Our voices: 17 metro Atlantans explain what Trump’s victory means to them

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For the past two days, photographer Dustin Chambers and writer Camille Pendley have traveled across metro Atlanta to talk to people about how they’re feeling after the election, and what a Trump administration will mean for America.

Atlantans on the election

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Denzel McCrarie, 23
Griller/cook at Waffle House
Adamsville

I believe in the world, but you know how the world goes. I don’t think nobody is for us anyway, as a people. I’m talking about “us” as me being a black person. Not an African-American—a black person.

I have no problem with black people, I have no problem with white people—with any race. I have a problem with suppression. I have a problem with people who think they’re better than me. Hillary and Donald? Neither one of them was for justice for me.

I don’t feel like any president has done anything to compensate us. Who is going to do that? To stand up for a people who has been oppressed?

And I really knew that Trump would get into office because America is a joke. It’s a joke! If you look around, you’ll see the big old buildings that they build, but then you see a million homeless people right there on the same corner of the buildings.

It’s Donald Trump. I don’t have to say too much—it’s Donald Trump who’s in office now. I don’t feel like he won. I feel like hate won. I feel like racism won.

Micki

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Micki Slaton, 86
Accountant
Woodland Hills

My main concern is Homeland Security because of all the terrorist attacks and that sort of thing. We had better Homeland Security when Bush was in, but it’s been relaxed a lot in the last eight years. I feel like it’ll get better now.

I’m a Republican, so I voted for my party. It was mostly the party, but I got more interested in [Trump] during the last week. His whole demeanor sort of changed and got more adult and responsible, and more in line with what I thought was important.

I thought [Hillary] was a very strong woman, and I’ve been a career person all my life. In fact, I’m still working, and I’m 86 years old.

I felt kind of bad that she was so disappointed and her hopes had been built up. She’s really worked hard for what she wanted. But deep down I have to admit that I do think the President of the United States should be a man because a woman is a weaker person just by natural nature—just by nature.

But I didn’t not vote for her because she is a woman, at all. If I’d liked her and I’d believed in what she stood for and everything, and if I’d been a Democrat, absolutely.

Carson

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Carson Newsome, 17
High school student
Canton

We’ve come so far as a country and we’ve moved so far forward, and it was kind of like we took a step back almost. But we can’t stop. If we want to move forward as a country we can’t stop.

I have fears that we will go back. That he spoke of taking away the marriage law and taking away the laws that have been put in place to keep transgender people safe and keep LGBTQI+ people safe.

But hey, can’t take our rights away. Because I feel like our rights don’t have to be put down on paper.

After Donald Trump was president, I woke up the same gay, teenage, homosexual student scholar that I was. And you know, just because he’s president, just because he might take some rights away off of paper doesn’t mean that my rights are taken away.

Doesn’t mean I’m any less than any other person.

Adnan

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Adnan, 22 (asked that his last name not be used, because he fears discrimination)
Computer science student at GSU and Kennesaw State University
Doraville

We had some students that stood on top of a bench telling us how Sharia law is going to be in America soon if Trump doesn’t become president. Like if Hillary wins, there’s going to be Sharia law. None of this stuff makes sense but there is a lot of ignorance going around.

I have some Muslim friends that are afraid of wearing hijabs now. They try to stay with their own type of people. They’re really afraid of being in a MARTA car with no one else that’s like them and their complexion.

Trump says he’s going to set the bar soon banning Muslims from leaving the country or entering the country. It kind of makes us feel like we’re trapped here now.

The moment that we heard that Donald Trump won and I picked my sister up, she actually asked me, “Are we illegal? Are we going to get kicked out of the country?”

She’s nine. When I was a kid, I didn’t have to worry about it. I was watching Power Rangers. And she’s in the place that she was born, and she’s worried about being kicked out.

Dwayne

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Dwayne Scott, 56
Retired paper printer
Commerce

I’m looking forward to change—for the economy to get better, for jobs to come back to America. When I lived in Ohio, there used to be 50 factories within 20 minutes of my house. And now there’s no factories in Ohio. They’ve just about all moved out to a foreign country.

I had seven jobs in one year because of places closing. And so that’s what I’m looking forward to—change to where we do have jobs in America.

I like that he is pro-life and outspoken—a lot of people don’t like what he speaks, but at least he’s outspoken. He don’t try to cover it up. Some things are a little bit crude, but at least he’s honest. Or he appears to be.

I’m not concerned. It’s not a dictatorship; it’s a democracy. So he’s not the king, he’s going to be president. He can’t do but so much because he doesn’t have the authority to do whatever he wants to do.

Kris and Eden

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Kris Dunbar, 39, (with son Eden, 10)
Bike shop owner
Stone Mountain

How do I feel about it? I guess it’s mixed emotions. My thing right now is: Change is inevitable; we need it. So I’m like, look, he’s in. We’re not changing it. It’s not going to change no matter how many protests we do. At this point, let’s see what he has.

