In the wake of a Donald Trump’s Presidency, high school and college students across the country are preparing themselves for what's to come. We spoke to youth leaders at New York University, Sam Houston State University, and University Liggett School to see how they are preparing themselves on their campuses.
Fadumo, 20, New York University
As someone who attends a sanctuary campus and lives in a sanctuary city, I'm immediately worried about my undocumented classmates and friends. As someone who was able to gain citizenship under my parents years after they came here as refugees, I worry for the children of other immigrants that may be placed on a 'Muslim registry' and won't be afforded the same opportunities in regards to applying for scholarships, etc. As a young Black Muslim woman, I worry about the normalization of discrimination on campuses. We've already seen hate crimes increase during the campaign, I can only imagine what an Administration that doesn't condemn hatred as it should, will inspire.
Mohamed, 19, Morgan State University
For me, even before the election I accepted the reality of America being lead by Trump, so for me the transition hasn't been exponential. However I am truly concerned with the effect that his presidency has had and will continue to have on marginalized groups within this country. I feel an even greater sense of responsibility in regards to protecting the humanity and sanctity of every individual not only living here, but overseas as well. I believe that if not for Pharaoh the children of Israel would've never been sent a Moses. The Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) once said: "Every generation has been sent a Pharaoh and every generation has been sent a Moses. I am this generations Moses". I believe that I have what it takes to be this generations Moses in the face of Trump, or this generation's Pharaoh. The mood on campus as far as the classroom is concerned has been dealing with an influx of social and political commentary. Being as though I am a political science major, there is a great level of excitement coming from my professors because they too recognize the shift going on in the political spectrum and how that has forced even the most non-enthusiastic college students to feel a need to speak their mind. Trump has not only emboldened bigots and racists who share his views, but he has also forced the hands of many who otherwise wouldn't give a damn about politics or government to really start to involve themselves in the process, assert their own opinions and come into their voices.
Bryce, 19, Sam Houston State University
Just the thought of friends that I've grown up with, who are undocumented, are terrified about what might happen to them & their family over the next four years. People that I have met and developed relationships with during my first year of college, who have just moved here from the Middle East, and they don't know if it's even safe for them to be here in America
Anum, 18, Hickory Ridge High School
My greatest worry is that a classmate might make an islamophobic statement- or any racist, bigoted remark- in class or on the side, and that I will be unable to properly respond to it. I, like many young Muslim girls, am still working to strengthen myself and my confidence so that I can shut down xenophobes. I’m less concerned about physical confrontation because I stay near people I trust, but I worry that I may not be fully armed against a verbal attack.
I am also concerned, as a future college student and Muslim woman of color looking to enter the realm political science, that Trump's administration may block me from certain opportunities in the field of politics and as a college student in general. I hope that I’ll still be able to take advantage of everything available to me in college.
I've been given looks and I've heard words like “Allahu Akbar” and “terrorist” aimed at me when students pass by. Although I have not yet been confronted, I know of multiple students at my school who have faced some sort of attack on their identity. There’s been a subtle change on campus, but it's still noticeable to me and many others.
Odell , 17 , McKinley Senior High School
I'm concerned that we may be going into war pretty soon , with the many different accusations with Russia. Also how the POTUS denies Russia having any involvement, going against the intelligence community.
My second concern would be the country being divided by more than race , now the country is being divided by not only race but political views , and different ethnicities or religions
My last concern is just elaborating on my 2nd point. POTUS is already working on the pipeline which was a very controversial topic with Obama in office and caused many protest. Also the funding for abortions has come to a stop , many of these actions are hurting us as a country. Instead of really focusing on what the people truly want. It seem like his decisions are more made from his point of view and not the majority.
At school things have changed , many of my teachers voice there concerns about different things that happen. One of my teachers being transgender was emotionally hurt after seeing the election results. Since my school is very diversified, many Hispanic students and African Americans students normally talk about how things will change and different things we fear from TRUMP being in office.
Kaniz, 16, University Liggett School
I am a junior attending University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. I have been attending Liggett since my freshman year and I am part of the very small population of students of color and even smaller population of Muslim students. I love Liggett but there are many significant issues around diversity and inclusion that must be addressed. My classmates and I created a proposal that would be beneficial to any independent school that is facing the same dilemma. I believe it is worth sharing.
Well, Kaniz! We agree!
Kaniz is part of a group of high school students at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan who are taking matters into their own hands. The classmates Kaniz, Jasmine, Lauryn, Tegan, Dylan, and Jackson have composed a project proposal and abstract called the “Diversity Dilemma” to address the lack of cultural diversity at their school. Their proposal is focused on creating a safer environment for Liggett students. See the abstract to their proposal below and email Kaniz at firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the full document.
Abstract: Diversity Dilemma
Author(s): Erica, Kaniz, Jasmine, Lauryn, Tegan, Dylan, and Jackson
Many minorities in independent schools have felt a common experience of being an outcast or excluded due to their race, religion, gender, or socioeconomic status within their community. In order to conquer these issues, we must initiate a better approach to diversify and to create a safer environment for all students. The most efficient way to oversee these changes would be to create a position for a diversity coordinator. The diversity coordinator would be able to address these issues and more through this position.
This is the perfect next step for all schools, especially after post-election. All around social media, there are posts and articles regarding the negative impact of the election that take place within a school setting. A school should be considered a safe haven for all students, where students and teachers can focus and maintain a learning environment. Let us work towards these goals.
Blair Imani is a Black American Muslim activist living in Brooklyn, NY. Blair is the founder and Executive Director of Equality for HER.