On Slipping Up & Revisiting Goals

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Here we are, a little more than halfway through the new year, and many ambitious goals have fallen by the wayside. I know that personally, I haven’t managed to write every night, practice French for 30 minutes every day, or even work out five times a week. And when you realize you haven’t been keeping up with your goals, your gut reaction is to feel shame or give up entirely because “it’s too late now.”

Yeah, well, tell your gut to shut up.

Goals are incredibly important to have if you want to accomplish anything and evolve as a person. Writing things down and breaking them into steps brings focus and direction into your life (which, otherwise, is just a chaotic swirl of events). But life is messy and we aren’t robots! There is no shame in reworking your goals to be more manageable because your reality isn’t what you idealized six months ago while you were drunk and setting off party poppers. Any progress is better than no progress.

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Most importantly, there is no such thing as “too late”. As cliche as it sounds, you have the power to wake up every day and choose who you are going to be. Your priorities are what you spend your time on in the 24 hours we all have, not what you wish you spent your time on.

So, you wanted to work out every day but in the last three weeks have only gone to the gym 5 times? Do a little internal digging; what’s stopping you from going? Maybe every day is too big of a stretch and constant “failure” has been discouraging you from even trying. Set a new goal for going three days a week. A few weeks after mastering that, increase it to four days. If you’re always exhausted after work and have carved out gym time for 6 pm, try waking up earlier and going before work. If you want to do it, find a way to make it happen.

There is no point in life I’ve found where you hit an upward stride and never stop. Progress isn’t linear, it dips and crests and dips again. The sooner you accept that and learn how to ride the wave, the sooner you stop feeling like a failure. So, pick those resolutions back up again and see what you can do to meet them. As long as you keep trying, you’re succeeding.

June Favorites

A huge hodgepodge of everything I’ve been loving.

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Bright red polka-dot slip dresses worn to the lake, sunscreen staining lacy edges and strawberries staining corners of mouths. Freezing cold drinks sweating in our palms and freezing cold waves lapping over sunburned shoulders, both providing relief from the scorching air. Air conditioning buzzing loudly in the window. Ceiling fans looping overhead. Cool sheets tucked under knees. Warm lemons tucked in paper bags. Welcome to June.

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Relish: Lucy Knisley writes autobiographical graphic novels (say that three times fast). This one is about her love of food and her experience growing up with foodies for parents. The mouthwatering images, cute stories, and illustrated recipes bought this book a special place in my heart. As soon as I turned the last page I purchased two more of her graphic novels.

Happy City: All about urban planning. The writing style is engaging and entertaining and there is a lot of information in here. Honestly if you’re interested in how slums develop and why some cities thrive then this is a great read.

Eighteen Years: Madisen Kuhn is a wonderful jellybean of a person and a lovely poet. I’ve been following her tumblr for about five years now and wanted a poetry book from her for just as long. Published last November, Eighteen Years is a MASSIVE collection of her poetry cobbled together throughout the years–you get to watch her evolution as a writer unfold as you turn the pages.

TheSkimm: Started by two best friends with a passion news and media, theSkimm delivers relevant news summaries to your email every morning M-F. The news is bite-sized, concise, and interesting. It’s skimmable (get it?). It appeals to the busy (& lazy) girl in me who wants to stay updated on the world but doesn’t have much time for extensive news reading these days.

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Margot Lee’s journaling video is crazy inspiration. One big goal for 2017 was to journal every day and I haven’t quite hit that, but I’ve still been journaling much more consistently than I ever have before.

This video is for the hopeless romantic in you.

I’ve never seen a more creative promo video.

If you’re feeling anxious or like a panic attack is coming on, triangle breathing helps ground you in the present moment. I started getting really restless at work a couple days ago so I switched on this video to chill me out.

Any HGTV show. I’m staying with family this summer and we’ve gotten into the habit of winding down after dinner together by lounging on the couch watching tiny houses or good bones or whatever’s on HGTV that night.eating.sloppy

Homemade lemonade: I will never buy store-bought again. My favorite recipe includes…

-7 to 8 lemons (= 1.5 cups lemon juice)

-1.5 cups of sugar

-8 cups of water

Microwave one cup of water in the microwave until BOILING, then mix in sugar to create a simple syrup. Juice lemons, add remaining seven cups of water, then mix simple syrup once it’s cooled. Bonus points if you throw in some mashed strawberries.

