Since the United States election, many people have told me that I do not need to be concerned about Donald Trump’s presidency because I do not live in the U.S. While I certainly do not have the same fears as many marginalized people living in the U.S., the threat and reality of Trump’s presidency has had an effect and will continue to have an effect on our country and on our lives. Trump’s ideas about women, people of colour, queer people, people with disabilities and many others do not go unnoticed, but often go unchallenged or unquestioned by many, which is extremely disturbing.
For so many reasons, these concerns about what Trump represents have a place on our campus. Racism, sexism, ableism, classism, queerphobia, xenophobia, transphobia and many other forms of oppression do not exist solely within the U.S. They are present on our campus.
Mt. A has a culture of sexual violence, and we have seen a rise in hate and backlash against feminists. Our campus is very physically inaccessible, and we have had to fight to keep our women’s and gender studies program in order to educate people about issues facing our school and our world. We have racism present within our students’ union and we began the year with a Residence Life Code of Conduct that assigned demerit points as a consequence for sexual violence. These are just a few examples of oppression and injustice facing our community that must be stopped.
Most recently, the night that Trump was inaugurated, someone drew a Swastika in the snow on the football field. This is not a coincidence or a joke and it should not be taken lightly. This act is a blatant demonstration of hate and to dismiss it is to continue to ignore that we have racism on our campus. As Tasia Alexopoulos wrote in her Feb. 19 Argosy op-ed titled “Against Fascism, for Feminism,” Sackville is not a utopia; we have to dream of better worlds and fight for them if we want things to change.
With all of this in mind, I am devastated for the marginalized people who will experience an increase in hate due to Trump’s presidency and whose lives will be made difficult or put in danger because of his decisions in the U.S. At this time, I am reminded that we need to organize, take care of each other and ourselves and be firm in our beliefs and actions. I am inspired by the women’s marches that occurred in the U.S. and across the globe and I have hope that events like this will continue over the next four years. There are a lot of great people on this campus and in this world who are dedicated to fighting oppression and injustice. We need to find each other and know that this work will not stop because of Trump’s presidency.