Momentum from election should push out apathy
As the transition process for Donald Trump’s presidency continues to unfold, students have every right to express concern over important political issues, whether they relate to the environment, reproductive rights, the status of immigrants or affordable health care. The documented rise of hate crimes targeting various minority groups is also cause for serious concern.
It is thus unsurprising that students on campus have responded overwhelmingly with shock, grief and in some cases, anger (see Hopes and fears: Campus reacts to Trump).
Whether it is through a midnight vigil, hosting events raising awareness about a social issues, fundraising for nonprofits, marching in protest or perhaps just expressing frustration on social media, we must realize that everyone is processing this event differently, and that they deserve our empathy and respect.
To make matters more thorny, many of the current issues at stake feel deeply personal or emotionally charged for many — and rightfully so. Nonetheless, now is not the time to balk from engaging in dialogue with those whom we may vehemently disagree; we must strive for greater communication and understanding whenever we can.
These times can be especially trying for students who are a part of marginalized communities, as they may feel frustrated or angry at having to continually explain their struggles to those who do not share in them. It is at times like these where allies are crucial in alleviating that burden; those of us who have the ability or energy to speak up share a responsibility in promoting the rights of oppressed groups.
Be an ally not just in their moments of distress, but in the small conversations you have with those around you, where you have the power to shift mindsets and elevate the discourse.
We often hear that Rice students are as a whole apathetic, but this election has proven otherwise. As we see our community mobilize and rally in solidarity, we are reminded of perhaps the one positive outcome of Tuesday’s election results: We have been forced to acknowledge the many serious issues facing our society, issues that for many oppressed groups have always been a daily reality. Now the rest of us have to pay attention, too.
More from The Rice Thresher
Climate change inundates our news feed with new headlines every day: raging forest fires, record droughts, catastrophic hurricanes and worse. While the media has begun to put significant efforts into funneling awareness toward the issue of climate change, we aren’t in need of more awareness.
“If Black lives matter to Rice then we would not have to ask that question to begin with.” As members of professor Anthony Pinn’s Religion and Black Lives Matter course, we were challenged with the task of applying what we learned in a unique way that engages the Rice community. One of our responses to this challenge was to survey Black voices on campus: “What can Rice University do to show you that they believe your life matters?”
Ask any Rice student why they chose this university, and they might say they were excited about the residential college system, the small class sizes or even Beer Bike. But every student is ultimately here to get an education, and most of us are privileged enough to take that for granted.