Food truck elote: There’s this little food truck right by the lake I go to that serves the best elote I’ve ever had. You can get it on the cob or in a paper cup–it’s the perfect spicy, creamy treat after the half hour walk to the lakefront.

$3 tacos: There’s a little shop a few blocks from my apartment that sells mouth-watering tacos for only $3. They’re made to order so it takes some patience but it’s completely worth it. I never manage to leave without buying fresh chips and guac, too.

Spicy avocado hummus: I forgot what brand makes this (so I’m cursed to never find it again) but hands down it is the best hummus flavor I’ve ever tried.

Watermelon: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. following.sloppy

NYC Bambi (@nycbambi): Her IG photos always brings a little monochromatic, minimalistic vibe to my feed.

Vegan Bummer(@veganbummer): Queen of thrifting/vintage clothes. I am constantly bookmarking her IG photos for later style inspiration.

Rita Tattoo (@rit.kit.tattoo): This Ukranian woman is a wizard with plants and tattoos. She takes plants and sprays them on the client’s body before coloring them in and the end result is nutty beautiful.

Madame Buraka (@burakatattooflash): When I visualize the tattoo I want to get later this summer, her edgy, penciled style always comes to mind. I love her badass depictions of the female form.

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Ripped mom jeans: I never had a pair of true, well fitting jeans until a month ago when I stumbled upon my dream pair. They fit well without being tight and the ripped parts have been shredded to pieces, but they’re still perfect.

Slip dresses: Whether worn on the beach over a swimsuit or dressed up with heels out to dinner, these pieces are the epitome of effortless style. My favorite way to wear them is under my jean jacket (sleeves cuffed to the elbows) with my hair in a messy topknot.

Vintage denim jackets: I found a perfect fitting vintage Calvin Klein jacket for $16. It’s a dream and perfect for late night summer walks around the lake.

Over the knee boots: After years of wanting a pair of tall, black boots I hit the jackpot and snagged a great pair for less than $30. Works well with jean skirts and tucked in band tees.

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Kilo Kish: Her music is poetry, plain and simple. “Reflections in Real Time” is my favorite album and “Existential Crisis Hour” is the best spoken word-song-interlude on it.

Melodrama: Four years after her debut album, Lorde kills it again with an album that is loosely centered around the development of a house party. The song I can’t stop listening to is “Writer in the Dark” and there are two parts in the song that give me goosebumps every time I hear them…

“Stood on my chest and kept me down / Hated hearing my name on the lips of a crowd / Did my best to exist just for you….”

and…

“I ride the subway, read the signs / I let the seasons change my mind / I love it here since I’ve stopped needing you….”

Beach days: There’s something about being on the beach and being able to see the city skyline right behind you that takes your breath away. Escaping, in the middle of all the chaos.

Art museums: Any city, any art museum. The other day, my friend came to my apartment after work and we took the train to an art museum nearby that had free admission for a slim, three-hour window of time. We only made it through the contemporary and video section before it was time to leave, but it was such a better way to spend time together than sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

Getting coffee at five-star hotels: Obviously, it’s out of the budget to spend a night there, but many upscale hotels have restaurants that are open to the public. Even if you just order a cappuccino and read the news, you can get the boujie experience without the hefty pricetag. Last time I did this, the waiter came around and offered free, flaky croissants with little pots of jam and honey. Of course, leave a nice tip before you leave.

5 Podcasts For Commuters (also, everyone else)

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Between my summer class and internship in the city, there has been a lot of commuting time on my hands. I don’t know if it’s sheer terror at the prospect of being alone with my thoughts or what, but I always have a podcast or audiobook playing.

That being said, here are five podcasts that are KILLING it right now and deserve a spot in your library (er, ears?) this summer.

