Under A Trump Presidency, A Young Activist Sees Hope In Resistance
Today we present the first story in our new series, "The Road Ahead," in which we bring you the voices of real people from across the political spectrum. It's your neighbors, sharing their hopes and fears about the new Trump administration.
A few weeks ago, the Women's March in Greensboro and around the country suggested there's a growing resistance against the policies of President Donald Trump, and Bennett College junior Azuree Bateman is part of that resistance.
Bateman is a hard-working student, a journalist, and an activist. Plus, she loves movies, especially those based on books.
"So like, Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird... But my all time favorite would have to be Back to the Future," she says.
Bateman doesn’t just seek out drama on the big screen. She’s also found it in politics as both a reporter and organizer with a passion for social justice issues. That work has become more urgent for her since Donald Trump won the presidency.
“Election night was just…it was a roller coaster of emotions," she says.
2016 was the first time Bateman had a chance to vote in a presidential election. She had admired Barack Obama, and she especially did not like Donald Trump. As it became clear that Trump would win the Electoral College, she was overcome for a moment.
"I really just sat there and was crying. [I] shed a few tears, looked at everybody around me and was like, 'all right, is everybody ready for tomorrow?'”
Since then, Bateman says she’s been preparing herself and her friends for what she believes will be a difficult time for America, and particularly people who are already marginalized. So far, she says, the constant drumbeat of big news out of Washington has been concerning.
"The political climate is a scary one," she says. "You could wake up one morning and everything that you kind of know can be totally different than what you were expecting."
She says it’s not just the issues themselves, but the speed at which the administration is moving with some of its most controversial campaign promises, including the president’s recent immigration ban.
"I have family members and close friends that are Muslim, so for me that kind of hit close to home, and I'm like, 'no that's not OK,'" she says.
Bateman is worried about where the United States might be headed as a country, but at every turn, she also speaks with determination.
"A year from now, I think things might be worse. It seems like [Trump] has a very, very straight path that he's sticking to," she says. "And so the more and more he's putting out these executive orders, the people are going to resist."
Despite all of her concerns about what's to come, that theme of resistance and community involvement are the core of where Azuree Bateman finds hope. And though she seems certain that life under the Trump administration will be more difficult, she also points out that difficult times create the conditions for change.
"This could also be a great time for people to come and really see what's happening and giving people the opportunity to find new skills and capabilities that they have to help people," she says.
In fact, she says she’s already seeing friends becoming more involved and more interested in political causes, even people who never showed interest in government before.
For Bateman, that’s heartening. It's the first step in what she says is her new favorite slogan: “educate, motivate, organize.”