Natalee Woods

author. dreamer. music lover.

When Hope Lined The Hallways...

The great Toni Morrison once said, “There is really nothing more to say except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” I love this for a variety of reasons — and it propels me to think about our current political climate and catastrophic presidency.  As we enter week number five of one of the biggest shit shows I’ve ever seen, I cringe—and cry—at the thought of four years under what has proven to be a frightening global emergency.

Following the election, my job as an educator has been challenging. I teach English at an International school and I’ve had the great opportunity — and honor — to learn about my students’ lives. Since the unveiling of Trump’s immigration ban, the mood has changed drastically, causing students to lose focus while living in a constant state of fear. Some have even stayed home from school. The thought of this makes my insides hurt as I still can’t wrap my head around our current administration’s appallingly ignorant actions. These are our kids. This is our future.

I could spend hours on the whys, but like Toni Morrison said, “they’re difficult and one must take refuge in the hows.” How will we continue to resist and make our voices heard? How will we stop and become a listener? During the “Day Without an Immigrant” protest, students rolled out posters on the grounds of the hallways they had made together. I remember opening my classroom door and immediately awestruck by what I saw. Powerful words, statements and illustrations one couldn’t miss, as you had to step over and around the posters in an effort to move to your next class or to the bathroom. Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ alliance, Muslim solidarity, and even suicide awareness covered the grounds. It took my breath away. My students, who I adore and cherish, took my breath away. And as I stood fighting hard not to turn into the sobbing mess I’ve become post election, I stood in silence and thought . . . this is how.