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#1. Rookie: Before I started listening to the Rookie Podcast, I had never actually heard of Rookie Mag or Tavi Genison (the podcast host and rookie founder). I was just browsing new podcast listings when I stumbled across this one and was caught by the gorgeous cover art. Imagine my surprise to find out Rookie is this huge blog empire with over half a million readers! The podcast is wonderful; Tavi is a stellar host, posing insightful questions to her myriad of interview guests (including Lorde, Winona Ryder, George Saunders, and more). She has regular weekly features from other rookie contributors and it’s all just so good. So good.

Good for: People that enjoy eclectic interviews, media content, or Tavi’s giggle.

 

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#2. Hidden Brain: This NPR podcast was recommended offhandedly to me a couple months ago and I’ve never looked back since. The host, Shankar Vedantam, delves into a new segment each week from a narrator’s perspective, presenting research, other experts, and collected sound bites into a psychology lover’s dream. A few of my favorite episodes are “Money Talks” (how we use money to express our values), “Schadenfacebook” (a look into our social media habits), and “Who We Are At 2 A.M.” (is big brother always watching? Actually, yes).

Good for: People who always ask “why”.

 

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#3. Planet Money: Twice a week, Planet Money comes out and teaches me something interesting about the world we live in. I think their “about” section says it all…

Imagine you could call up a friend and say, “Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.” Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening. That’s what we’re going for at Planet Money.

Although advertised as being about the economy, PM goes above and beyond in terms of content. They have nearly 800 podcast episodes released so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but two episodes I really enjoyed are “The Bees Go To California” and “Shrimp Fight Club” (which just came out yesterday).

Good for: People looking to learn something and laugh while doing it.

 

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#4. Girlboss: Sophia Amoruso has had some questionable allegations made against her in recent months, however, this podcast isn’t about her. She interviews a wide range of different girlbosses, from the founder of Bumble to the executive creative director of VICE. You get to hear these about each woman’s first job, their journey to success, and the lessons they learned along the way. Although Amoruso hasn’t put out a new episode since December, there is a huge backlog of great ones to listen to if you haven’t before. Whenever I play a girlboss podcast for one of my friends they always end up asking me to play another. These women are ambitious, creative, self-made moguls.

Good for: People who want a boost of inspiration or love hearing female success stories.

 

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#5. The Messy Heads: It doesn’t take very long for people to discover that I love The Messy Heads; I’m an avid supporter of Emma’s blog, magazines, merchandise, and now her podcast. To be upfront, there are only five episodes and the most recent one came out three months ago (insert sad face here). That being said, I still enjoyed the thought-provoking work, especially the interview she did with activist Ali Marsh. Over the span of five episodes, Emma covers the concept of perfection, why we numb our emotions, egos, the free the nipple movement, and more.

Good for: People who enjoy reflecting on their life, activists, or fellow TMH supporters.

 

As always, PLEASE leave your podcast recommendation in the comments or shoot me a message on twitter. I’d love to know your favorites!

5 Mags You Should Be Reading

 

 #1: THE MESSY HEADS

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Self-love, positivity, and authenticity are three messages you will find throughout the Messy Heads. Founded by Emma Mercury as a blog a few years ago, her platform has grown and evolved into a quarterly print magazine. Right now there are only two issues out but they are full of beautiful artwork, insightful articles, and even several activities for you to fill in and reflect on. You won’t find anything about “getting a bikini body” in these pages—her content dives deeper than the superficial pages of many mainstream media outlets. She interviews independent artists, photographers, and ordinary people who are deviating from societal norms to pursue their passion. Besides magazines, Emma sells stickers, journals, clothes, and other goodies on her site for people who want to support her; even if you can’t cough up extra change right now, you can get a lot of great content from her blog, which is updated weekly.

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#2: FRANKIE

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 Frankie is a bi-monthly Australian magazine that perfectly encapsulates the word “aesthetic.” Their layouts are always incredibly artistic and neat, which juxtaposes the raw, honest content from the people they profile. The international shipping costs are stupidly expensive, but if you do spring for an issue then almost every page can be ripped out and used as an art print (they’re really that pretty). I recommend the digital subscription, however, so you can enjoy the full package for less. Frankie also offers a bunch of free digital wallpapers, recipes, and craft ideas on their website (plus even more bonus content if you sign up for their email list, which I actually recommend).

