Despite Black women showing up at the polls to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, it was reality star business man Donald Trump that was named the winner.
And given Trump’s problematic political stances, hateful rhetoric and Far Right (mostly white) transition team, it’s no surprise that many of us are terrified about what the future holds for our country. But thankfully, our legacy is of beautiful and resilient people refusing to lie down and accept oppression.
We never give up. We never stay silent. We never roll over. We fight on.
But what will that resistance look and feel like in our everyday lives? To get a better understanding, HELLO BEAUTIFUL reached out to African-American women from around the country and asked, “What are your personal strategies to surviving a Trump presidency?”
Here are their powerful and inspiring responses:
Kristin Anderson, 33
“My daily mantra will be ‘I am the positive change I’ve been waiting for. I am going be unapologetic about correcting ignorance. If someone says something that compromises the advancement and strengthening of world peace, social justice issues, racial, economic and gender equality I’m going to speak up in an engaging, healthy, and respectful manner.
However, in order to speak up, I have to ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’. Therefore, I’m going to remain informed by investing/donating to bipartisan, non-corporate funded media/news outlets such as Democracy Now! and The Young Turks/TYT Nation, and volunteer with progressive groups such as Wolf Pac, which focuses on getting money out of politics, and The Green Party.”
Jessiline Berry, 38
Los Angeles, CA
“Earlier this year, a massage therapist did to me what Donald Trump bragged he does to women, which triggered trauma from my 2007 date rape. I literally lost my voice after this incident. My health is improving as I speak up and call out misogyny wherever it shows up, be that in the White House, at the job, or on a date. On Election Day, I voted and then shot a video discussing a film I’ve decided to produce, A Night to Remember, about YES is YES consent and a woman’s right to sexual agency. The best way I know to affect change is with my art, activism, and films.”
Tamera W Brown, 54
“I have no intention of settling for being ‘OK’ for the next for years. I’m going to dare to hope, even though I’ve never believed in people or trust in humanity. I’m going to continue to believe that even those who have just made me collateral damage deserve to live in a world without fear; I will not be gaslighted into walking away from that, I will be stronger than that.
But this isn’t a pacifist agenda, just the opposite of that. I will question, contradict, speak out, deny, refute, I will stand up, I will shout…I will scratch, claw, demand we bring in the light. I will defy the darkness; I will no longer be intimidated into silence; I will not allow them to take my humanity from me! ”
Dawn Palmer-Quaife, 36
“Last Wednesday was one of the most disappointing days of my life. It pains me that a large segment of American citizens are now fearful for their safety and the preservation of their rights. But this is not just about me. I learned from my mother at any early age that if we don’t voice our concerns and advocate for all, that we are complicit in our silence. I pledge that I won’t be silent about the issues and policies plaguing marginalized groups. Oversight is key. I’ll be holding my elected officials accountable and encourage everyone to do the same. You can tracking voting records online at www.govtrack.us/congress/votes and correspond with your legislators. Organizations like the NAACP, The Anti-Defamation League and THE HRC will have my support with their grassroots initiatives. That’s what I pledge to do for all of the “other” Americans. The best that I can do for myself is to remain prayerful and find some levity in my every day life.”
Ora Styles, 29
North Dallas, TX
“Although this election has caught me off guard, I am already confident that, as usual, God will take care of us. My daughters are being raised as powerful, kind, open-minded, confident, athletic, intelligent, vibrant Black girls. I had to tell them the truth in a way that will not destroy their innocence and make them lose faith in humanity. It is hard to do sometimes, but it can be done.”
Evadne R. Bryan-Perkins, 56
“For me this feels like a continuation of the struggle, except now the danger element has increased. I will continue to fight with my creativity. I am a songwriter, and actor so I will use my voice and my mighty pen. I will also use my wallet. It will stay firmly closed to the companies and corporations who publicly and proudly endorsed Trump. Most importantly I will be a soft place to land, for women of color, people of color and my LGBT friends and family.”
Janet A. Dickerson, 32
“As Black women, we live at the intersection of America’s racism and misogyny on a daily basis. While I don’t expect that to change, I do expect the ways in which that manifests itself to become more blatant over the next four years. For me, this means that raising my daughter to be unapologetic in both her Blackness and her womanhood will be critical for her ability to not just survive, but thrive.
The first thing I’m trying to do is be intentional about practicing self-care and self-preservation. Even now, at just one-years-old, my daughter is paying attention and looking to me for cues on how to behave and react to the world around her. Also, as she gets older I must be truthful with her about the times she’s coming up in, while at the same time still be able to protect her innocence and not allow the effects of “Trump’s America” rob her of her optimism and sense that she can do anything she puts her mind to.”
