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Director's Nov. 4 Message

It seems unlikely that any of you reading this have missed the highly contentious nature of this year’s elections. Many of my colleagues who know more about politics are writing insightful commentaries, and I defer to their political expertise as we wait for official results. 

From our vantage point at the Women’s Center, however, I do have a few observations to share:

1. People are experiencing a range of reactions.

As we await announcements of results, I've been anticipating that we will see people experiencing a range of reactions to the outcome of the presidential election and down-ballot races as well. Regardless of the winner, some people will be happy that their preferred candidate won, while some will be upset that their preferred candidate lost. And others will have made the challenging decision to vote, not for the candidate or party they prefer but for the one they think can better serve and lead us in spite of a difference in party affiliation. They are likely to have complicated feelings about the outcome. If the candidate they reluctantly voted for wins, there may be some bittersweetness in backing a candidate they perhaps wouldn’t normally support. If the candidate they voted for loses, there may be lingering and complex reactions to their desired party – but not candidate – winning. 

Regardless of the outcome, we have work ahead to rebuild, repair, recreate relationships that have been strained and broken by politics. 

2. Leaning on your self-care plan makes a difference.

In any stressful time, leaning on your self-care plan becomes more crucial, not less important. I shared this infographic from Therapy for Black Girls with the Women’s Center staff and interns on Monday morning:

We need to practice self-care as we await the results – and as we move into the next season of responding to and implementing those results. 

3. The intertwined tensions of this year highlight the issues our country faces.

Regardless of the winner, the intertwined tensions of this year have highlighted the issues our country faces with a renewed emphasis. These are issues that our students care deeply about: the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare economic inequalities, extreme weather events demand attention for the climate, the increased demands on women’s caretaking are exacerbating gendered employment inequities, the protests for racial justice remind us of the work still to be done.

Efforts to build a better future for everyone must necessarily be multi-faceted, and we all have a role to play. When I look at the rancor that characterizes this election season, I also see all of the people engaging in democratic debate, and I’m reminded that each one of us bears responsibility for our democracy. We encourage you to implement your self-care plan and invite you to join our work to address the multiple crises we face.

 

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