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#3: LOCAL WOLVES

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 California is one of the meccas of imagination, so if you’re interested in the underground creative scene there then this is the publication for you. LW is almost entirely comprised of interviews with budding artists, entertainers, musicians, and filmmakers—many of whom are Cali locals. These features are a burst of inspiration (especially to us landlocked midwesterners) that take us deeper into the lives of these young creatives. How did they get here? What drives their passion? What makes them want to wake up every morning? BONUS: You can read every issue of their magazine totally for free on their website!

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#4: BITCH

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Bitch is a feminist response to pop culture. Beginning as a printed zine back in 1996, Bitch has grown into a quarterly magazine, weekly podcast, and website with daily article postings all centered on contemporary feminism. This is the magazine for the intelligent young woman who wants to stay informed on important political and social issues, and their effect on other women. Bitch critiques current issues and mainstream culture through diverse lenses and encourages starting a conversation between its readers. Besides the thought-provoking content, there are quirky illustrations and graphics scattered throughout the magazine.

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#5: I-D MAGAZINE

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 You see that wink? It’s a staple of this iconic fashion magazine, which focuses on the street-style of British youth and other media icons. Eclectic and artistic, i-D was founded under the umbrella of Vice Media and aims to spark creativity in its audience. The name of the game for i-D is reinvention—they don’t shackle the future of their brand and are constantly making leaps and bounds out of their comfort zone to keep readers on their toes. Outside of its print magazine and digital blog platform, their YouTube channel is a visual treat for everyone, featuring many short films and behind-the-scenes interviews.

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A Year Without Fast Fashion

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If someone asked you how many seasons there are in a year, what would you tell them? Probably four, right?

In fashion, there are 52 seasons every year.

Does this sound ridiculous? Because it should. Once upon a time there was a summer fashion season and a winter fashion season and people would update their wardrobes with the changing weather (which MAKES SENSE), but those days are long gone.

Major fast fashion retailers (Forever21, H&M, Topshop, and many others) want you to feel like you’re behind in the trends. They thrive off of our insecurity–need it, actually, to continue to see upward growth in their incredibly wasteful business. This isn’t just a confidence problem; the trend of fast fashion is bad for our personal finances, our environment, the people actually producing our clothes, and our wellbeing.

To touch quickly on each point I just mentioned:

  1. On average, we spend $1700 on clothes every year, but our shopping habits are fundamentally much more damaging than this. We buy a lot of stuff (clothing, knick-knacks, houseware) so we need to buy bigger homes that become storage units we don’t fully utilize (a living room AND a family room? A kitchen table AND a dining room table?). One staggering statistic from a Forbes articles (link below) says that 80 years ago a woman might own nine different outfits but now we typically own around 30. Have we really changed that much, or are we just spending more money?
  2. On average, we throw out 80 pounds of clothing per person, less than .5% of it is recycled, and the developing countries we “donate” them to have no use for all of the cheap, low-quality fabric we dump in their home (other than making rags that quickly get thrown away).
  3. Workers are grossly underpaid and overworked, child labor is rampant, and unsafe working conditions cost people their lives thanks to factory collapses (read this article to get an overview).
  4. Clutter is bad juju.

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LONG STORY SHORT–I am going to go a year without buying a single fast fashion item. This might not sound like a radical challenge to you, beloved readers, but I am a clothing addict. I could live happily inside any Anthropologie store and the sales associates at Urban Outfitters know my name when I walk in. But, with eyes wide open, how can I keep feeding an industry that causes so much pain? I would be a hypocrite, preaching the atrocities of fast fashion with bags full of their merchandise slung over my arm.

The fine print? I can still buy clothes from secondhand stores. Buffalo Exchange is where I thrive–I have no problem spending a little extra time hunting for an armful of unique pieces that will cost me less than $60 altogether. By buying only secondhand for a year, I will be using my dollar to support these smaller stores, give used clothes a second life, and vote my ethics.

