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Presidential Election Listening Forum Recap

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Photo credit: Katie Dewry ’19.

During activities period on Thursday, November 17, members of the Emmanuel community gathered in the Library Lecture Hall to debrief the results of last week’s presidential election.

The discussion was facilitated by Jeff Smith, the Director of Multicultural Programs, and Psychology professor Dr. Clare Mehta.

Smith opened the discussion by inviting people to share their general reflections how how they were feeling after the election

“I believe that the intention of this dialogue is to get people talking regardless of views, we want to hear how people from both sides are reacting,” Smith said. “If you have a feeling that is different from someone else’s please share it. This is a Constructive dialogue, that is considerate of all viewpoints and all sides.”

Many people who attended the session were women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. The majority of the people who offered their reflections, both students and faculty a like, commented on how they had been feeling shocked, saddened, and discouraged after the election.

“This election was really eye opening because it exposed me to a harsh reality,” said Katie Gilmore ’19. “I thought our country was more progressive, I thought that we valued equality and I feel like these election results don’t show that.”

“As a person of color I feel particular vulnerable. I am not one of the groups that Trump has outwardly targeting, but my family are immigrants,” said Psychology professor Dr. Linda Lin. “The morning after the election when I told my two daughters that Trump had won, they asked me if we were going to have to leave the country because we aren’t white.”

One of the things that the group discussed in depth was the effects that living on a liberal college campus had on our outlook of this election.

“I feel like we’re in a safe place where we know we can talk about things here. Once we leave Emmanuel, it’s a different world,” said Jessie Wang ’19. “I’m from Miami, so when I go home I’m in a place that’s split down the middle. I don’t know how if we can have these constructive conversations there.”

After a couple minutes of reflection, Smith encouraged the group to think about ways our community can heal and move forward.

The group focused on the importance of having educated discourse and taking the time to listen to people who have different views, as well as taking action towards change.

“The word that comes to my mind is diligence. We have to keep this emotional drive that we have right now,” said Chemistry professor Dr. Bryan Sears. “We have to remember what we are feeling now so we don’t normalize this, so we don’t become accustomed to this. I encourage you all to put something in your everyday life that reminds you of what you feel now to ensure that you remember it.”

As the discussion came to a close, Smith encouraged people to bring to mind a specific issue that they felt very strongly about, and how they might move forward in a positive way on that issue in the near future. He encouraged people to make a commitment small or large to make change on their card.

“I feel like there is power in discussion, in listening to other people’s ideas,” said CJ LaCreta ’20, “So I think this forum was a step in the right direction.”

Katie Drewry ’19 is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at drewryk@emmanuel.edu.

Posted by on November 22, 2016. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.