There are so many ways I could express my feelings toward the election and its disturbing aftermath.

I could start with how heartbreaking it has been to scroll through Facebook and all other social media feeds and feel attacked by the hostile assumptions about Trump’s supporters. I could start by revealing how relieved my family was when they announced Trump as our president-elect. I could start by saying how many prayers I’ve spoken over the violent protests across the nation and for those who truly feel afraid. There are many ways I could begin, but I’ll start the only way I know how––the way I explain to people why I am a Republican.

Both of my parents were born in Trinidad—one of the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Two islands make up the country, which is a very diverse nation because it has been colonized more than any other island in the Caribbean—by the Spanish, British, the French and many more.

It’s not uncommon to see people of every race and skin color on the island. My parents are the perfect example of this—my mom is white, and my dad is black, even though they are both from the same island.

Right before my birth, my parents flew to the U.S. so I would be born a citizen, something they also did with my older brother. A few weeks after my mom gave birth to me, we flew back to Trinidad where we lived (making me a dual citizen).

Trinidad is a third-world country with socialist ideals, with those ideals being the deciding factor for my dad to apply for residency in the U.S. He wanted to take our family to California, where he could fulfill his dream of becoming a filmmaker to provide a better life for his family. My parents waited years for the immigration process to be approved.

The government in Trinidad, like most socialist-based systems, naturally lends itself to corruption because many citizens advance based on nepotism and connections to those in power rather than on the merit of hard work or education. When citizens become accustomed to favors and relationships, mediocrity and corruption reign.

Upon arrival in the U.S., my dad worked as a limo driver, a McDonald’s employee and a gas station attendant to make ends meet. He worked graveyard shifts and attended acting classes in between shifts.

Someone once asked him, “When do you sleep?” To which he responded, “At traffic lights.” He was at the bottom for years until he landed guest-starring roles on television and in movies. With a wife and two kids at home and many times when it was hard to put food on the table, he never relied on the government for help. Fast forward to now: He is fulfilling his dream of being a full-time film producer and actor.

This isn’t about my dad and his strong work ethic, but how we see the world as shaped by one’s cultural background and how he or she was raised.

I was raised in a Christian household with the values that if you work hard, you will go up in life, and I got to see an example of this personified every single day. You don’t need the government to succeed—which is why my parents came to America. They wanted to get away from a third-world country that was trying to control their lives with its government policies and ridiculous taxation.

This is why it has hurt me so much to see on Facebook people with no basis for their claims say that I am sexist and racist because of my vote. What have I done to them for them to think that it is okay to make these uneducated assumptions?

I do not agree or defend all of what Donald Trump has said. No politician, or human, is perfect. I am not a racist for wanting people to enter the country legally just as my parents did. I am not racist for not wanting radicalized Islams to enter the country because of recent attacks. These regulations are put in place for our safety as a country.

Many women didn’t vote for Clinton because women also care about the economy, national security, the Supreme Court and so much more. We cannot separate certain issues as “women’s issues” because THAT is sexism.

Though Trump may have said things that were meant for “locker room talk” about women there are equally if not worse things Clinton has said and inferred about women in this country. Her silence of the women that her husband abused is one of the many examples of this.

I don’t regret my vote, because I made an educated decision. I don’t know too many people who can genuinely admit that they researched both candidate’s policies before voting. I voted for economic freedom, individual liberty and healthcare premiums that don’t amount to what a mortgage would be. I voted for less government and more freedom.

As part of a Christian community, I challenge everyone to hold back their judgments and tongues and listen. We cannot be preaching tolerance that is only fitting to one agenda. Listen to all. Pray for all. Pray for this country. Pray for our new leader.