Today is March 11th. I’m not saying I’ll always shop secondhand for the rest of my life, but this year will do the environment (and my wallet) some much needed good. And if any of you feel so inclined, I would LOVE for you to take the challenge with me. Maybe I’ll upload some of my thrift store finds on my youtube channel for a little extra inspiration.

As always, I would love for you guys to do your own research and let me know what you think about it. Here are some links to get you started:

 

Sloppy Babes: Isabel

Behind the scenes with Isabel; part-time barista, full-time student, and aspiring journalist who believes in using media to fight injustice.

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What does an average day look like for you? What would your perfect day look like?

An average day looks like me oversleeping until 11 or 12, going to work from 2-9:30, then heading home and watching tv with my dad until he falls asleep. After that, I will eat and stay up way too late.

A perfect day would be me going into my newsroom for the school newspaper early–around nine–and bringing some Starbucks. I’d edit three or four articles, hold a meeting, assign a lot of articles, go to class, overeat at home, and fall asleep promptly at 11. Some days are like that and those are the good days when I feel alive…when I feel like my life is going someplace.

So how do you think others perceive your life?

How busy I am is romanticized, but I feel like I haven’t been myself because I haven’t been doing things for myself. I haven’t finished reading a book in a year. I’ll start a bunch of books and never finish them and it feels so empty, as if by leaving books unfinished I’m losing parts of my life. I just don’t have time to get to endings. When I get home from work or school I’m exhausted and I want to do something really numbing so I don’t have to think because I don’t have the energy to.

The grind never ends.

If you’re always so stressed, how do you unwind when you’re completely alone?

Porn helps. Everyone is absorbed by it in some way; you open the internet or watch a movie and it’s there so why pretend like we’re scandalized by it? Cigarettes help too. Standing outside by myself for six minutes a day every few hours is the highlight of my life. It’s not fun when somebody walks by and I know I deserve that look they’re giving me, but on campus, it’s an easy way to start talking to people. 

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Is that different than when you’re with other people?

I don’t smoke around people. My need to smoke comes on when I’m alone and alone with my thoughts. I laugh way more when I’m with people. I laugh when I’m alone, too, but then I start getting looks from people again.

I can’t remember who but someone once said we have three faces. We have the face that we show in public, the face that we show to our family and the face that we only show to ourselves. You’re never the same you are alone than you are with other people. We like to convince ourselves that we’re different because we always want to be something else.

Where do you think your actions are going to lead?

I will constantly be distancing myself from my family and in twenty years I’ll be regretful for that because times sweetens memories, but right now it’s what I need. I feel the responsibility to take care of them, even though I’m the youngest and trying the best to build something for myself. Memories are like sugary wine–they taste so sweet that you become drunk on remembering but it’s an illusion.

I’ll either have a career in what I want, and I’ll probably be constantly disappointed with where I am so I’ll be always striving to do more and climb higher. Or I’ll be dead. But hopefully, I don’t die.

Do you mean that?

Well, no. I don’t really mean hopefully. That’s part of the mask. The only reason I’m still alive is because of the act I’m putting on for everybody. My backstage behavior wants me to die but my front stage behavior realizes that it’s not healthy.

The reason Sylvia Plath called her book the bell jar is because bell jars put out candles and she felt like she was stifled by her life. She couldn’t breathe under it. A lot of problems Plath had stemmed from her femininity and the pressures of 1950’s society on her as a woman. It was incredibly constricting.

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So you’re not happy?

No. I’m not as great as I want to be, I haven’t been reading, putting in enough work in the newspaper, and I’ve been putting too much time in a fruitless part-time job. The thing I’m putting most of my energy into just for money is a dead end.

If this isn’t the life you want, how do you see yourself getting to it? 

I don’t like the ritual in my life, it feels very monotonous. The past six months have been the longest stretch of my life. I turned 19 a week ago but I feel like that week has lasted four months already, you know what I mean? Usually, I’m surprised by time.