Change is needed, for instance, in education. In black neighborhoods, the schools are really poor. I’m homeschooling my fifth-grader because the schools in my neighborhood have been letting my son down since the second grade.

Trump has a big mouth. He offends people. But you know what? Sometimes people need their toes stepped on.

Jacque

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Jacque Hamilton, 52
Entrepreneur; Interior designer and rental management company owner
Buckhead

I think having a businessperson creating the vision versus a politician is exciting. To me, everything should be run pretty much like a business if it’s going to work.

For me, our country was founded on Christian principles. That’s what I like, and that’s what I’m about. I don’t want to be a Socialistic society. So the more we get back on board with—I hate to say Republican because I don’t like to call things things—but more conservative, consistent with the way the Constitution was written, the better off we’re going to be.

It was a very spiritual thing that happened. It’s literally impossible what happened, that we got all Republicans in the Senate and then the Congress. And then that Donald Trump pulled the whole thing off.

It showed me—I’m an entrepreneur—that if you get out there and you do the work, things are going to happen. I mean this guy was relentless.

It just shows you that kind of passion, even when the odds were against you, works itself out.

Leonardo

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Leonardo Leoner, 52
Business owner
Austell

At this point I don’t know what will happen with this man because this gentleman, one day he says something and another he says something different. That person, you can’t trust him. I have [lived] 30, almost 40 years in the United States.

I never thought that someone of this quality would win here because this guy, he has nothing inside his brain.

Immigrants—a lot of people—are scared. They’re saving their money to get out of here just in case. Trump told a lot of people he’s going to make the United States great by pushing people out of the United States. You can’t trust people like that.

Not everybody comes to this country to drink and to smoke and do bad things. I’m working hard; I’m working two jobs.

Go downtown right now and look outside. Who’s working there? Go to Shallowford Road. Who’s working there? Go to Walmart. Who’s working there? Immigrants. These people are making people that own businesses rich. Donald Trump has many, many casinos in Atlantic City. Who puts the carpet in the casino? The same immigrants he’s saying he’s going to tow away!

Bennett

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Bennett Hutchison, 66
Commercial roofing contractor
Vinings

I’m American by birth, but I’m Southern by the grace of God. I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. watching the election. I went to bed elated. Totally.

I want him to rebuild our defense to be the strongest in the world, because its presence is a threat to foreign aggression, such as Putin trying to take over Crimea.

Number two, I want him to drain the swamp and begin a movement to establish term limits so we can get all the ruling class out of Washington, and, as envisioned by our founding fathers, send gentlemen statesmen up there to serve a set number of terms and then go back to their own constituencies and their own private work. And no lobbying. There’s too much money—too big a gain, too big a trough.

We need to totally abolish the EPA and most of the regulatory agencies unless there are direct health threats or life threats. We need to have a very rigid and strict vetting of immigrants. I think the security of the United States is at jeopardy.

[If Hillary had won] I would be going to Panama in January looking for a place to be an ex-pat. I think it would have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

I don’t think the road for [Trump] is going to be easy, but I think draining the swamp is going to be a test. I’m behind him, and if he accomplishes half of what he promises, this country will be back on the road to becoming the place that was envisioned by our forefathers.

Katherine and Elsa

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Katherine Correa, 22, and Elsa Pariz, 23
Sales associates at a cell phone accessories booth
Lithonia and Lilburn, respectively

Katherine: We are not here for pleasure. Our situation back in our country is really hard. That’s why we are here. We’re from Venezuela. You don’t know the situation of each people, so you can’t decide what people is good and what people is bad.

All of us, we are not delinquents. We are here because in our country, we don’t have food. Medical resources, we don’t have it. We don’t have careers. [Elsa]’s a lawyer.

Elsa: I can’t find a job because I’m not with the government side. I’m on the opposite side [in Venezuela].

Katherine: And I’m here because I work with medical supplies—we don’t have medical supplies [in Venezuela]. We’re here because we don’t have another choice.

Elsa: We have political asylum, so we don’t know what’s going to happen.

Katherine: I love the United States because they received us with the asylum. But it’s not okay to say . . .

Elsa: Everybody is bad. Just because we were not born here.

Derrick

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Derrick Rosenberry, 59
Construction worker
Palmetto

I’m glad Trump won. We can’t handle no more Hillarys or none of that kind of stuff. I never liked Obama at all. I mean, I liked Bill Clinton for a Democrat; he did good. I just didn’t think his wife was going to do any good.

It’s like Trump’s going to try to straighten out the country. He’s not going to go with the flow. He’s not going to let nobody tell him what to do. He’s going to make his own decisions. He’s not going to have somebody saying, “Oh, well this is the way we do it!” you know? “You just sit here. You sign what you came to sign.” Trump, I don’t believe, is going to do that.

