University hosts 'Day After' event in response to election result
On Wednesday night, students, faculty and community members gathered in the Business College Complex for an event called "The Day After." This event provided an inclusive space where members of the community could reflect on the election and voice their thoughts.
The first hour of The Day After included attendees asking a panel of alumni questions about where the country is headed and what can be done in response. The second half of the event consisted of public comment, when those attending the event could voice their opinions, concerns, thoughts and feelings through telling stories, asking the panel questions, writing down their ideas on notecards or tweeting using the hashtag #MSUDayAfter.
Many of the concerns attendees had centered around the idea of moving forward after the election. Race relations were heavily discussed, and many audience members expressed overall feelings of fear and frustration.
“To me, what I’m more afraid of than anything he’ll do is how much more emboldened and empowered people who are filled with so much hate for women, for Muslims, for people of color, for LGBTQ people, all of that, feel like they have the support to do their thing,” public health senior Jacob Hall said. “To do their hate crimes and to do those things and to feel like there’s not going to be any repercussions for that because if (president-elect Donald Trump) can say it and do it and get elected, why can’t we?”
Throughout the event, positivity was encouraged through asking the audience members to think of things they were grateful for and by looking for hope. Students and other community members also shared personal stories, which ranged from racism faced within MSU to immigration stories.
Environmental geosciences junior Savannah Guinyard said she went to The Day After to hear what others were thinking after the election.
“It’s just kind of good to know that, I guess, people are feeling the same way,” she said. “I think the whole election was a hot mess. I think it could’ve been much better, but I was shocked, I was very disappointed as a black person, I felt not that this country had let me down, but that it was just more evident of all the racism and everything that’s going on.”
After the event was said and done, the conversations continued. Those who attended used social media and wrote on large pieces of paper their needs, thoughts, feelings and what they were grateful for.
Assistant Director for Residence Education Antonio Pee, who helped facilitate The Day After, said he believes The Day After was a success.
“We knew whichever way the election went, there was going to be fall out, there were going to be a lot of emotions around it whether Hillary was elected or Trump was elected,” he said.
This anticipation of an array of emotions led to the creation of The Day After, Pee said. The space was ultimately available as a safe place for open discussion and expression and was a space for the continuation of major conversations, Pee said.
“So while most of the evening was people venting their frustrations, venting gives people an outlet to express their emotion so that they can go back and do some of that community building between one another,” he said.
Conversations and the expression of concerns will continue through more upcoming events for students and community members. There will be an event Thursday at the Rock on Farm Lane from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., “Rally Against Hate, Bigotry, Racism, & Sexism at MSU,” and next week on Monday and Tuesday, “Healing Spaces” will be set up in the Union from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., which will act as spaces for debate-free discussion of issues facing MSU community members.
Moving forward, Guinyard said she will have to work even harder to be successful so she can break stereotypes.
“I can, as they say, pull my people up,” she said. “And just stay hopeful. Encourage people. Just make changes.”