Voices of Trinity: What the Election Means to Us

Voices of Trinity: What the Election Means to Us

(President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris)

What does the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris mean for students, faculty and staff at Trinity?  I invite the community to submit your thoughts via email to president@trinitydc.edu and I will publish them here.  Here are the comments so far:

Students in Dr. Kimberly Monroe’s U.S. History Class reported out from small group discussions and agreed to have their group comments posted on this blog:

We are more so excited that President Donald Trump is removed from the White House. We were somewhat worried that Donald Trump was going to win the election again. Joe Biden is not perfect and has his own flaws, but he is going to fix the damage that Trump created. This is a great time for particularly the minority communities to heal. Also, he has a great Vice President Kamala Harris standing behind him. (Students: Savannah Miller, Alicia Mejia, Sierra Malloy, and Destiny Thurman.)

We are relieved Trump is out. Whenever Republicans are in office, the timeline always seems to focus on money. There have been so many problems that have been created with the Trump administration, especially with COVID, healthcare, and racism. However, we believe that this generation of millennials are more open-minded and take action. It was many of our first times voting, so we believe that our votes mattered and made a difference.  We just wanted Trump out of office. There is a lot that needs to be worked on during Biden’s administration because Republicans left a mess behind. We are also glad that Kamala Harris is the new vice-president elect. It is a historic moment in time for all women of color. We hope that women can shatter the glass ceiling more frequently, and that our rights will be protected. We never expected Harris to become vice president, it is honestly crazy. We also wonder how Trump is feeling and what is going to happen to him. (Students: Emely Fortiz, Chakola Paris, Deja Wilkerson, Jennifer Flores-Blanco, and Cailane Wright)

Throughout the whole election we all felt a sense of nervousness because we believed that if Donald Trump was elected again, there was no way our society would be able to survive another four years under his administration. So, when Joe Biden was announced as President-elect we cried tears of joy because it felt that hope was not lost and we saw a possible future ahead of freedom and unity. Ever since Trump became president, individuals who were not a part of the white community started to be attacked in horrible ways. Police brutality has been an ongoing issue that Trump had no intent in fixing. Children were being separated from their parents, individuals under DACA and TPS no longer had protections and low-income communities were suffering daily with no sense of hope. Of course, we can celebrate because we finally came together and were able to take Donald Trump out of office, but our fight cannot stop here. Joe Biden is not the answer to all our problems, we must help rebuild communities who have been injured by the government and the contentment of oppression caused in these four years of the Trump administration. We should also look into the Supreme Court and evaluate their decisions because even though they live in the same world as we do, they do go through the struggles that we have to live on a daily basis. We do need to address the economic diaspora inciting freedom in unity for the working and middle class who are at the core of our society. We believe that the first issue that Biden should tackle when he gets into office is the racial issue. Although race has always been a prevalent issue in the United States, once Donald Trump became president racism and injustice were blatantly conveyed, encouraged, and overlooked. The second and most important issue he needs to tackle is COVID 19, we are a nation that needs a president who is going to put the citizens first before the economy and that is something that was never seen in trump’s administration. He did not care to reflect in all the lives that were being taken away, the families that were being torn apart because our president decided that money comes first before the wellbeing of our society. We must put our faith in Biden despite his past and continue to fight to see the change we want in our society.  (Students: Maryuri Garcia-Mendoza, Taylor Holmes, Myra Strickland, Benny Villarta.)

Deshala Square: Still feels nervous. She does feel like Biden will be able to help us more than trump ever did in his presidency. She feels like he made our economy worse instead of making it better.

Praise Oladoyin: Hopes that Biden can keep his promises. Although Trump did keep his promises, they were negative and divided people. Whereas Biden’s promises are all about uniting people.

Dania Mata-Garcia: I feel like I agree with both. I hope that Biden can do things for minorities. And he that he can make life easier for them because trump would take away many of the minority rights and only focus on white supremacy and the rich.

