Today, a majority of my country told me that I am less than human.

A majority of Americans decided that my Latin skin denotes inferiority. They told me that whom I love is a cause for moral shame. They told me that if you are queer, Muslim, black, brown, differently-abled, an immigrant, or a woman, you have reason to be afraid. Today, a majority of America told me that national progress is an American dream, not an American reality.

By electing Donald Trump to our nation’s highest office, a majority of America upheld a national character that sanctioned sexual assault, police brutality, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, misogyny, ableism, and transphobia. Instead of breaking a glass ceiling, this character has fortified it. Instead of acknowledging environmental crisis, this character ignores it. Instead of protecting human dignity, this national identity brings tears to members of marginalized communities who fear for their lives. It is a character of a schoolhouse bully made incarnate by a man who now as the full capacity of the world’s greatest military at his fingertips. This bully ascends to power as the world watches, his regime a sacrilege of a nation that was founded as a beacon of hope.

As I pass this realization through my mind, I cannot help but to feel the very physical manifestations of the mental terror that has overtaken my body. My stomach throbs with a dull pain. My eyes reveal a paralyzing terror, a sobering disappointment, and growing anger. I am disappointed that all of the emotional, physical, and mental labor that so many Americans put into protecting human dignity went to waste. I am angry that many of my peers did not consider defending human dignity as worth the time to go to the polls.

The Blue Devils United community will continue to offer a space where students, faculty, and staff who are afraid, disappointed, and angry can heal. We will offer an intersectional space where marginalized communities and our allies can breathe easy and find solace. When the time comes, we will continue our complex work to attain the progress that we have been long denied. However, today is not that time. Today is a time for refuge, for healing, for finding comfort. To the members of these marginalized communities, protect yourselves today, our collective work to shape the future can begin in the morning.

To our allies, remember that many Americans did not have the opportunity to choose between Clinton or Trump. Instead, we were forced to choose between safety and violence. Today, violence won and fear was intensified. It became visceral, and it was woven into the future of our nation. As a result, this election did not have a fairy tale ending: good did not conquer evil, light did not overcome darkness.

Yesterday, President Obama assured the nation that “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.” Like an omen of our reality, I woke up to a gray sky as a cold rain drizzled from dark clouds. Today, hate is triumphant. Tomorrow, justice must prevail.

Steven Soto

President, Blue Devils United