I would love to go to Brooklyn for a summer and work with Vice. Also, go full time to school and do all of my homework because that’s the only thing that’s really preventing me from getting spotless grades. If I had a good GPA I could get a good internship, then that experience could lead to a good job and put my foot in the door. It would be full circle.

The problem with being a journalist who wants to uncover the shitty aspects of the world is that going overseas would be really hard because of how women are treated around the world. Especially in places where they really need people, they’re not as safe for women as they are for men, which limits my options.

In a lot of ways, society is an outlet for me to express myself but it’s mostly a cage because society tells me I can only do these things in certain ways. It’s confining. There are limits and rules for being a girl, for being feminine, for being bisexual, for being biracial and for creating. The best journalists need to go anywhere and uncover any story out there but under these rules I can’t go where I need to be.

I’ve been placed under labels for what I am and there’s pressure to conform to them. But I’m trying to overcome them every day and I hope one day I will. 

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Our Country, Our Campus

 

Editor’s Note: As the inauguration of the USA’s 45th president draws near, I thought it would be prudent to revisit an article I wrote for the University of Illinois on how our campus reacted to election day. 

On November 8th, 2016, our country stood divided as Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States. Across our campus, many sat in front of their screens in stunned silence as the results rolled out in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Many took to tears and tequila shots. Still, many others celebrated as their choice candidate took his victory lap. This election has brought up a theme of division more than once, and that long night highlighted the disconnect in our country and in our campus.

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However, while those opposed to Trump might have lost the election, they were far from defeated. Marches, protests, and solidarity events have been happening across campus for the last ten days in protest of our president-elect and the arguably outrageous propositions made during his campaign. The Mexican Student Association organized a “Not My President” rally that took place on November 11th, 2016, where over 300 protesters marched toward Alma to voice their resistance against Trump. Their event had almost 2,000 shares on Facebook and was described to be a show of solidarity against “xenophobia, white supremacy, misogyny, racism, homophobia, violence, transphobia, and overall acts.”

Chants, posters, and passionate speakers populated the main quad and Green street during the nearly three-hour event. The rallying cry heard through the march was, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.” Those in attendance described the event as really empowering, thanks to the diversity of attendants and the strong feeling of support extended between each of them. “People keep thinking these protests are just because we are sore losers, but rather they are to show people that during the next four years we stand in solidarity and not accept bigotry, racism, sexism, hatred, etc,” junior Taylor Breiter said, “We were all just glad to be there and marching with people who believe in love over hate.”

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Love trumping hate appeared to be a common message among the protesters. Everyone there had different concerns about Trumps’ future reign, but they were united as one force. Cassandra Masters, also a junior, said, “I attended the protest as a sign of solidarity and to protest the bigoted demagogue who will be our next president. As a woman, I was also fighting for reproductive justice and rights, showing support for sexual assault survivors, and fighting for the idea that intersectional feminism is not some radical, far-left ideology but rather something that will move our society forward and must be recognized.”

Along with the MSA rally, other solidarity events have been hosted in the post-election days. One such event, rumored to be hosted by an Illini dance group, was held on the quad on November 10th, 2016. Students lined up on the quad and sung “Keep loving, keep fighting” while they took turns dancing down the middle and cheering each other on. Breiter said, “Both of these events definitely lifted my spirits and made me realize my feelings were valid, I wasn’t alone, and that I am happy to be on a campus where so many believe in the same things I do.”

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Not everyone is interested in showing solidarity, however, and these events are taking place in contrast to darker rumblings. An unconfirmed tweet from a UIUC student claimed that a Trump supporter pulled a knife on a Muslim girl on a bus. The tweet went viral soon after it was made, but the allegations haven’t been confirmed by the police department (as no official report was filed with them). Whether or not this actually happened is speculation, but many students are legitimately fearful for their safety in the years to come.

This victory is highly controversial and all eyes are on the president-elect as we wait to see what his legacy will be. No matter your feelings on our future president, safety should be everyone’s top priority in these times. If you are ever the victim or witness of violence, please don’t hesitate to report the incident to your local police department.

 

Photos courtesy of: Jeff Bossert/Illinois public media, Taylor Breiter, Twitter