Kellee Hill, 33
“After deep thought, prayer and meditation. I have decided the only way to survive this debacle is to consistently indulge in self-care at all levels. Physically I am taking steps to become a vegetarian and mentally engaging in meditation and spiritual prayer.
I also think it is important to galvanize those around me and remind them that this is not the time to be silent, but to make yourself seen and present in the moment. Plus, I am going to try to improve the political system at the local level in my community because I believe that the bottom-up approach is more impactful in the fight against bigotry. And finally, I will be taking a large portion of my money and moving it to a Black bank and shopping minority-owned businesses as much as possible.”
Sharryn Dotson, 34
“I will survive this presidency through (lots and lots of) prayer and continuing to raise my kids to be open-minded and to have and show love. I have also been called to start a project aimed at giving the youth a creative outlet to not only the election, but the police shootings.”
Erica McMillon, 32
“My solution for coping with this election is by educating ourselves on public policies and government and getting back grounded in your faith; create opportunities to self-adjust and engage in activities that will change our behavioral responses to our current environment. I don’t want to allow myself to become addicted to my emotions. Yes, emotions are meant to assist us in learning from our society, but dwelling on negative feelings creates an internal cesspool of emotional debris.”
Candace Montague, 42
“I plan to volunteer with charities more often. It’s clear that the disenfranchised are going to be ignored in this administration as in the past and they are going to need support. I don’t trust Trump to improve the Black communities one bit. It’s going to be up to us to help ourselves. I’m going to put my energy into helping my people instead of waiting for a demagogue to fulfill empty campaign promises.”
Donna Daniels, 50
“I’ll be offering my skills and financial support to transformative organizations focused on civil rights and human rights. Since I’ve worked as a nonprofit leader in the social impact space with a focus on strategies for unlocking capital to support social change, making a difference through my work will remain front and center. No doubt I’ll be doing a lot of organizing and protesting over the next four years. I’ll also be doing a lot of reading: fiction to hone my creativity and imagination, and nonfiction to better understand the socio-historical forces that got us here and how to best respond. I’ll also be listening to music for guidance and inspiration. And lastly, self-care will be high on my list especially meditation, yoga, walking and prayer.”
Rev. Adriene Thorne 49
Brooklyn Heights, NY
“I am a minister at a Presbyterian Church. I am fortunate to preach every week and to have a platform and community to lead and comfort in this time. Planning worship that heals and transforms my community, neighborhood and the world will help me cope. I will also cope and live my life doing the very actions that run counter to Trump’s hate, and I will do that work with interfaith clergy and communities. Also, I am a dancer. And I will dance. As Alice Walker said, ‘hard times require furious dancing!’”
Caryn Reed-Hendon, 38
“The best way to cope from this election is to get involved in the political process. It’s a must in order for things to get better. I’ve made it a priority to learn about the political system and how the laws will impact me and my family directly. I’m also doing my part engaging my elected officials about their agenda to improve where I live. The luck is mine to be surrounded by people that can.”
Kenya Varnado, 38
New Lenox, IL
“I am very afraid as to how I am going to ‘cope’ throughout the next four years under President-Elect Donald Trump. I live in a predominantly white town, raising a Black four-year-old boy, and I work in a predominately white school district.
Coping, for me, will include A LOT of prayer and spending time with God. It will also include re-assessing my approach to educating my son as far as Black history is concerned. My focus will be on continuing to teach him that his life has value and that his voice can be heard. And that he is much more than the stereotypical view this world has on him. Yes, this is what Black families have done throughout time, but it is going to be critical that our generation carries the torch and continues our efforts to educate the masses.”
Vernessa Gipson, 58
Farmers Branch, Texas
“Today is not a shock as I will continue to be unapologetically Christian and unashamedly Black! My daily walk is to educate the miseducated and ‘seed’ Freedom School sites wherever I go to help raise the next generation of revolutionists! I live with the spirit of Harriet, Ella and Fannie burning inside of me!”
Brandi Kenner, 37
“As I’ve taken time to digest the news of the 2016 election outcome, I’ve found myself reverting to tried-and-true coping mechanisms. Aside from alleviating the physical nauseousness I experienced for the three days following the election with acid reflux tablets, I’ve also turned inward and drawn closer to those things that matter most to me. Time spent cuddling with my children over a whimsical bedtime story or toiling away in my garden has brought about moments of relief and distraction from the realities we face as women—Black women, Black mothers to those who will blossom into black women and men.
Once these distractors dissipated, I’ve been forced to think of comforting, yet honest answers to questions from my children such as my teary-eyed 11-year-old asking me if we’re ‘going to have to move away to Canada?’ What is a mother to do, but to keep pressing onward (though not blindly), keep being the light and inspiration that counters the rhetoric of the current times, and remind ourselves and our children of MLK’s belief that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice?”
BEAUTIES, how will you stand up?