feels like there’s nothing we can do, we could always practice Metta. When there’s more loving kindness within us, there’s more loving kindness to give to the world and that same loving kindness comes back to us again and again.
I still feel discouraged by the election, but I don’t feel hopeless and my work no longer feels futile. I know that no matter who is elected, there will always be someone in power using their platform to silence survivors of sexual violence. But I also know that what I tell middle school students is true: if every middle school student in America learned what consent is, how to ask for it, and why it’s important, then we can end sexual violence in one generation. If we hold offenders accountable while believing and supporting survivors we can shift our culture that condones sexual violence. If we approach each other with loving kindness and unite together in peace then it doesn’t matter how loud our president’s voice is; our collective voices will always be louder.
Akiko Surai - November 16th, 2016
My first reaction to the election was shock, my second was to take the pocket knife I carried in college off my bedroom shelf and put it back in my purse. I tried to rationalize his early lead, swing states, population density, the works. I watched the pundits doing the same till a phrase slipped out that shook me, “President Trump.” At that point I ran to the soothing arms of Thai food and stared blankly into my curry like some sort of coconut milk gazing crystal ball. My fortune cookie told me I would take “a pleasant trip to a far away land,” so I texted a friend with dual citizenship and asked if we could get married. Not my finest moment.
As time passed though, things started popping up that brought my feet back to the ground. The first was that Hillary won the popular vote. The second, that 46% of the country didn’t vote at all. And lastly, the reality that this country has never been a safe place for minorities, women, immigrants, lgbtqia individuals. We have a long history of oppression and white supremacy here that, contrary to what some would believe, did NOT end when president Obama was elected. This process laid a lot of things bare and I’m thankful. My hope for the next four years is that we take this opportunity to really examine the exposed underbelly of America and have some frank discussions on race, sexism and xenophobia and, that this motivates more people to get involved in their local and state governments to make sure their values are reflected. In the meantime we need to protect ourselves. I’m not scared of Donald himself or his wishy washy politics but his campaign has emboldened a new generation of conservative zealots that need to be taken seriously.
Organizations to support
Black led Racial Justice Organizations (multiple)
January 21st - Women's March National Facebook page - DC March. Different states have set up their own marches in their own state.
Vote in the midterm elections.
Show up to local vigils, marches, rallies, and protests.
Call out racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. when you see/hear it.
Contact your representatives, council members, senators, etc. Voice your opinion on the bills being brought forth.
Founder/Director Callie Garp has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Tufts University. Keep up with Callie here.
Featured image by Callie.