Turning Despair Into Strength

Dear friends and family in the United States,

As a result of the feelings of despair and frustration that the election is causing, I can only say: my heart is going out to all of you.

On October 2nd, after Colombians voted «No» on the peace deal between the Farc guerrilla and the government to end 52 years of armed conflict, those like me, who supported the “Yes,” fell prey of a similar grief. We felt the urge to understand what happened and why. We started to question our responsibility as individuals, as members of a nation, as scholars.

In light of what happened this week, I wanted to say: We can start turning the pain into strength; we can start harnessing the power of citizens to support those communities that are the most vulnerable. We can start doing concrete things.

To my friends who are educators: There is one initiative promoted by students and professors going on in Bogotá. «Historias para lo que viene» (Histories for what is coming). One of their strategies is to take university classes out of the classrooms and bring them to public spaces (#ClaseALaCalle). This is an attempt to create spaces of learning, dialogue, and respect in which larger communities can be involved.

We can invite our communities to reflect on the past, present, and future of the United States in public settings. We can reflect collectively on how to protect those around us, how to resist, how to assure that something like this never happens again.

Lets talk and listen to each other.

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