This election season, our country seemed to disagree about every issue except one: this campaign has been ugly, and it can’t end soon enough.
Although the campaign rhetoric has likely affected you differently depending on who you are, the tenor and content of the campaign has been depressing and dispiriting for everyone. But for immigrants, people of color, survivors of sexual assault, and women, the campaign has been an assault on our mental health, and in some cases has inspired actual physical assaults.
It’s tempting to chalk all of this up to the enflamed rhetoric of a campaign, and to blame it squarely on Donald Trump. But the truth is that this vitriol has been bubbling barely below the surface for years – generations even. If you care about justice and equity, you know we have work to do, and that work is not new. So we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back to work come tomorrow, November 9.
This election opened a Pandora’s box of conversations that America actually needs to continue. Now is not the time to stop engaging on the difficult, dissonant rifts that have widened; now is the time to reconnect and repair. And we believe the way to do that is through informed, ongoing dialogue that leads to lasting cultural, behavior and policy changes.
- We need to talk about rape culture, the prevalence and acceptance of sexual abuse.
- We need to talk about how to create economic systems that can support all of us when the jobs available to us cannot.
- We need to talk about immigration policies and refugee resettlement solutions that treat people from other countries like whole and valuable human beings.
- And we need to keep talking about race and how it interacts with all of these issues and more.
As communicators, it’s our job to help the organizations and leaders we partner with have difficult conversations that challenge the status quo and point us to just solutions. We have different roles and titles, and different lived experiences and identities that affect what we bring to this work. But we can all use our skills, expertise, and passion to help each other move past the awkwardness and pain that these conversations can generate and on to productive change that benefits the people who have been most harmed by this election, and the years of injustice that led us here.
To that end, LightBox Collaborative, as a white-led organization dedicated to social justice, is making our New Year’s resolution a little early this year. In addition to examining our own privilege and expanding anti-racist practices in our own organization and client work, we are also going to dedicate our blog to the discussion of racism and the use of strategic communications as a lever to dismantle it. For the first few months of next year, we will devote this space to pieces about communications in a racial justice context. Some will be from LightBox Collaborators, some will be reblogs from people and organizations making an impact, and maybe some will be from you!
This was a terrible election season, but it opened some doors that we need to step through on our way to a better nation. We’re not sure what the other side will look like, but we know we have to go there. Will you walk through with us?
Photo courtesy of flickr user Dekan Naked.