November 9, 2016

Drew a few days ago

A photo posted by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on

Post Updated: November 26, 2016

I had another post ready for November, but the events of last week called for something else. I'm not exactly sure what. I suppose a space to grieve, reflect, and determine where to go from here. 

I recently moved to Ciudad Juarez (ironically the biggest border crossing between Mexico and USA), and was excited to be back in DC for election week. I stood in line at the Oyster-Adams school, a bilingual (English/Spanish) school a couple of blocks away from my old apartment. It was a beautiful, crisp morning and the energy was positive, uplifting. People were smiling. Students were having a bakesale to raise funds for a field trip. The mayor came out to say hi. I ran into old colleagues and friends in pantsuits. 

The night however, turned ugly. The mood at what was supposed to be a lively election party complete with a Trump pinata, turned dark.

Around three in the morning, Clinton called Trump to concede. By the time I got to work, Justice Reporter, Shaun King had already posted a series of reported hate crimes against POC and the LBTQ community across the country.  

We woke up to a very different America. 

For my immigrant, Muslim, Latino, African-American, LBTQ friends, the implications of a Trump presidency are life-threatening. And so a lot of my reflection in the past few days has been centered around on how to fight for the America that I have grown to love in the past eight years. 

Here's a running list of articles and resources that I have taken some strength and inspiration from: 

1. Forget "Why"? it's time to get to work by Anil DashConcrete habits that we need to create and sustain for the years of struggle to come. 

2. List of organizations compiled by my friend, Raisa Aziz on which we can begin supporting to protect our rights. It's an editable list so you can add groups that may be missing. More here

3. Michael Moore's widely circulated morning-after to-do list - time to make the Democratic Party work for everyone. 

4. For parents and educators, "What do we tell the children?" 

6. "Autocracy: Rules for Survival" - this especially spoke to me as people in Washington have begun already begun to normalize the transition. 

7. "Divided We Fall": important post by the president of my former employer, Search for Common Ground on steps we can take to unify the country, and to not rely on political leaders to do the job. 

8. Bernie Sanders's op-ed "Where the Democrats Go from Here" 

9. Ways to reduce racial bias and related, how to respond to everyday bigotry - equally important for POC who encounter racism within their own communities. 

 

There is self-reflection among the food world as well. On how we can incorporate more activism into the food industry - to go beyond posting "food porn" and sipping expensive wine - and have meaningful conversations with family and friends that don't tip-toe around divisive issues.

Anyone else wondering if what they do matters these days? I’m trying to not be all or nothing and figuring out ways to continue to incorporate more activism, more change, and more impact into my work. food is about people, as are politics. I will always pay attention to and write about food made by so many different types of people and celebrate them equally. I will always feed as many people, no matter who they are, in as many ways as they can. I will always try my best to create work that helps people cook at home because that leads to sitting together and talking and that’s where connection happens and support and change, too.”
— Julia Turshen

I also woke up to this call to ideas by Amanda and Merrill from Food52 on how shared meals can play a role in bridging the divide: 

These past few months and this week’s election have highlighted the uncomfortable truth that there is much that divides us. There’s a lot of hard work to be done.

One place where we’ve always been able to find common ground is around the table—which is where we believe we can make a difference. The ritual of sharing a meal is a vital way that humans connect...in this moment, we’d love to know what we could be doing to help strengthen these ties we share...We’re looking to you to give us ideas that we may not have thought of, to lead us down paths we may not have explored.
— Food52

For my American friends who have family members, relatives and friends who voted for Trump, I would especially encourage them to have these difficult conversations around the table during the holidays. Having my own share of xenophobic and homophobic relatives in Pakistan, I know it's not easy but if you can't reach them, then others have no hope. 

These are just some of my initial thoughts as I process my feelings and thoughts post-elections. If you have other ideas, resources and articles to share, please share them with me via comments or e-mail

Going to close off with a line from Remnick's moving piece post-elections: 

To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.
— David Remnick, The New Yorker