By: Amanda Parisse
Goucher College’s second “Story Circle” of the semester focused on the experiences of students during the aftermath of this year’s election. Three extremely diverse Goucher students were chosen to tell us about their personal post-election stories. I listened the inspiring memory of a young Hispanic student who still sees hope for the future, the emotional recollection of a white Republican who felt unwelcome on her own campus due to her political affiliation, and finally the story of a African American student who exercised his rights by protesting the inauguration in Washington D.C.
First to speak was Fernando Parra Chong, a member of the Hispanic community, who took a devastating election and was inspired to create change in our government after the results. He told us how he watched his friends panic about losing their jobs under Trump’s administration on November 8th. His recount of that night took us through the emotional roller coaster the Goucher student body experienced on the eve of the election, describing the joy we felt in the beginning, and the pure despair we felt by the end of the night. However Fernando ended his story on a strong and hopeful note with the statement, “the future is in our hands” implying whatever happens next is up to us: the Goucher student body.
Through a completely different lens, I heard the story of Erin Carringan, a young Republican, who felt like she was facing a firing squad on election night. She told us how, at first how she was oblivious to the polarized atmosphere of the election. However, as soon as she stepped into the Athenaeum, she sensed that her political views were not welcome. She felt she had to hide her political identity; that showing any sign of happiness on November 9th was unthinkable. She was brave enough to stand up and share her story in a place where she was in the minority.
The final speaker James Williams, shared his experience at a Black Lives Matter protest at the presidential inauguration, recounting the experience of forming a human blockade at one of the entrances. James told us about the emotional moment when fifteen white protestors volunteered themselves to stand on one side of the blockade to prevent possible police brutality against their fellow protestors, linking arms with each other forming a human chain with each other. James stood with his fellow activists and voiced his dissent proudly.
Thanks to these poignant stories, the other attendees and I were able to hear stories that they otherwise most likely would not have heard. The highlight of the event was the unique experiences of the three speakers. I gained a new perspective on the experience of what it is like to be a political minority on this campus, and felt inspired after hearing all three speakers stories. I feel honored to have heard their experiences first hand, and I would highly recommend that everyone should attend these “Story Circles” in the near future.