Canada is Not Helpless in the Post-Election World

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5 brilliant women remind us to keep fighting & tap into our collective strength

“Loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for
what’s right is worth it.”

– Hillary Clinton

Let’s put it simply: Trump is president and dark times lie ahead.

Women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ folk, Muslims, people with disabilities, and many other marginalized groups are now living in an America that openly neglects their safety. Young, determined men and women who poured their heart and soul into Hillary’s campaign are wondering why it wasn’t enough. LGBTQ+ youth are fearful for their day-to-day safety. Muslims are unveiling because the hijab now means danger. Parents are struggling to explain Trump’s victory to their children and millions of immigrants are uncertain if America is still a place to call home. A very real panic has fallen over the United States as the reality of a progressive America fades further and further into the background. Racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia have officially found a home in the United States presidency. But now is not the time to become complacent. Now is not the time to let our eyes gloss over as we watch Trump’s America breed hate. Staying silent only means there is more room for the wrong voice, and that we cannot accept.

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard
or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid.
So it is better to speak.”

– Audre Lorde

In light of this new reality we cannot spend time wondering why. We cannot devote our time to picking the brains of the men and women who voted for Trump because we will simply never understand. It is not the woman’s job, the trans man’s job, or the Muslim girl’s job to explain why an overwhelming number of Americans do not consider them human and why. It is our job, however, to organize and fight. It is very much our job to stand in solidarity with our American friends– black, white, indigenous, Hispanic, queer, Muslim, persons with disabilities– and extend our helping hand however we can.

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“I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely
because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not
as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to
be a part of an ongoing historical movement.”

– Angela Davis

If you’re a Canadian and your latest tweet is something about how happy you are to be living in Canada, you are very much headed in the wrong direction. I cannot stress enough how much this is not the time to be celebrating your safety at the expense of someone else’s danger. How seriously this is not the time to be sitting comfortably in your own bubble of security because you are not black, because you are not queer, because you are not American. The United States needs its allies now more than ever, and parading around with an obnoxious grin because our Prime Minister attended Pride this year (don’t get me wrong– endless love and respect to Justin Trudeau) is probably the least “Canadian” thing for us to do right now. What America really needs from Canadians is our whole-hearted loyalty and support. The future of the United States demands that our activism goes beyond the laptop screen and penetrates deeper into the American fight. This is not the first time America has encountered systematized racism, sexism, homophobia etc. at the hands of their presidency, and will most certainly not be their last. And so now is the time to assess the ways in which we can make a difference. Now is the time to donate to the various organizations that exist under threat like Planned Parenthood or GLAAD. To show our support for these organizations is to show our alliance with the people that need them. And if you’re feeling particularly determined in these trying times, make a donation to Planned Parenthood on behalf of Mike Pence in the name of poetic justice.

“You’ve got to rattle your cage door. You’ve got to let them know
that you’re in there, and that you want out. Make noise. Cause trouble.
You may not win right away, but you’ll sure have a lot more fun.”

– Florynce Kennedy

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The severity of this election didn’t hit me when I was watching the numbers turn in Florida or even when I woke up to a very angry and horrified Twitter feed the next morning. It hit me when I heard the voice of someone I love express their very real fear about publicly walking hand-in-hand with their partner. In that moment, it became horribly clear how quickly the aftermath of this election had rippled across borders and how immediately fear had crept into the hearts and minds of the people we love. It is for that reason that Canadians must acknowledge our part in this fight. It is for that reason that we– Canadian, American, black, white, gay, straight– must continue to stand with the people that have felt the crushing failures of this system far too many times. That we acknowledge there is still work to be done. That we continue to surprise ourselves with what we are capable of. That we assert ourselves as the generation that does better.

“I raise up my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without
a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

– Malala Yousafzai

In solidarity,

Jenna Chasse
Online Contributor