In the hours following the results of Election 2016, we’ve heard from several teachers and parents struggling to make sense of Donald Trump’s victory with their students and families. Like many adults, many young people are also confused and angered by the success of his campaign, and processing deep fears about what his rise might mean for their personal lives and our nation as a whole.
We at The LAMP don’t have all the answers. There is no blueprint for this. 96% of our students are non-white, and felt targeted and threatened by many of the Trump campaign messages. They’re unsure about what’s next for them and their families, and so are we. But there are a few things we do know are important to focus on in discussing how we got here, and what comes next.
Put this election into context. This isn’t the first time in history America has elected a such president (Bush, Nixon, Andrew Jackson). The struggle continues.
2. The media’s role.
Right now we’re shocked and feeling the pain. That’s being amplified by the media focus, framing and attention. And the shock is especially profound for those of us isolated in both our algorithmically curated social media bubbles in which we’ve de-friended all the people who we don’t agree with or have come to loathe as a result of the polarizing rhetoric and propaganda.
3. Goodness is right in front of us.
While the media focus is overwhelmingly negative, good things are happening right now right here. We should pay attention. I woke up to my kid wanting to feed me a cracker. That was nice. I saw a young man offer his seat to a pregnant woman on the bus. That was kind. I got to work with kids this morning doing interesting, fun, creative and critical activities they have never done before. That was inspiring.
You are not alone. There are millions more who are feeling what you feel and experiencing what you are experiencing. We struggle together. We resist together.
5. Young people have a voice.
Let them know if they speak, they will be heard. We’ll help them be heard. We can show them how to use media to find their voice and speak to an audience who will listen. The energy, ideas, imagination and determination of young people seeking justice will change the world. They need to know we trust them and that we’ll help them find purpose no matter the struggle.