Local artists gathered at bar, restaurant and venue Strange Matter for Love Trump’s Hate: a community reading for a night of charity, reflection, support and understanding on Dec. 2.
Donations were encouraged with all proceeds going to Safe Harbor and Richmond Health Brigade.
Safe Harbor offers inclusive services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, offering counseling services, lodging, 24 hour helpline, youth services, advocacy training and education, court advocacy and hospital accompaniment.
Richmond Health Brigade has been offering free integrated health care to Richmonders in need since 1968.
“I just felt at a loss (following the election),” said organizer and VCU Focused Inquiry professor Lindsay Chudzik.
Chudzik said following election night, she turned to writing to express her disbelief and sadness, an artform she’s pursued since she was 4-years-old.
She said she put her own experiences and those she’d heard from friends on the page that dealt with the sexual assault, sexual aggressiveness, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia in contemporary society.
“I know these things always existed, and the election didn’t change that,” Chudzik said. “But it almost validated it. It felt a stamp on these things.”
According to Chudzik, she made the decision to create something proactive that made a tangible difference.
Through service learning classes she’s taught, Chudzik said she’d come in contact with both Safe Harbor and Richmond Health Brigade, and recognized their value to those who are now at increased risk.
“I thought ‘Why not give people a stage that are writing about similar things and not feel so isolated,’” Chudzik said.
She said there were local writers she knew had relevant material and reached out to them directly, but most of the reading’s participants were undergraduates contacted through Facebook.
“People who’d I’d never met before reached out to me,” Chudzik said. “It was super cool to hear from students who said this was their professional reading.”
William and Mary student Amanda Waggoner said she comes to events like Love Trumps Hate in Richmond or D.C. because there’s no space for people who find Trump’s rhetoric dangerous on her campus.
“There’s this sense of ‘Trump’s okay,” said Waggoner. “There’s not a space for someone that feels marginalized.”
Writer J.T. Glover prefaced his reading with an anecdote from an image he saw on social media earlier that day that gave him hope.
“It said ‘Trump is temporary,’” Glover said.
Glover said as a community there’s a lot of resistance to undertake in the coming years.
“Sometimes it’s going to be protests, or going door to door or making calls,” Glover said. “But, sometimes, it’s something smaller, like a conversation.”
To donate and for more information on Safe Harbor visit their website at http://safeharborshelter.com
To donate, or for more information about the Richmond Health Brigade, visit http://www.healthbrigade.org
Jesse is a junior print journalism major and Arabic and Middle Eastern culture minor. He has walked in the valley with no water and bitten the heads off of snakes.
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