In the weeks following the presidential election, college students across the country experienced distress, disenchantment, and expressed fear and anxiety due to the elections’ results.
Colleges and universities have had their campus counselors offer resources like “healing” and meditation spaces for students to manage post-election sorrow.
On November 29, Bloomfield College faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Westminster Arts Center to discuss their thoughts about the election.
The College hosted “‘I, Too, Sing America,’ Student Reflections on the 2016 Election.” The name payed homage to the 1945 poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes. “I, Too” demonstrates a yearning for equality through perseverance while disproving the idea that patriotism is limited by race.
The discussion was moderated by professors Dr. Harry Franqui Rivera and Dr. Ada McKenzie Thomas, and students were invited to the podium to express their fears and hopes for the future of America.
“I was heartened by the students' candor and courage in sharing their views on the election in an open forum,” expressed Dr. McKenzie. “As a faculty member, I'm grateful that the College community supports events of this nature.”
“I see this event as the first of many,” stated Dr. Franqui-Rivera. “Providing spaces where students can engage in dialogue and exercise their freedom of speech without fearing reprisals is part of the college’s mission of creating global engaged citizens.”
College President Richard A. Levao and Dr. Tresmaine Grimes, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, also attended.
“Our recent Presidential election evoked strong emotional responses both here and abroad. I am gratified that students at Bloomfield College had the opportunity to share their opinions about the election and to consider their personal role in the American electoral process,” said Dr. Grimes. “Kudos to the faculty of the College for providing our students with a safe place to engage in this type of discourse.”
Leading up to November 29, students were encouraged to share their thoughts on the election on social media with the hashtag #BCStudentsSpeakOut. Throughout the event, the students’ social media comments played over two screens.
A common theme throughout most of the students' candid speeches was to stay positive.
“We need to stay positive,” said Erick McKimmon ’17. “He’s not our king, he’s our president, and the President of the United States of America does not hold all the power.”
“Hopefully we can keep coming together, like today,” said Marquis Price, a Broadcast Journalism student. “The Bloomfield College community is in this together.”
Price stated that he was not able to attend class the day following the election, because he was too upset.
Jahvon Brown ’18 delicately warned the crowd that though positivity is wonderful, authenticity during this time is crucial.
“Faking positivity is not the way to go,” said Brown. “Instead, just be genuine. If you’re upset, be upset. If you’re angry, be angry. If you’re sad, be sad. I am all for unity and remaining positive, but we must realize our issues first.”
“If you want to help, you need to listen,” said Adeline Argabrite ’20, echoing Brown. “You can’t put the responsibility of making changes on the people who are oppressed. As a white woman, I’m already nearly at ‘the top’ of our country’s hierarchy, and I still don’t feel like I’m free.”