An Evening of Dance

Student groups mobilize on campus with activist efforts, brainstorming discussions

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November 14, 2016

11:17 PM

Because of concerns over how some of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed policies may negatively affect their lives, members of several minority student organizations organized discussions about how they are going to mobilize and move forward from the election.

Friday, Nov. 11, the Africana House of the College of William and Mary presented the discussion “A Brave Space,” opening doors for students to express their feelings about the election and its influence on their lives.

Students of different ethnic backgrounds attended the event, and several members of the counseling center staff were also present to extend their support.
Preston Neukirch ’18 voiced his worries. He said that the unknown supporters of Trump on campus made him feel unsafe.

“I feel unsafe because I don’t know who supported Trump. I don’t know which members of this student body supported Trump and which members of the student body by association supported the very white supremacy that keeps me down every day,” Neukirch said. “Another thing is the harassments that have been going on. I really don’t know if somebody is going to harass me on a day-to-day basis.”

The program director of the Africana House, Aliyah Wooten ’18, also presented her opinions on campus safety.

“When I think of the safety on [the] William and Mary campus, I’m not immediately threatened. But when we have circumstances like the Election Day results, I think the Election Day results gave people the opportunity to express how they felt. In the instances like that, there are communities starting to feel unsafe,” Wooten said.

Similar worries are shared by Latin-American students, especially those who are living in the United States without legal permission.

In the Latin American Student Union’s discussion on Thursday, Nov. 10, students were concerned about their lives both on and off campus.

“[The election day result] has influenced us [Latin Americans] a lot,” one Latino student of the College who is living in the United States without legal permission said. “Now that Trump was elected, we’re all in fear that DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] will most likely be taken away, and it’s hard to deal with, like, not knowing if we’re not going to be here next year or if our parents and families who are also undocumented would be here as well. So it’s really fearful for all of us.”

“[The election day result] has influenced us [Latin Americans] a lot,” one Latino student of the College who is living in the United States without legal permission said. “Now that Trump was elected, we’re all in fear that DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] will most likely be taken away, and it’s hard to deal with, like, not knowing if we’re not going to be here next year or if our parents and families who are also undocumented would be here as well. So it’s really fearful for all of us.”

Lambda Alliance Social Outreach Chair Trace Hernandez ’18 said that Trump’s administration had proven to be very unfriendly to LGBTQ communities.

“I have a more elevated consciousness of what I’m wearing and who I’m interacting with and who I’m talking to,” Hernandez said. “I’m definitely feeling wary and more alert.”

LASU has been collecting questions from Latino students. Those questions will be sent to College President Taylor Reveley, asking what the College would do for Latino students, especially DACA students, in terms of providing scholarships and enabling students to continue their studies in college.

The Lambda Alliance plans to make activism a top priority in the future and engage in queer communities beyond the membership of Lambda to notify others about how the results would affect them and how the community would move forward in the future.

In addition, students from different minority groups said they believed that both uniting with other communities and seeking more understanding were the key to creating a safe space on campus and moving forward in the future.

The Latino student living in the United States without legal permission also expressed the perspectives of minority groups mobilizing with the unification of different groups in communities.

“Everybody has to keep an open mind … to bring awareness of what we’re going through. Now all we can do is to stand together,” the student said. “We don’t really know about the future, and we don’t really know what’s coming … so in order to keep going, we’re just sticking together. We’re coming together with other groups. We’re feeling their pain as well. We feel sympathy with others too because not just us Latinos [are] being affected. So it’s good that we’re coming together.”

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  • Yutong Zhan