My name is Chelsie Webster and I am a 27 year old woman who has been grabbed by a strange man without my permission. He thought that it was his right to touch and feel me, a stranger, because he was a man and I was a young woman. He did this just because he wanted to. This made me feel violated, upset and unsafe. A man whom brags about this very act is now in a position to make choices about my body. My heart hurts.
For 5 years, I have taught muslim students. I have seen their faces light up because of their minds opening up to something new, because of my mispronunciation of their names and because I don’t know the words to the new Rihanna song as well as they do. I have met their wonderful, caring, refugee parents. I have seen the light that resides within these beautiful people. Their desire to make a good and respected life for themselves. Our president elect has reduced their religion to an ugly, scary, lie. My heart hurts.
I am the great-granddaughter of immigrants. Somehow, we have all forgotten that most of us own a story similar to this one. We are here because someone back down the line chose to come here and make something of themselves. Mr. Trump has somehow equivocated the word “immigrant” to “un-American” and promoted building a wall to keep “them” out when our country was litterally built on the immigrant story (re: Hamilton). My heart hurts.
I have friends that have been targeted by hate groups like the KKK. They have felt unsafe in our country because of the color of their skin. The KKK has endorsed Mr. Trump and his ideals. He is now the leader of the free world. My heart hurts.
I teach children. My passion is in growing beautiful humans that are compassionate and empathetic and thoughtful. I would never let them say the things that have come out Mr. Trumps mouth. We have active anti-bullying programs in our schools, on Twitter, on Facebook and in our communities. We protect our loved ones from bullies with vigor. Mr. Trump, you have frequently bullied others with no remorse. You are now our children’s President and their example of a leader. My heart hurts.
Today, the American people elected an openly misogynist, proudly xenophobic, arrogantly racist, bullying, demagogue. My heart hurts.
My only response to Mr. Trump and this decision in this moment, is to try my damnedest to spread more good than all of his hate and fear. I will live each day with more love and compassion and empathy and acceptance than I ever have before. I will change this world for the better, Trump rhetoric be damned.
I will stand for the disenfranchised and the scared. I will remind my tiny girls in hijabs that they are worthy of the american dream and that they will grow to be great and powerful and good. I will teach all of my boys that a woman is someone to be respected and model this by expecting respect from the men in my life. I will remind my girlfriends that I will always love their grit, heart and passions more than I will ever care about their physical appearance. I will reach out into disagreements with compassion and the intention to empathize and compromise. I will always remember that there is more good in this world than evil, and the good will always remain more powerful.
And Mr. President Elect, I expect the same from you.
As I would tell any of my 6 year old students acting as you have, you MUST make better choices. The way you treat people and talk to others matters. The american people have spoken, and I will respect this choice and the democratic process, but I will need more from you as the president of this great nation. We will need more from you. Make better choices. Because right now, the citizens of the United States of America, our collective heart hurts.