By Whitney Smith, News Contributing Columnist
Posted 11:10 AM EST, Thurs., Nov. 17, 2016
Perhaps we were just tired. Tired from fighting our sleep the night before as we struggled to stay awake long enough to watch the announcement of the election results. Tired from feverishly refreshing our Twitter feeds in an attempt to remain up to date, concerned with who would be the country’s next commander in chief.
Maybe it was the weather; everyone knows that rainy days are accompanied by stealth-like lethargy. But more than likely, it was the results of the election itself that had the student body at Howard roaming the campus looking defeated and deflated.
All of the buzz and excitement from election day last week had long passed like a circus that packed up its attractions and headed for a new town to spread happiness and joy upon. For our time had passed, after eight years of pride in President Barack Obama and his family, not much different than our own, resided in the most famous house known to man: The White House, which is a house that was once thought to be unattainable for our people.
With now Donald Trump being declared the next president of the United States, a country in which I served in as a member of the United States Navy, a wave of racism, misogyny and a further sense of white privilege and black grief was palpable. It weighed heavy on all of our hearts and shown clearly on all of our faces. I needed comforting that morning after election day, so I rifled through my social media and GroupMe conversations in search of a meeting place for us to discuss our anguish without interference from the 58 percent of white voters who would never understand what a Trump presidency would mean for Black bodies.
Had I still been enlisted in the Navy or in attendance at my previous private white institution (PWI), I would have been forced to stifle my emotions and carry on with business as normal. Thankfully, I was at the Mecca. On a whims notice, a panel discussion was arranged in what would normally be the allotted time for the freshmen class of 2020. Instead, in that brief hour, five faculty members, to include Dr. Greg Carr, chair of Howard University’s Department of Afro-American Studies, Dr. Dana Williams, chair of Howard University’s English department, WHUTTV’s General Manager Jefferi Lee, Dr. Elsie Scott, director of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center and Dr. Clarence Lusane, chair of Howard University’s Department of Political Science, each shared their expertise on the subject of moving forward with a political and social agenda that benefits us as Black people.
Dr. Williams so rightfully guessed that those in attendance that day were in a deep trance…too preoccupied with their thoughts and ideas of how to never allow future elections to go as awry. I was beyond grateful to have access to such a Black space…realizing that here at Howard, we don’t have to cast our nets too far or seek higher ground elsewhere when trouble looms. We are The Mecca. We are equipped with the intellect, the experience and the will to not only heal our Howard community, but to share the gems of this institution to bring about a change for the entire diaspora.