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Tears to Triumph: How the Trump Presidency Changed My World

At 8:30 pm on November 8th,  2016 I sat on my bathroom floor and cried. I had just gotten home from rowing practice where I had spent two hours leading 8 girls in a 60-foot long boat while anticipating the joy I would feel once the United States of America elected its first female president. Naïvely, I had never dreamt that a xenophobic, misogynist would inhabit the same office as someone like Barack Obama.I had phone banked for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina and Ohio in the month leading up to the election. I took her loss as something personal. And for many it really was. My mom had bought us tickets to Washington D.C. to witness Clinton’s inauguration, instead, along with 500,000 people we attended the Women’s March. Thus my journey of grappling with the reality of the Trump Presidency and intersectionality began. During the past four years,  I acutely followed the inflammatory politics, misinformation flowing from the White House, and the constant scandals radiating through the administration. As a Government and Public Policy major I was struck by the constant storm of falsehoods and decided to dedicate my high school and early college career to working for candidates and campaigns that championed the truth that was so lacking within the White House and the Supreme Court. In 2018 I watched as Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed, scared that young men around me would be emboldened to repeat his behaviors. Like the rest of the class of 2020, my senior year of high school was completed on Zoom because of the President’s ineptitude and carelessness to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past four years, I have realized that the adults in power are not going to save me. My generation has to be selfish. We have to put the future of our climate first.  We learned shelter in place drills in our classrooms because our government isn’t able to protect us from “bad guys with guns”.  I have friends and family that lived in fear of what would happen if they lost their health insurance. Hearing the constant struggles of those closest to me worried me about what a future under four more years of this presidency would hold, so I started organizing. 
For two years, I worked as an advocate for racial equity at my high school in California, where I also worked to advocate for mental health awareness as a peer educator on issues surrounding sex, drug use, and mental health. After graduating I established the Marin Alumni Network for Equity and Inclusion with a focus on creating a safer environment for BIPOC students, faculty, and staff. I learned to facilitate meetings, write press releases, and voice my concerns to those in both elected and chosen authority positions. This work didn’t stop when I moved to Brookline to study remotely at Smith College, it only intensified. I stayed up late glued to Zoom board meetings and bi-monthly calls with administrators. When I wasn’t doing those calls or studying, I worked as a fellow on the Ed Markey for U.S. Senate  Campaign. This work allowed for change in a world that felt politically feudal.  I know our work is far from over. The loss of Donald Trump won’t change the injustices minorities are facing and it won’t change the threat of climate change, but it has given me hope that our country is willing to start focusing on truth, dignity, and democracy as our nation’s core values.
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