I just think we need to get some more rights back, you know? Job opportunities, all that kind of stuff. For one thing, get us out of debt.

How can somebody put us in that much debt?

Haroun

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Haroun Shahid Wakil Alimin, 36
Entrepreneur
Bankhead

I wish Hillary would have won, but he won. I ain’t really trippin’. It was really like a wake-up call for us people. Because everybody’s realizing they got to unify, come together, and work as one. The blacks and the whites, everybody.

We’re going to have to work with him because he’s in charge. I’m fighting for freedom and justice for all people. We don’t need a president who’s ignorant; we need a president who’s got intelligence.

We need the other people to stand up—like governors and senators, we need everybody to stand up and say something to him, because this guy has never been political a day in his life. He might make a mistake, so we need people that got the experience to help him and make sure he don’t screw up.

The poor need to come together because it’s basically about high class and low class now. If you ain’t got money, you in trouble. You saw how he became president. You see what I’m saying, money talks.

Barbara

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Barbara Stevenson, 64
Office manager
Loganville

I do respect the office of the presidency, but I’m concerned and worried for the country. I’m worried about him going after certain groups. He’s so opinionated; he’s against women, is what it seems like.

He doesn’t pay taxes! I pay taxes. It’s not fair. I don’t care how much money he has, it’s not fair. And he’s never served in the military, which okay . . . but then you’ve never paid taxes and you’re going to run our country and tell us how to spend the taxes that the average homeowner and the average person is paying into every year? Hey, I’d love not to pay taxes! It’d be wonderful!

So it just doesn’t sit right with me. I’m getting ready to retire. I’m worried about Social Security. What’s he going to do to that? What’s the stock market going to do to what I have invested in it during this period? Because no one likes the uncertainty. It’s like, what is he going to do next? What is he going to say?

I’m like, you’re about to take the office of the President of the United States. Don’t embarrass us.

Bintou

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Bintou Couribaly, 20
Political science student at GSU Dunwoody campus
From the Ivory Coast, came Norcross two years ago (Could not vote in this election)

I’m not really happy after all he said about Africans and Muslims, but I can’t do anything about it because I’m from another country. I am Muslim. It’s just like I have to take the result that’s out there.

Friends and family back in the Ivory Coast, they don’t like him. I think most Africans don’t like him because of things he said. We’re afraid of what he could do to us. Africans depend on the United States and their help.

I hope [the Trump presidency] will be better for Americans and for people who come here to study and that life will be easier. Because it’s difficult here, the struggles with transportation and the healthcare. It’s expensive here to [get medical attention] so I hope it will be okay. I hope he will address these things but I don’t think so. I don’t expect much from him. Maybe with time.

Tommy Thomas (left)

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Tommy Thomas, 65 (pictured left)
Barber shop owner
Fayetteville

I think it’s great! I have no problem with it. I had to pick the least of the two evils, and he was the least. I’m happy.

I’m hoping he’ll give a lot of tax breaks to small businesses and big businesses. I want to see him do something about the national debt. I think he will. I think he’ll do something about education. [And] putting people back into full-time jobs instead of part-time jobs. I’m tired of everybody having to work two jobs to make ends meet.

And don’t forget—people getting an education and getting all these student loans, they should be paying that back! It’s been going on for forty years. I had to pay my bills; they should pay theirs. There ain’t no free education in our country. You should work to pay for it.

I’m tired of that freeloading stuff. That’s a bunch of bull in my book.

My kids go to college—why can’t other parents pay for their kids? Or why can’t their kids get a part-time job and work their way through college? Working is good for people! We’ve got too many lazy people in our country now, too sorry and too damn lazy.

Our senators, our congressmen, they’re all riding this gravy train. They all drank the Kool-Aid. It’s time to get them working.

Jennifer

Photograph by Dustin Chambers

Jennifer Ward-Woods, 53
Interior design shop co-owner and designer
Stone Mountain

I just felt like that the presidential election has caused a division in our country, and I don’t think the person that was chosen is the best person suited to resolve that tension. I think he mainly caused it. So I was very disappointed that half of our country didn’t vote. It’s going to impact so many people. I was just really hurt.

I’m very, very uneasy and nervous about what the future holds. Because I don’t feel like, as commander-in-chief, he has the temperament to do that job. I know people in my family that have Obamacare. And I have friends that had pre-existing conditions for years [and] couldn’t get insurance. I’m really nervous about what’s going to happen with that. I also feel like that everything our current president has done and worked hard to put in place, it’s just all going to get wiped out.

I don’t [have any hope]. Maybe ask me next week.

As told to Camille Pendley; transcriptions have been edited for length and clarity.

Camille Pendley is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Atlanta covering social and criminal justice issues. Follow her @camillependley.

Dustin Chambers is a freelance photographer based in Atlanta whose work “looks for the invisible, intangible elemental threads that unify everyone and everything.”

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