The newly formed Hamilton Coalition for Justice and Democracy, born of a commitment to protect America’s democracy, held its inaugural meeting on Nov. 5 in response to President Trump’s false and problematic claims about the 2020 election. Thursday evening’s event attracted around 80 participants, including both students and faculty.
Seven Hamilton organizations comprise the Coalition: Black and Latinx Student Union, Feminists of Color Collective, La Vanguardia, Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative, Sunrise Movement, Survivors Making Activism and Radical Transformation, and Womxn’s Center. With the support of these groups, the Coalition hopes to become a “centralized force” working “under a shared love of democracy, and activism, and the power of the people,” said Madison Lazenby ’23.
Given the stress that many students and Americans have been feeling keenly in the past week, some time was allocated at the beginning of the meeting for participants to reflect and share. Common emotions identified were largely negative, such as fatigue and anxiety—but many also offered more positive outlooks, saying that they were “hopeful” for the country’s future.
Group leaders encouraged audience members dealing with stress or anxiety to embrace the support provided by the Hamilton community. In this vein, they mentioned Hamilton’s COVID-19 Mutual Aid program, put together by the Days-Massolo Center and Sunrise Movement. “It’s really important to understand the importance of collective care right now, and to also understand that self-care and collective care are linked very closely,” said Kavya Crasta ’21. “Self-care is collective care and collective care is self-care—those are not separate things.”
In an email to the student body, the Coalition stated that “no matter the results of this election, we must stay vigilant and ensure that there is a peaceful transfer of power come January.” Throughout the meeting, this sentiment of non-partisanship was reiterated on several occasions. All the same, Lazenby did acknowledge that “we would not be having this meeting if Trump did not make moves to make [the election] more difficult than it has to be.”
The Coalition is also in the process of compiling a 2020 election resources guide (on Instagram: @hamiltonjusticeanddemocracy) including such information as legal resources, protest reminders and tips, and literature suggestions. “I think it’s one of the best things that we can do at the current moment...continuously staying informed and having resources available,” said Saphire Ruiz ’22. This guide is “very similar” to one assembled by the Black and Latinx Student Union earlier this year, Ruiz noted, only with more updated resources and a heavier focus on anti-fascism.
Beginning either Sunday, Nov. 8, or Monday, Nov. 9, the Coalition will be organizing a series of virtual teach-ins, covering a range of subjects, including specifics about Trump's unproven claims about the 2020 electoral process. Another upcoming event mentioned during the meeting was the Days-Massolo Center’s “Going Beyond the Vote” series, which starts on Saturday, Nov. 7 and aims to foster dialogue regarding “how civic community action extends beyond the ballot box.”