Minority groups hang on to hope after presidential election

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Riley Katz, senior in gender, women and sexuality studies, chalks a reassuring message on Bosco Student Plaza on Nov. 9, 2016, following the results of the 2016 election. (George Walker | The Collegian)

Republican Donald Trump was announced the next president of the United States Wednesday around 1:45 a.m., shortly after Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s concession phone call to Trump.

The results of the 2016 presidential election were unexpected, based on early predictions of “battleground” states’ outcomes. To many, the results of this close presidential race were disillusioning.

“I felt hopeful to begin with and as it went on throughout the night, it just got more and more terrifying because there was actually the real possibility that Trump was going to be our president,” Riley Katz, president of Kansas State’s Gender Collective and senior in gender, women and sexuality studies, said.

Katz said Trump’s campaign is not one that is known to have a LGBT-friendly mentality. However, while there may be tough changes in store for the LGBT community, no LGBT individual stands alone, Katz said.

There are various supportive resources on campus available to LGBT students, such as the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Gender Collective and more. The nationwide community will work to overcome any future challenges with strength in unity, Holly Nelson, president of K-State’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance and senior in anthropology, said.

“We’re looking at a lot of possibly big policy changes, but there’s never really been a doubt about the LGBTQ community, we know how to fight and support one another, so that’s what we’ll do,” Nelson said.

Chikezie Ehie, K-State alum and former Black Student Union member, said he feels many groups, including blacks, Hispanics, LGBT individuals, Muslims and women will be negatively affected by Trump’s presidency. Women of all backgrounds may face unique challenges over the next four years, such as sexual assault not being taken as seriously as it should be, Ehie said.

“I thought that the America that I believe in would be victorious,” Ehie said. “I never thought that a man who had been on camera, essentially bragging about sexual assault, would win the presidential election.”

For Dion Saunders, BSU member and junior in marketing, it was difficult watching Trump take the title of president because the values of his campaign did not match his own, he said.

“It just seems like he was bashing all these different groups, minorities — Hispanic people, women — and the fact that it became such public knowledge and people were still willing to stand behind that was just disturbing to me,” Saunders said. “You’d think living in 2016, you’d be living in a more progressive time where people are more willing to accept other people for who they are, but it doesn’t really seem like they are (willing to).”

Saunders said he would remind now-fearful Americans that the best thing they can do during Trump’s time as president is have faith and continue trying to live lives that make them happy.

“I still have to go to work every day, still have to pay my rent,” Saunders said. “I don’t know how things are going to turn out over the next four years, or however long he’s in office, but I just know for me, I just have to control what I can control. The president is not the be-all and end-all. You just have to live your life.”

Dan Harris, BSU member and senior in criminology, said he would remind Americans that more people than the president hold power in the United States’ government.

“At the end of the day, you have to deal with the consequences of what’s going on,” Harris said. “I doubt it’ll take us that far downhill. Everybody has a face (that represents) something, but you have to realize that behind closed doors, (the faces) are not the only ones working. There are a lot of other people who have authority and power.”

Determined to encourage positive interaction between people with opposing points of view, Christine Carson, graduate student in biology, spent some of her Wednesday evening chalking messages of compassion and hope on the concrete walkway through Bosco Student Plaza.

“With the recent election, I just feel like there’s been a lot of divide in our country between men and women and between different races and between people who love different ways,” Carson said. “I really wanted to come out and spread some positivity in what seems to be a really dark and negative time.”

Quoting “Star Wars,” Carson said, “Fear leads to hate and so the worst thing that you can really do at this point is be fearful of each other. We need to celebrate our differences and we need to love each other. And when have these conversations with people that we don’t necessarily agree with, that leads to an understanding and that will break fear.”

Editor’s note: A story on the reactions to the results of the election from members of the College Republicans will be in Friday’s edition of the Collegian.

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Danielle Cook
Hey there! I'm Danielle Cook. I'm currently a freshman in journalism and mass communications. I live for telling true stories, so I hope to be doing it for the rest of my life. Luckily, I also live for late nights and early mornings – as long as there's coffee and I'm in good company.