Yesterday I sat down and started drafting a celebratory blog about the election of the first female American President, in anticipation of Hillary Clinton’s inevitable victory. How could anything else be possible? It was unfathomable to me that the people of America could elect a man so profoundly unqualified, and so blatantly racist, misogynistic and bigoted. A man with such disdain for democracy and decency. A man who was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan.
As a new day dawns, I feel, as I’m sure many do, deeply sad and uncertain about the future. I genuinely fear that having a leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world who encourages such hate and hostility towards so many people will embolden those who harbour similar beliefs to act on that hate. In writing about the issue of women’s rights and feminism during the Trump campaign, we have received more vitriolic hateful and violent comments online than ever before. And we are not even in the United States.
I have many more questions than answers. What will this mean for the make-up of the US Supreme Court and women’s right to have control over their own bodies? What will it mean for international aid and funding of work on women’s rights in developing countries? What will it mean for undocumented migrants living in the US? What will it mean for the mass incarceration of people of colour, and climate change policy?
Unfortunately, I do not know the answer to these questions. But what I do know is that as an organisation, and as individuals, we stand for equality. We stand for people to be recognised as equal human beings deserving of dignity and respect in all aspects of life. So for those of you who feel threatened or fearful following this election, not just in the US but globally – migrants, Muslims, refugees, women, people of colour, LGBTQI communities and many others – all we can say is that from the other side of the world, we stand with you. And we will continue to do everything in our power to promote equality and respect across the world.
We choose love. And we will keep choosing love and peace and positivity every single day.
It is a sad moment in history. And it is right to feel disheartened and disappointed. But we must not let this define us, or silence us. We cannot afford to lose hope. Instead, as a global community this must motivate us more than ever to stand up and speak out for the rights of all people.
We share the sentiments that Hillary Clinton spoke in her concession speech, “To all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
This is not the end. This is the start of a revolution!