A Post-Election Mourning Tea Party

Post-Election Reflection from HFA/ YAV – AVL Sammie…

I feel like a giant weight was placed upon my chest since November 8th, and I can’t seem to lift it. I’m most worried because I don’t know how to navigate relationships that were once so easy. Relationships with members of my family, of my home church, and with my friends are now in a place that I don’t know how to move from. How can I maintain relationships with people who voted for a candidate that ran a campaign of hate and violence? How can I justify loving those whose actions have promoted an obscene number of hate crimes and harassment? I was talking recently about whether or not it was my job to educate these people, who I love, about how deeply they have hurt me. Is it my job to teach them about it? I don’t think I could muster up the energy to do so. I have come to realize that it is my job to maintain my connections with people and to form new ones. I just have no idea how to do that sometimes.

November 9th was a somber day at the office. The first person that I met when I walked in the front door was my friend, Greta. Without hesitating, she pulled me in for a hug and said, “I’ve already cried twice today,” and it was only 8:15am. I honestly didn’t realize that I needed a hug until she gave me one. She seems to have a way of knowing when I’m upset. Almost the entire staff huddled into a small conference room around 11 to watch Sec. Clinton’s concession speech. There were a lot of tears here and I think I was still in a state of shock and disbelief, and don’t get me wrong, I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief. How could we have done this? The ReStore had a mourning tea party that afternoon that I went to with Greta, and we just drank tea, ate cookies, and talked with a coworker who works in the ReStore. Needless to say, not much work got done that day.

My office received an email from the executive director a few days after the election results came in talking about how crucial our work in affordable housing is. We don’t know how it will be affected in the upcoming months, so all we can do is keep working. The federal funding for affordable housing could be transferred and used for something else, or it could no longer be replenished and eventually run out. In a town like Asheville where affordable housing is a rare commodity and gentrification is the norm, our work is crucial and I fear the barriers that might be coming.