Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

FONT

MORE STORIES


At a post-election-day gathering, hundreds of Pacific University students, staff and faculty crammed into the University Center to share their reactions to Republican Donald Trump's presidential victory.


Many people shared personal stories of living as a racial, religious or sexual orientation minority — topics they feel Trump has spoken about in negative, inflammatory ways.

“I feel angry,” said one man of color. “We elected a racist.”

Sexual assault victims voiced disgust with Trump's degrading and highly publicized comments about women, as well as claims — which they believe — that he has committed sexual harassment, assault and even rape.

One woman, a member of the LGBT community and a survivor of sexual assault, said she was appalled the U.S. is “perpetuating rape culture” by supporting a man who fails to treat women with respect.

Pacific's Center for Peace & Spirituality Director Rev. Chuck Currie organized the Nov. 9 event and Martha Rampton, director of the Center for Gender Equity, kicked it off by saying she felt angry that Trump was elected, but that such feelings won't help anyone move forward.

While many may feel disheartened, “this isn’t the end of our work; this is the beginning of our work,” she said. “Now it’s really up to us.”

Political Science Professor Jim Moore said it's not clear yet what policies Trump will actually enact that could hurt the various minority groups represented at the Pacific gathering. But regardless of policy, he said, Trump's negative comments about certain groups seem to be emboldening some people to be more aggressively negative themselves.

A Pacific professor whose Latino child attends a Forest Grove school said classmates were telling the child to “go home” last week after the election, Moore said.

Statistics show that incidents of racism went up when President Obama was elected eight years ago because bona fide racists could attack him under the veil of criticizing his policies, which is socially acceptable.

Other studies show that if Hillary Clinton were elected president people would have felt freer to make misogynistic comments, he said.

Many of the LGBT community worry that a conservative majority Senate, House of Representatives and president (and vice president) could roll back same-sex marriage, given that they have all spoken against it.

One student said he was grappling with talking to his father, who voted for Trump, about the president-elect’s possible effect on LGBT individuals. His father doesn’t know he is gay.

“I came to this university because I didn’t know what else to do,” he said, implying he needed to find a place where he wouldn't have to hide his sexuality. The man said he wanted to tell his father that all the chatter about LBGT people actually does affect him directly.

A bisexual man said it really hurt him that he couldn’t trust the man who raised him — his father, a Trump supporter — to fight for him.

One woman took the opportunity to come out to the crowd as bisexual. It was the first time she talked about her sexuality with more than a few close friends, she said.

Another woman has friends who voted for Trump not because of his comments diminishing women and racial minorities but in spite of it. She is particularly concerned about the fact that people do not see the gravity of such remarks. “The fact that they can ignore those things is what makes this such a problem,” she said through tears.

Others fear how Trump's policies might endanger the environment. "I’m scared this man will take away our generation's future,” one woman said.

Trump has said he'll withdraw America from the Paris Climate Agreement to combat climate change. While the agreement became international law this week, making it impossible for a president to withdraw before 2019 or 2020, Trump could refuse to acknowledge the obligations. Trump has also said he would likely terminate current President Obama's Clean Power Plan.

But the election results are complicated. Moore notes that not all Trump supporters are racist, anti-gay, or anti-environmental.

As far as solutions, “We have to stand together or we’re lost,” said one straight white man at the gathering. “They can’t take what they can’t touch and they can’t touch our hearts and our respect for our brothers and sisters.”

One Pacific creative writing professor said “my daughters and I are going forward as warriors of light.”

A Jewish man encouraged the crowd to reflect on the peaceful practices Martin Luther King Jr. led in the 1960s civil rights movement and to use them moving forward in inspiring social change.

“We are the next generation of this country and there will always be people who are willing to fight for justice,” one student said.

A few attendees said they were scared Americans would stop listening to each other, but all agreed conversations need to continue to happen.

Leif Gustavson, dean of the college of education, suggested students identify small steps to take in times of extreme frustration and anger: Get involved in local politics. Write to your state or Congressional representatives. One-third of the U.S. Senate will be up for reelection in two years, he reminded everyone.

Currie ended the talk by asking the crowd what they’d like to say to the gay, transgender, Muslims, survivors of sexual assault and racial minorities in the crowd.

“We will fight with you.”

“We aren’t going to let it happen.”

“If they build a wall, we will tear it down.”

Trump, Hillary or neither?

Here at the News-Times, we believe the most effective way to understand each other is to listen to each other’s stories — not just about what we believe but how we arrived at those beliefs, what kinds of searing or inspiring experiences shaped our view of the world.

We’re looking for people from both sides of the election divide who want to share their personal stories. If you’d like to write something and send it in, please do, although we might want to get more details after reading it. If you’d rather be interviewed and let us do the writing, that’s fine too.

We’d prefer people use their names but if you’re afraid you’ll lose friends or customers because of how you voted (yes, the politicization sometimes seems that bad), we’re willing to publish your story anonymously.

All we ask is that you tell the truth and speak from your heart. Please contact us at 503-357-3181 and ask for the Telling Our Stories editor.

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine