I don't know if these were the right or wrong moves. What I do know is that the frosting on the cake has started to droop, and all but one balloon has fallen to the ground. This morning, Zoe, my eight-year-old, said to me, “The balloons deflated because Trump won the election." I smiled and gave her a tight squeeze. She told me on the way home from school yesterday that Devin, her teacher, was crying at one point during the day. Then, she changed it slightly. "I saw him lift up his glasses and wipe his eyes. I’m pretty sure he was crying." How could he not with those 17 defeated little faces staring up at him for guidance and his three daughters at home? She told me that she comforted him by telling him how much I was crying when Hillary was giving her concession speech.
Despite the sadness, I am beginning to see little signs of hope, and I’m finding them very close to home.
My older daughter goes to an all-girls' school and the plan had been for a celebratory march. The girls still marched but instead they marched for what they know is right, chanting “Together we band, together we fight, together we stand, for what’s right. What do we stand for?” Then, they took turns yelling rights for which they feel passionate. The school is located on a college campus, and they covered most of it. My daughter was so proud to tell me that many of the college students cheered them on and that some of them even joined in and everyone seemed really happy that they were there. It all sounded very uplifting and empowering.
At my younger daughter's school, they had a class meeting first thing in the morning to talk about what everyone was feeling. Later in the day, the younger children gathered in front of the school’s main entrance with homemade signs filled with messages of peace, love, kindness, community, mutual respect, inclusion, whatever they wanted to include. People honked their horns as they drove by. Afterward, the children and their teachers gathered on the school's steps and sang songs that included “We Shall Overcome." I was lucky enough to be there and to soak in some of the positive energy, something I have been missing greatly these last couple of days.
At my husband's school (he is a high school teacher), the students held a walkout and gathered outside for discussion, chants, and prayer. My husband was teaching a class of freshmen at the time, and he said that only a few initially got up and joined. The rest were nervous and weren’t sure what to do. He encouraged them to be part of history, telling them: "There's a lot more education going on outside than in this geometry class right now. What are you guys going to tell your kids when they ask you what you did the day after you found out that Trump was going to be your president?"
For my 17-year-old niece in San Francisco, it was too hard to stay at school where “everyone was acting like everything was normal” and people were looking at her strangely because she was crying. So, she left and took a public bus to BART and headed to UC Berkeley where she joined a campus sit in.
Our children are making change happen. We better get moving.