Students Respond to Election with Hope & Eye on History

politicsstudents Processing the presidential election results, members of the Barnard community reflect on how to move forward.
Rose Reiken ‘20 wrote an open letter in the Huffington Post to “girls growing up under President Trump” in which she encourages them to “work together to lessen the hate in this country.”  She reminds them that, as Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, they are valuable, powerful, and deserving of the right to chase their dreams.  
Photograph by Eliza Siegel ’20Fellow first-year student Eliza Siegel ’20 shared her experience of attending a protest the day after Election Day in which she marched from Union Square to Trump Tower.  Despite encountering thousands of protesters, many of whom had volatile emotions, Siegel reports that “the overwhelming energy was that of solidarity, of unity” and that the “diversity of the crowd spoke volumes about its mission: to represent and protect the rights of those groups Trump’s campaign marginalized.”
In the provocatively titled opinion article “We Need to Stop Attacking Trump Voters,” Sydney Rose Hotz ’19 flips the Trumpian idea of “making America great again” by reminding her fellow Americans that by living in a democracy, they have rights and can rise above hatred through activism, volunteering, and charitable giving.  Hotz writes “as a lower class, Hispanic and Spanish woman” with a chronic illness, representing “one voice of the minority” who is also keenly aware that citizens, not the president-elect, are the ones with power.
Sophia Herring ’19 also expressed hope in an opinion essay that quoted President Obama: “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.”  She notes that her generation is committed to ensuring that the “American Dream” is within reach for everyone in this country.
One alumna and two students share their observations as grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.  Solvej Schou ’00 argues that “Trump’s Win Prompts an Urgent Return to Holocaust Testimony.”  When she was at Barnard, Schou took a class at Columbia titled “Holocaust Literature and Film” and had heard her grandmother’s experiences of unspeakable horror.  Schou shares her late grandmother’s story “in the face of bigotry and religious and racial discrimination.”
Daniella Greenbaum ’17 likewise shares her grandmother’s story of Holocaust survival in a thoughtful essay about the obligations on Jews to stand up for those who are oppressed.  She calls on Jews to stand united among themselves and together with those who are discriminated against—and to register as Muslims, should the president-elect actually go through with his proposal to require Muslims to register in a database.
Photograph by Leora Einleger ’19We must keep in mind the history of the Holocaust—and other oppressions and genocides—during this era in which bigotry and discrimination are tolerated and possibly legislated.  But Leora Einleger ’19, granddaughter of survivor Dr. Ruth Westheimer—the pioneering sex-positive sex educator—reports that she and her grandmother have discussed the president-elect.  And Dr. Ruth says that as long as everyone stands up for what is right, everything will be okay.
“When my grandmother tells me everything will be OK,” writes Einleger, “I believe it.  She has witnessed, done, and

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