When I first got the text that told me who our next president would be, I exhaled. I let go
of breath that I didn’t even realize I was holding. And, along with that breath, came a
release and an acknowledgement of what we have all survived. Yes, I say survived
because let’s be clear- we all survived the last four years with Trump. And, we have to
honor that because not everyone was so lucky.
I exhaled and then I cried. And, there’s nothing wrong with crying, but for those that
know me, they know it’s not something I do easily. I have been beaten, have had bones
broken, have had my life threatened, have lost babies and dreams and there have been
no tears. But, today, the tears came easily. I was mourning those who did not survive.
Those that were victims of this pandemic- not just those that lost their lives, but their
families who were powerless and often times, separated from their loved ones; those
children who were separated from their parents at borders by walls, detention centers
and separatist ideals; those whose blood was spilled because the sentiment of white
supremacy originated at the white house; the millions who suffered and who did not
make it out of the last administration. I also cried out of sheer joy- the exultation of a
new day and all of the promise that it holds.
As giddy and happy as I was, I want to be clear that the last four years was not a bad
dream. It was not a blip in a flawless democratic system. It is not going to be fixed just
because Trump lost. We have never been perfect, so let’s not fall into that myth.
Instead, let’s think of the last four years as a wake-up call to the deep fissures in our
country- of racism, of sexism, of homophobia- that we need to heal as we move
forward. We also have to heal the divisions in our own communities and in our own
I’m going to start healing with my sisters. We have been traumatized for the last four
years- especially women and girls. And, I mean all women and girls- yes, even you 55%
of white women that voted for Trump. It’s okay, I understand your trauma response to
identify with your perpetrator. That is what we have had for four years- a perpetrator that
we have all had to live with. From the beginning, Trump said it was okay to hurt,
objectify and debase women. He not only said it, he acted on it. And, although women
might have fought back, there was no way we could not internalize that type of abuse in
one way, shape or form. The abuse was pervasive, the poison strong. Having a woman
of color in the Vice Presidency will help ease us into safer spaces, but to move us into
our bravery and truth, Kamala will have to put her feminism into practice. She will have
to- because just having a woman at a place of power doesn’t matter if she doesn’t wield
that power wisely.
This victory is the beginning, but we must continue with our work towards justice. We
must be relentless. My tribe is strong, and we remind each other that what we have
been fighting for exists and calls to us election or not. There is much to do and we all
have a part to play.
But, for today, let’s take a moment to inhale the victory and exhale everything we have
been carrying with us, everything holding us back and down. We’ve just finished fighting
for our lives and for the soul of this country, and that battle must be honored. Let’s
breathe in peace and breathe out all those moments of uncertainty. Let’s celebrate all of
that hard work and community and every single vote cast that exercised our rights. Let’s
move our bodies in dance and lift our voices in song. As Vice President elect, Kamala
Harris tells us- there is struggle but there is joy in it. This is our moment so let’s take it-
because it’s not just Biden and Harris that won today.
Human dignity won.