As someone who is undocumented in this country it gives Arlin a sense of hope that under the new administration there will be new lawmakers who will help to create more right for immigrants in this country.  Asia thinks that with the new administration it will bring a sense of relief to those who are elderly and depend on social services that trump was trying to cut.  Diana does not think the fight is over. We need to still fight for reform and hold Biden accountable for everything he said. Communities need to come together and work to make changes. For me it was about voting for the lesser of two evils, getting someone out the office whose hate has ignited so much terror in this country through his worlds try to start a new war within our country, and bringing someone whom I hope will make the changes he stated. (Students: Payton Green, Arlin Tellez, Diana Ortiz, and Asia Collins)

Overall, as a group, we were happy with the results of the election. We were happy that Trump is out of the office. However, there is still a bit of uneasiness and nervousness around the future. We believe that to a certain extent many things won’t change. Also, we believe that Trump won’t back down too easily. We believe Trump would try everything to prevent Biden from office and perhaps get away with it. But, no matter what happens we hope that the Biden/Harris administration will keep the promises they have made. We hope that they turn out to be the people they have depicted themselves to be.  (Students: Daniela Romualdo Castro, Nakiyae Harris, Phoenix Stevens, and Shiera Mejia-Galvez)

Carmella Doty, Adjunct Professor

I am very concerned that Trump is further dividing our country and will not leave the White House. Everything he is doing is taking down our democracy. Having studied American History, I find too many similarities with him and how Hitler came into power. It is like Trump read Hitler’s playbook. I took time to search “Comparison of Hitler to Trump” in the Trinity Library database and was surprised that there were many peer reviewed articles written by historians about this topic. The curious thing is the authors went further to compare Trump to Mussolini. Now that is scary.

Jaelyn Torrence, CAS First Year Business Administration

This election was so nerve-wracking, I kept looking at the map it was so close at certain times. On Saturday when I looked at the map around 11:20am  it had said Joe Biden won, and it felt like a weight was taken off. I think after all that Donald Trump has done to Americans, DREAMERS, and immigrants mentally and physically. It was almost like you had to walk on eggshells for 4 years, so once I saw the results that weight of fear, and unprotected feeling went away. Not only for Blacks but for DREAMERS, Muslims, and other minorities. For me I would say the election is a hope for change, I hope Joe will try to make the Nation a place where people feel safe again and not have to worry if their child/ someone they love is going to make it going and coming back. I wasn’t there physically, my family and I had our own little celebration.

David Wolfe, SPS ’22 Human Relations

This election ousts a corrupt president who has solely cared for himself, not America and not democracy. But instead of shouting in celebration, I could only sigh in relief. Our incoming president Biden has been in leadership of the last decades that made the policy that set us on the path to Trump. In this moment we need to stay involved and keep us off that path with real reforms that help people.

Rohanna Robinson, NHP ’20 Nursing

I have watched history welcome the first female vice president on Saturday November 7, 2020; not only is she a woman but a Black woman! There is no word I can use to describe this overwhelming feeling of joy, I am extremely proud of Kamala Harris. I am confident that she will do right by the people of America and pave the way for other great female leaders that will make much more history. I can feel the bounds of inequality shaking! and I have hope that one day every citizen of America will play a better part to make America a country for all people. I am also proud of Joe Biden who is elected the new president of America with more votes than any other American president. I hope all the changes that are about to take place will be beneficial to all the people of American. I was deeply moved by his speech and will forever hold him to his words. I look forward to watching these two great human being working together for the people of America. I will forever remember this day as I danced and shouted for joy.

Hope Witherspoon, Director of Dual Enrollment and Early College Programs

The 2020 Election outcome reflects the deep divide in this nation.  It highlights the pervasiveness of the fight for power.  I have been most impressed with Stacey Abrams.  She was able to infiltrate a system and win.  I think she embodies the kind of will that we all need to help us realize and experience a true democracy.  Her ability to register so many voters provided me with a glimmer of hope in our trek to obtain equity.

Martha Molina, Director of Financial Aid

I thought about how I have felt since November 8, 2016 until today and I can only think of the word “Relieved”.  A second word would be “sad. Yes; President Elect Biden has a record 75 million votes to his favor but let’s not forget that Trump has the second highest record of 70 million to his.  It is sad to think that all these 70 million think like him (it doesn’t matter the reason; you vote for Trump, you are like him in some way or another).  Other words are “hopeful” and “vigilant”.  I am hopeful that President Elect Biden would try to unite us all, no matter what one believes and I am hopeful in the American people finding its way to what is decent and right…. but I will be vigilant as well with all, especially with our elected officials, no matter what party, to ensure that they do what it is best for all and not just a few.  I will continue to use my voice because “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Dennis Farley, Assistant Professor of Economics

When the dust settles, Trump will be out of office, but control of the Senate will likely remain in Republican hands.  Those two runoff elections in Georgia could go to the Democrats, but that is highly unlikely.  The occasional Republican senator may decide to vote with the Democrats, but that isn’t something to count on either.  In addition, the Democratic majority in the House will be reduced.  Pelosi will get a lot of blame for that, and her Speakership may be at risk.

