Upstanding one hug at a time

Today was a strange day.
First, one of my professors leaned on me. During class I could see that she was struggling. I waited after class until everyone else had left and said, “You okay? You look like you could use a hug.” She broke. I held her. We had an intense moment together while she told me about her family and her heritage and the ways this election not only puts her at risk, but also tells her pretty explicitly that there are millions of people who don’t value her life. We connected in a way we hadn’t before – she’s always kept herself aloof. I shared my fears, and my determination to be a better ally, to offer support and comfort and aid whenever I could, in whatever ways I could.
Then, I went to a shop on the hill to get some supplies before my next class. The woman behind the counter was Asian. We started talking and when I told her that I was upset and ashamed about the way the election went, she confessed her fears, and those of her children. She wept when I held her hand and looked her in the eye to tell her that I was glad she was here, that her children were here and to promise them that I was fighting for them, and would continue to fight for their safety and their right to be here. I assured her that she is not alone. We hugged.
There were other smaller events, smaller moments of connection, moments where I saw someone hurting and made my allyship explicit and told them in no uncertain terms that I had their back, that I would work and fight and do everything in my power to keep them and those they love from harm, and that I was not alone in this effort.
Friends, again, I ask you – stand up, speak up, reach out – protect those who are feeling abandoned by their nation, who feel threatened not just by this president, but by the people who voted him into office. Recognize their fear, and offer them support.
I see people asking what the big deal is, I’ve seen and heard people joking about deportation… This is not a joke, this is not a drill. During this campaign people were threatened in direct and explicit terms, and the person who threatened them is now our president-elect.
Feel that. What would you need in order to feel safe in that environment? Offer that. Exude that. Being an ally requires action, it requires compassion, it requires letting your guard down enough to see, and it requires owning that fixing this mess is our job.
Let’s get to work.


Filed under Naive idealism, Rant, Things that work

8 responses to “Upstanding one hug at a time

  1. This is so painful. I started crying yesterday in office hours when an orthodox Jewish student asked me how I was doing. How I am doing is really, really worried for her, and for so many of my students, and so many people. I felt bad being the one crying rather than the one comforting, but my students are, largely speaking, young (18), and largely privileged, and thus often naive, and I’m not certain that they really get what a thing we’ve done, and I seem more shaken by this than many of them do, in spite of being the one less likely to be immediately harmed by the consequences. Thank you for this thoughtful and gentle post.

    But yes: let’s get to work.

    • I’m sorry for your pain, and for your fear. I feel them too. I want to reach through the ether and offer you a hug.
      Stay strong – engage in self-care. Accept support and comfort when it is offered and return it when it is needed.
      And then – turn your anger, and your fear, and your frustration and disappointment into action.
      I will keep posting my ideas, my thoughts, my experiences and I will continue to share others. I will do my part to offer support, to build momentum, to continue moving our nation forward for all of us. Come visit any time you need to know you are not alone.

  2. Thank you so much for this, Bree. I loved it and shared it! LOVE ❤️ Lynda

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Sandybreit

    Thank you so much for these posts; they have given me some hope that if we do all work to “be the helpers” there is actually a chance that our country will be better than ever. The election! of Trump may be what will tip us to take personal action and stop sitting back expecting that someone else is taking care of things. There really is a great deal of work to do — school children are chanting “build the wall” and “white power.” This is a very dark time in the history of our country!

    • It is indeed a dark time, but I am holding onto one of my favorite quotes – “All the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of one small candle.”
      So for now, I will be the candle. And as we come together we will form a lighthouse to guide people through these dangerous times.

  4. Rebecca Visscher

    Amazing! I love you so much. Mama

    On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 7:25 PM, ThinkBannedThoughts Blog wrote:

    > thinkbannedthoughts posted: ” Today was a strange day. First, one of my > professors leaned on me. During class I could see that she was struggling. > I waited after class until everyone else had left and said, “You okay? You > look like you could use a hug.” She broke. I held her. W” >

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