By Ajeya Watson and Ajani Semple
Community Journalism Facilitator: Alissa Semple
Laurelton citizens were not expecting the shocking results of the still fresh election. Were you?
Who did the residents of Laurelton vote for? Will this presidential election affect us or is it just another typical day for America? On November 2nd, 2016, exactly a week before the election results were released, the eighth grade S.T.E.A.M for Social Change students, conducted interviews on the streets of Laurelton Queens, NY, asking residents who they would like to be became our 45th president and their various reasons why they choose that candidate. The people of Laurelton believe that this presidency will have an effect on all of our lives. Some folks were focused on the effect it will have on immigration and deportation while others are worried about the futures of their children.
Hadja, a resident of Laurelton and owner of Professional African Hair Braiding on Merrick Boulevard, told student journalists that she had since voted for Hillary Clinton to be our next president. Unfortunately, as we currently know, Hadja’s wish was not granted. Instead Donald Trump was elected as our 45th president. Hadja believed that Mr. Trump would turn America upside down. According to her, he will make America worse instead of making it “great” again. When asked about the thirty thousand emails that Senator Clinton hid away from America Hadja responded that she did not believe that Hillary Clinton did not lie about the emails, and even if she had,Hadja did not think emails compared to the numerous accusations of sexual assault that have been made against President Elect Trump.
The second person we interviewed was a pedestrian named Genevieve, who also gave her vote for Hilary Clinton. Genevieve believed that Hillary would have made a difference, and that she understands the needs and wants of a mother, such as the need of wanting to see their children grow up and be able to influence society in a positive way. According to Genevieve, Donald Trump is a ticking time bomb”, a degrader of women, and most definitely not fit to be president of the United States. According to Genevieve, Trump is a terrible role model for young students such as ourselves, who will become teenagers while he is in office, and that his presence, rhetoric, and influence there will only encourage and strengthen illegitimate gender roles and restrictions for women, as well as promote a racist and Islamophobic mentality.
Barbara Turner, a store manager of the Western Bakery Restaurant on Merrick Boulevard, definitely would have preferred Hillary to win. Mother of two children and grandmother to four girls, Barbara was distraught to see Trump’s voters’ stamina in the days before the election. She also said that she thought it was unfair of the FBI to reopen Hillary’s case on the emails right before the election, which she believed could sway voters.
Barbara has been working and contributing to the Laurelton neighborhood for over thirty-seven years, and she says that while she is a businesswoman and Trump advertises to her, she pointed out that Trump has filed for bankruptcy many times, and that he “couldn’t be expected to run a country if he couldn’t run his own business.” She says with conviction that she has never seen such a dramatic change in the political climate, and that the campaign has unfortunately become more of a popularity contest and personal mud slinging than a true debate of ability and experience.
Though the people we interviewed were fully against voting for Trump, and Hillary won the most votes in New York, Trump won this November 9th, 2016. How this will affect Laurelton’s citizens’ day-to-day? As for now, the people we spoke to have definitely not been happy with the results of the election. The citizens had strong remarks against a Trump presidency and the idea of him being Commander in Chief. Protests have already begun to break out at Trump tower in Midtown Manhattan. Living in an urban community, it did not come as a surprise that that citizens of our Southeastern Queens neighborhood preferred Hillary, who reached out more to minorities and the middle class, who Trump cannot relate to. However, in the coming months, we will see how his presence in the White House, previously occupied by a man so unlike him in many ways, will affect our community and our country.