In other words, there won’t be smooth sailing for a Democratic agenda.  Biden will be better able to work with a Republican Senate than Trump was to work with a Democratic House, but Biden will have to build coalitions across the aisle for every major piece of legislation.  Most of Trump’s mischief can be undone by executive order, but big things. like raising taxes on the rich, will be a tough fight.  The outlook for a DACA fix seems better now that Dreamers will no longer be demonized from the White House. Biden will be in a weaker position than Obama was in the first two years of his first term, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

 We will have to wait and see, but my guess is that the left wing of the Democratic party will become more and more frustrated with Biden as he does not deliver what they want quickly.  If the left wing becomes a divisive force, Democrats could lose both houses of Congress in 2022.

Cynthia Bond, Enrollment Recruiter, School of Professional Studies 

The election has restored my faith in democracy.  Seeing how our Country was being led by the current administration had me in a state of disbelief.  I have never witnessed such antagonistic behavior from our Countries Leadership.  I am proud to see that as Citizens we are still being heard and that our votes do matter.  To see history being made by President Elect Biden choosing Vice President Elect Harris, it shows that that he embraces inclusiveness and values the leadership qualities of women.  I am extremely grateful to see that our United States of America is showing its’ readiness to embrace new possibilities for our Country.

Maria Solache-Nava, CAS ’24 Pre-Nursing

This year has been full of situations and events that cause great anxiety.  I think the election was the most anticipated event.  As a dreamer with DACA I felt directly affected by the election.  Although I cannot vote I never stopped praying for the outcome.  Now that it is nearly finalized, I feel a sense of relief, hope and joy. We are truly witnessing a great moment in history, even if this year was crazy.

Paola Pinto, BGS ’21 Strategic Communications and Public Relations

I am from Venezuela, a country struggling with a horrible crisis that forces millions to flee the country, searching for better opportunities. The House of Representatives has tried to pass a TPS bill for Venezuelans inside the U.S. However, Republicans and Trump have denied it multiple times because it is not compatible with their strategy. As my friends with DACA status and other immigrant community members, these election results have given us a little hope. I know in my heart that Biden and Harris will help those in need and fight for what is right inside and outside of America. I know they care a lot about climate change and believe in equality, which gives peace to my heart.

On the other hand, I come from a place where the media’s censorship and the dictatorial politicians thrive. Since I arrived in the U.S. in 2017, I have felt scared and triggered by the authoritarian actions and words the current President has shared. I am concerned that this victory is not worth celebrating until January 20th when Biden is finally in office. President Trump has reminded me Hugo Chavez (former Venezuelan President) on multiple occasions by blaming others for his failures, not accepting facts, denying science, making immigrants enemies of the country, and not respecting democracy. Trump has used the word socialism to scare people and make the democratic party look like they want to take away your freedom while he has been hurting many families throughout these four years. People are scared of what they do not understand; the word socialism is not what they should worry about. America is already a Democratic Socialist country and the regime in Venezuela used the socialist movement to convince and manipulate their people. Yet, in the end, it was a dictatorship closer to communism than anything else, not real socialism. There are socialist-leaning countries that are successful, and those are who people should be used as an example.

I feel sad and disappointed with my Latin peers who fell into his trap and voted for him after all he said and did against our people. Many Venezuelan Americans supported him because they thought he would be their savior, the only one who paid attention to our starving country. But, sadly, he just used our story to sow doubts and fear in his followers.  I haven’t been able to sleep some nights, hoping I will not re-live the same situation that I was trying to escape, this country is my home now. Even though I cannot vote, I still have my voice, and I hope my story inspires and becomes an eye-opener to others. It is time for them to accept their loss and throw away the dictator’s handbook.

(In the photo below, our Vice President-Elect and Senator Kamala Harris speaks to a group of Trinity students including Paola Pinto in front, center with pink glasses. The students were at the U.S. Capitol to witness the impeachment hearings in January 2020 at the invitation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Trinity ’62.)


Krystal Gordon, NHP ‘2023 Major:  School Counseling (Urban Track) 

Vice-President elect Kamala Harris is well informed about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact on the mental and physical health of individuals within our society. Therefore, I am hopeful that more financial resources will be allocated to schools, hospitals, and healthcare centers to provide more affordable and effective mental health care services to marginalized groups.

