On Tuesday, I woke up excited. Anxious to be sure, but excited about the possibility of electing our first female president, a candidate whom I have supported for years, and a human being that I believed could rescue our America from the coursing wave of populism, nationalism, and hate that has been shaped and nourished by Donald Trump for the past 18 months.
But on Wednesday, I woke up to an entirely different world. All of the hope from 24 hours ago had vanished, and what replaced it was a silent, desolate campus filled with crying souls screaming for their safety, their rights, their humanity. Never in my life have I cried for so long over something so external to my own being, and never in my life have I felt so hopeless to be an American. I feel as though I have been robbed of my words, and that is terrifying for someone like me.
I still have not fully processed what has happened. I have not begun to rationalize it and I cannot accept it. I haven’t really stopped crying. But I am going to get my words back, and I am going to give everyone else their words back, too.
This magazine is so special to me, and it is in times like these that I am reminded of the power that it can have. Street is a platform for student voices and it exists to foster, promote and encourage both cultural expression and discussion of ideas among the Penn student body. On Tuesday, that expression and those ideas became inextricably bound to the results of the election. Whether the results made you feel like your voice had been ripped out of you, or whether they made you feel like you finally got your voice back, the result is so intrinsically connected to the importance of self-expression that we cannot overlook for a moment the unique position it affords us.
And so this week, I give you an issue of Street that is comprised entirely of reflections on the election. We crowd sourced the student body for their thoughts, their reactions, their feelings, and we have published them in the pages that follow—unedited, unabridged, unfiltered. The response we received was overwhelming, and it has felt like the first step to getting better. Putting together this issue has helped bring me something positive today, and it has given me my voice back. I can only hope it will do the same for you.