Today, I sit here at my computer hurt and confused. I’m exhausted, the weather is gloomy and the general attitude on campus is sadness and anger. It’s a rare occasion, to walk around campus and exchange glances with peers, teachers and friends, silently understanding the negativity in their minds. I woke up today to tears, fear, anxiety and a glass ceiling still intact. Worse yet, I also woke up to hatred. Hatred in our leadership and hatred within ourselves.
Scrolling through social media, we see the hurt from both sides of our deeply divided country. Do not feel afraid to talk about what you are feeling. Whatever your opinion, express it. You’re allowed to feel hurt, ecstatic, or shocked. You are entitled to everything you feel, but keep in mind that the person next to you is as well. Diversity of opinion should be celebrated, and genuinely listening to those opinions that diverge from our own will foster better understanding and unity. Not listening keeps us stagnant. It is a sad day for many, but it’s also an indicator of the progress we must make.
Today, my Dad told me to “talk to someone who doesn't agree with you about what happened last night. We got into this because we only talk to people who agree with us. Talk to someone who doesn't. You don't have to agree, just listen.” This is the goal I set for myself, and implore all of you to do this as well. Talk to someone you disagree with. Try to understand what seems impossible to understand; try to find common ground. The path forward requires a deeper understanding of the emotions that divide us. We need to listen and understand each other before we make forward progress.
To many of us that are hurt, take your hurt or hatred and channel it into change. It is up to us now. If you haven’t seen the map of millennial votes in this election, take a look. You can see a bright future ahead full of progress and change. Let’s remember to look out for the most vulnerable; minorities, women, LGBTQs, immigrants, the disabled and other marginalized identities need support now, more than ever. We need to change the way we talk about our issues. I hope my Dad’s thoughts encourage you to try to bridge these gaps that divide us, as they did to me.