Maria Giron Castro, CAS ’24 Early Childhood Education

Today is a day I will never forget.  2020 has been a crazy year and it has been filled with many uncertainties from Covid, DACA and this election.  Today, we welcome a new president and vice president! We hope this change will bring more peace and clarity during this time.  I am hopeful for DACA and my fellow Dreamers.  I pray things will get better in the USA. God has provided and will continue to provide!

Sharin Adriana Guerrero Ramirez, CAS First Year Criminal Justice

On this date, November 7, 2020, I am grateful to be living in this time in history because I know this generation will change many thinks! And I am excited to see it!

Sister Ann Howard, SNDdeN, Director of Campus Ministry

November 7, 2020: Reflecting on today’s developments; the conclusion of a 5-day election process.  I fee two things.  Relieved and hopeful.  I cannot imagine how those close to the campaign waged by Biden and Harris feel, yet, I believe they are buoyed by their sense of support in the people and in the system called democracy.  It is as if goodness has prevailed.  I don’t want to vilify Donald Trump but he does that, himself.  Instead of his lies and callous selfishness, we will see a restored Presidential Office and expect the decency and honesty which we rightfully expect of the person who holds the office.  May we step into this new day with hope.  Racial justice, Covid-19, healthcare, decency and many civil rights — DACA status! — will be addressed.  We, the People, have learned that there is a large support system that will actually miss President Trump’s ways, but I intend to focus on those of us who see this as an American moment — a time to listen to others, respect differences, and yet, expect decency in our interactions.  Relief — hope.  This is a positive healing reflection on November 7, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Carlota Ocampo, Provost

On Saturday morning at just about 11:30 am, my quiet Takoma Park neighborhood erupted in cheers, music, Biden/Harris signs, shouting, drumming, flag waving, cars honking, dancing in the streets.  The spontaneous party lasted to the afternoon, with neighbors greeting and congratulating each other, some in tears.  The joy – and relief – was palpable.  This election signals a restoration of democracy, decency, and the American way, as the prior administration was (and is) a true kakistocracy.  Kamala Harris’s historic election as the highest-ranking woman ever in the US (note: the two highest ranking women both attended mission-driven schools – Trinity’s own Nancy Pelosi, from a woman’s college, and Kamala Harris from an HBCU – a resounding endorsement of the education we provide!) is a huge crack in the glass ceiling.  But mostly, I am happy for our students for whom the policies of the prior administration were so toxic and hateful, and for the world that can once again look to America as a beacon of hope for a better future.  Excited to see who will be in the new President’s cabinet, and to have a first lady who knows education from the inside-out!  This election showed that when we civically engage, we create change.  The work is not over – we must continue to engage and to push for  the return to more humane, just, data-supported and science driven policies!

Dr. Lynda Jackson, Assistant Professor of Business

  • WAITING TO EXHALE* I’ve got a medley of songs is on my mind!  Honestly, it felt like I had been forced to inhale…since November 4, 2016.  On a daily basis, my breath seemed restricted by my country’s unprecedented leadership failures due to: banned Muslim Visitors; reneged Dreamers’ policies; racial division; overt White Supremist Support; ceaseless Police Brutality; black and brown Anti-Immigration Policies; brown Kids in Cages; dislodged Paris Accord; ignored Global Warming; rampant neglect of the Covid 19 Pandemic; ignored Health Care Crisis; disengaged World Health Organization; increased Economic failures; and endless Pathological Lies.  These monumental failures caused an unprecedented buildup of both literal and figurative Walls.
  • HOPE IS AN OPEN WINDOW*      After election day 2020, I agonized with a triad of feelings.  I was disappointed to see the early voting results that seemed to signify a tremendously divided country. Secondly, I was skeptical because of my overwhelming concern about nationwide voter suppression, courtesy of reading and following research conducted by Stacey Abrams. Yet, I remained hopeful because hope was the open window that would reveal the eventual outcome.  As the early and mail-in votes were counted, hope revealed that American citizens were determined to elect a leader who focused on preserving our cherished democracy.
  • CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES…COME ON*   Our President-elect, Joe Biden, won the most votes in history!  He has suffered many losses in elections and in life.  These defeats have enabled him to demonstrate empathy and humanity right when we needed him.  Our new Vice President-elect, Senator Kamela Harris, has “first” in front of her name in myriad instances.  She is the first woman Vice President-elect, period! Additionally, upon winning the post as Vice President, she has become the first woman of color, first woman of Asian/Jamaican descent, first Historically Black College graduate, and first Greek Sorority member.  An American dream…celebrating good times, were realized for both candidates!
  • A CHANGE IS GONNA COME*    I am not naïve enough to believe it will happen overnight, but at least now we can realistically contemplate welcoming our Muslim visitors, relieving Dreamers’ of their fears, quelling racial unrest, addressing Police Brutality, welcoming all Immigrants, love on and releasing the Kids in cages, realigning with the Paris Accord, scientifically addressing Global warming and the Covid 19 Pandemic, fighting for Health care, stimulating the Economy, and significantly lowering the decibels of a Pathological Liar.  As for the Walls—trust and believe they will be destroyed because a change is gonna come!
  • WAITING TO EXHALE*   After a 4-year “helluva” wait, at 11:30 am on Saturday, November 7, 2020, I can now breathe the sweet smell of victory.  Yes!  We fought the good fight and finally we all could stop waiting to exhale.

