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Staff Editorial: The election is over, but we’re not done

While the state of Missouri’s results came in relatively early the night of Election Day, the results will be lasting. The weeks leading up to Election Day were filled with pushing for higher voter turnout, thoughtful engagement and empathy.

In many ways, this year has revealed the fragility of our systems. Systemic issues like the climbing rate of COVID-19 in the St. Louis area, the ongoing fight against racial injustices and calls for abolition of harmful systems in favor of pushing for better ones will define this year in ways that voting cannot wholly capture.

Just a few weeks back, the Student Life Editorial Board had asked you to vote and to vote for the betterment of your community. Now, we’re asking you to stay the course.

The election results offer hope in real, tangible ways. At the most local levels, advocates like Cori Bush are leading the way for a more fair, inclusive and equitable community. At federal levels, for many, a win for Biden meant a renewed hope—if not for the candidate himself, then for what his administration has the potential to do. We owe it to the St. Louis community, our neighbors and ourselves to push for more. The Student Life Editorial Board does not want you to just stop now that the election is over.

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Student Life reported that students don’t show up to protests, marches and other expressions of activism. “Any protest or any community event in general, Wash. U. students just don’t come. We don’t have enough support from any of the students at all,” Khalea Edwards, a community organizer for Occupy City Hall STL, said. “Wash. U. students are always on social media putting out stuff, but they’re never out. It’s performative.”

The ballot measures alone are predicted to shape how Missourians engage with elections. Amendment 3—which barely passed with a slim margin—will amend the constitution to be defined by the definition of “one person, one vote.”

The other ballot measure, Proposition D, passed with more certainty. However, redefining the mayoral, comptroller, board president and aldermen roles to be nonpartisan offices presents more questions for how best residents will engage and advocate for the issues in their own communities.

And that doesn’t even begin to unpack other Missouri electees. With figures like republican Governor Mike Parson re-elected with the backing of a very red state legislature, the very acute impact these election results will have on Missourians will reverberate as headlines and commentary about the votes fade.

Start with what binds us—the University itself—and work from there to explore and understand how the University impacts the greater St. Louis community. There are a network of systemic issues that shape the student experience on this campus that you can have a say in. Join up with existing student groups like Title Mine, WashU for Abolition, Fossil Free WashU and so many more that seek to advocate for a better, more equitable space for all community members. Additionally, look further and find connections with broader St. Louis activism, mutual aid efforts and continued engagement with the betterment of our community for everyone.

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