Subjects of Trump campaign rhetoric wonder what’s next

Latino community, Muslims, LGBT citizens react to Donald Trump's win

Houssam Attal, Tamara Miller
Dr. Houssam Attal and his wife Tamara Miller of Ottawa County, who are Muslim. (Nov. 9, 2016)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — For Donald Trump’s supporters, Tuesday’s election was an unexpected, against-the-odds victory — a triumph against an establishment that opposed his election. They see boundless opportunity.

For some other Americans, this is a time of great unease, leaving them wondering what’s in store for them after a campaign that featured super-heated rhetoric and propositions that were, for some, unnerving.

Among some of the groups that felt singled out in this election was the Hispanic community — which turned out in record numbers this election, according to the polls.

“It is literally like open season on them right now because any abuse that they suffer, our own government in the highest office is not there to have their back and actually condones that type of hate,” said Teresa Hendricks, the executive director for Michigan Migrant Legal Aid.

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Hendricks said there is real fear among Hispanics.

“And now there is ongoing fear of what to tell their children, whether or not to send them to public places, they have to worry about who they associate with,” she said.

Many members of the Muslim community also didn’t support the winning candidate. Dr. Houssam Attal and his wife Tamara Miller live on a small farm in Ottawa County. They say that though, as Muslims, they are taken aback by the result of the election, they believe in the American system.

“Well, it’s what the people wanted and we accept it we respect it. Troubled? I don’t know, we have to wait and see,” Attal said Wednesday.

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Carol Sarosik and Shelley Padnos are a couple who have been together for more than 20 years, but were only able to get married two years ago. They worry about what Trump’s appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court in the next four years could mean for them.

Carol Sarosik and Shelley Padnos
Carol Sarosik and Shelley Padnos. (Nov. 9, 2016)

“For me, in my heart of hearts, I hope he didn’t mean every single thing he said,” Padnos said.

In the months until Trump actually takes office, all that can happen is speculation about whether his actions will match his campaign rhetoric, but it is not too early to plan how to deal with the changes that may be coming.

“You’re going to have to try and stay under the radar, you’re going to have to limit your contacts with the community and society if you don’t want to become the target of hate and violence and other types of exploitation,” Hendricks said

She said it is important for those who are friends of the immigrant and Hispanic communities to come forward.

“Friends and allies of immigrants and minorities, they have to speak up about it, they have to reach out to the community and they have to make a point of making them feel included in everything,” she said.

The Muslim couple says everyone needs to maintain perspective.

“This really reminds me of that time when President Obama was elected the first time. People felt the same. They felt it’s the end of the world,” Attal said.

Sarosik and Padnos say the way to deal is to involve themselves in the community and in helping youth feel safe and accepted. They advise everyone to be kind.

“Go back to the Golden Rule. That Golden Rule seems to be practiced more and more every day and hopefully this election isn’t going to have an impact on that,” Sarosik said.

Everyone says they hope for the best and ask people to support one another regardless of how they voted or which community they belong to.

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Online:

Grand Rapids Pride Center

Islamic Center of Grand Rapids

West Michigan Refugee Education & Cultural Center