*Song and Film References:

WAITING TO EXHALE (1995 Film, starring Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, and Loretta Devine)

Dr. Cristina Parsons, Associate Professor of Economics

The day after the last election, I went to work, and several students of mine were DACA. I tried as best I could to tell them that we would do our best to protect them, that we had their back, but one of them in particular was inconsolable. Silent tears streamed down her face the entire class. On the eve of this election, my daughter reminded of that moment. I had told her the story, so it was seared in her memory as well. So yesterday, when the election results were announced, it was that student’s face I saw. And the face of all the DACA students I have taught over the years. I was so happy. And so relieved.

Dr. Sita Ramamurti, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Mathematics

11-7, or easier to remember it as 7-11…a date in the pandemic era that will live in my memory forever! I feel incredibly lucky to be part of an immigrant group that has added its share to the will of the American people, their powerful voices and remarkable actions to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next President and Vice President on this date in US history. I feel absolutely overwhelmed with joy and happiness to see a woman with ties to my hometown, Chennai, India, assume such a powerful position in American politics. It gave me goosebumps when Harris acknowledged her chithis (‘aunts’ in Tamil, my mother tongue), on the national stage, in her nomination speech. I continue to hold my hopes high for a more inclusive United States of America!

Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, Associate Professor of Psychology

As a Black Jamaican ?? woman, myself, I was beyond proud to watch Kamala Harris on that stage. She carried with her all the hopes and dreams of so many many women before her. I am relieved to live in a world where my own daughter sees that the highest offices in the land are indeed attainable by people who look like us.  I watched with pride as my teenage son and his friends cheered as President-elect Biden took the stage. For us, this election feels like a return to decency and an opportunity to quell some of vitriol that has become commonplace these last few years.

Jessi Alexander, CAS Pre-Nursing

I am both hopeful and moved that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been elected as President and Vice President. Kamala Harris has taken a huge step for women everywhere. She has decided to take a leap, and embark on this journey that had an uncertain ending. Her courage and fortitude inspires me to be everything I can be. It makes me want to make the hard decisions, to not take no for an answer. It makes me want to hold my head high and empower other women, especially minority women. I will push myself to achieve things I never thought were possible, because Vice President elect Kamala Harris showed me I can.

Simone Johnson, SPS BA General Studies ‘19, Master of Public Health 2021

Taking PHIL103 Reasoning and Argument at Trinity in the Spring of 2018 the class was concerned at the current political administration but the professor said something that has stuck with me through many different experiences. Professor said, “The only way to change things is that you must not complain but act because you have the power to do so.” I became a United States of American citizen in 2019 and during that process, I understood my civic duty and responsibilities. Therefore, placing my first-ever vote in my fifty-five years on this earth in any country was a high priority for me. I was seeking a Difference Maker team to lead the country.

Lashon Clark, CAS ’21, Sociology

The election results of the President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents a sense of peace, hope, and normalcy. These past four years have been difficult for us all, particularly black and brown communities, but Harris and Biden provide hope.  Besides the extraordinary outcome, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s future role as V.P represents so much for African American women like myself and so many other women. Today is a good day. We have a long road ahead, but I am hopeful.

Barbara Sanders, SPS First Year, General Studies

To me, the election means unity for people of all races, more funds for education and housing, more income for the poor…more health funding and a vaccine for covid.