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To the Trump supporters who paid me a visit

| Friday, February 3, 2017

Two days after the election, I was in my room in Keough Hall like any other night. Having finished a day of classes, I had returned to my dorm to relax and finish some homework before dinner. Half an hour went by and then I heard your shrieks. It startled me, but I assumed it was a practical joke of some kind until you began banging on my door. “Deplorables knocking at your door,” you roared. “Build the wall!” “Open up! It’s immigration services!” “Trump sent us to get you!” “We’re building a wall around your room!”

This went on for what felt like hours. With every jeer, I felt more isolated. With every chuckle that burst from your lips, I felt more humiliated. I was also shocked. This was not something I ever would have expected from students enrolled at Notre Dame.

Then one of you decided to open my door — to personally breach the safe space of my room. I sprang from my chair and bolted for the door, slamming it and locking it on motion. I now felt like a prisoner in my own room. My back against the door, I slunk to the floor and shouted, “Please! Just stop. Leave. … Just leave!”

The three of you only grew louder. You continued with your insults and after your amusement began to curtail, the three of you began to walk down the corridor.

Somehow I managed to stand back up. Whether it was the grace of the saints or just a spontaneous action, I summoned the fortitude to open the door, to see the individuals who found it so funny to demean and belittle a fellow student.

I looked down the hall to get a glimpse of who would do such a thing. As I yelled “Cowards!,” the three of you proceeded to sprint out of sight. I saw one of you holding a mask. Were the three of you wearing masks? Were you ashamed of what you were doing? It certainly didn’t seem that way.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a deeply religious person. I was so shocked with what had just happened that I began to pray. I finished the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” but before I could start the “Glory be,” you were back. “Trump 2016 baby!” Howling insults for a while longer, you scurried off again.

I was furious. I was saddened. A plethora of emotions filled me. My pounding heart only served to remind me of the sounds of your fists against my door.

I spent the next several minutes reliving this nightmare. I felt numb. The whole experience felt unreal, like something you see in a movie. Certainly, the insults you barked at my door offended me. But what pained me was that it sounded like you were having fun. What revolted me was that you went out of your way to find my room.

Thanks to you, I felt the need to move off-campus to stay with one of my best friends just to get a goodnight’s rest. At the same time, I still needed to keep up with my studies. I had classes to attend, essays to write, projects to complete. Yet, I could not focus. I could not summon the discipline and attention that I pride myself on.

As half-English and half-Mexican, I fondly refer to myself as Brit-Mex. I have always relished the beauty both cultures offer our world. I always thought, only in America could this happen, somewhere where cultures come together and construct a society based on the best of all the world’s cultures. And yet, you attempted to denigrate me for this, for my identity.

This is where your efforts failed. Though offended, I maintain pride in who I am. After sharing this experience with trusted professors, treasured friends, my supportive rector and RA, and above all my beloved mother, I not only mustered the courage to write to you, but also the strength to forgive you. I forgive you for your insults, your laughter, your jeers, the feelings of isolation and pain you caused me. I forgive you for everything. I pray for you.

I pray each of you can free yourselves of the malice and contempt you seem to feel. I even pray that you consider revealing yourselves and meeting me. As students of Notre Dame, I’d like to think that, deep down, you are better than what your behavior suggests.
To quote University President Fr. John Jenkins, “Either we walk together in mutual support, or we do not walk at all. Either we are all Notre Dame, or none of us are.”

Gregory Jenn 


Feb. 2

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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