I direct an after-school program for rural Hudson Valley high school students. Almost all of my students are from immigrant families and live in low-income communities. We meet every Friday to learn about social justice, but the Friday after the election was one of the more challenging meetings that I’ve ever had as a facilitator.
Some students got their (mis)information from social media; one person was excited to announce that Obama had issued an executive order to re-do the election in December, and others reported that they learned the results of the election by watching the Snapchat filters update the electoral vote count. Other students don’t have internet at home, so they found out the results when they got to school and were greeted by students in Trump hats and shirts shouting, “you’d better run!”
In the face of all of this, these young people are extremely resilient, and kept trying to understand Trump supporters, especially Latinx and women. I’d encourage any adult who is struggling in the aftermath of the election to find the young people in your community- not to help them or support them, although that may very well come later. Rather, just sit quietly and listen- their clarity and authenticity is an excellent source of inspiration and fortitude.
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Other teacher responses:
A Class Divided: A 5th Grade Classroom in a Red State