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To the diverse, kind, loving, hopeful, empowered people who dedicated their time and their hearts to this election — you are loved. Your views remain valid and, not only important, imperative to the success of this country.
To the women, specifically those who waited their entire lives for the opportunity to vote a female president into office, my heart is with you. I am devastated and I am deeply sorry. But it is also for you that I refuse to give up. We will not let you and your efforts be washed away and forgotten.
In many ways, hope is not enough. There is no way to avoid what is still at stake: Women’s rights, LGBT rights, people with disabilities, the rights of people of color, immigration rights … the list goes on.
A candidate who won on behalf of hate. Bolstering white supremacy, overriding the terror of sexual assault and with endorsement of the cruelest catalysts for hate and bigotry. This is scary. Terrifying. And you have incredible reason to be angry. Disappointed. Heartbroken. Half of the country has voted in favor of xenophobia and oppression. But half of the country did not. We are left with less than what we started with, and we need somewhere to put that energy.
Choose the same love in your heart that you extended on behalf of protecting those rights, and keep sending it out. Because we are still stronger together. Because we can still choose to build bridges rather than walls. Because our voices can never be silenced.
At the bottom of this hollowed basket is the opportunity for this country to come together in a different way than planned. We can still embody the passion, persistence and commitment to equality that half of America chose to support in this election.
Our leader does not have to represent you. You are not required to support and celebrate a person who has harmed your voice, your rights and those of the ones you love.
You can choose you. You can choose equality. You can choose respect. You can choose love. You can choose to go forward. You can choose to spread love the way Hillary Rodham Clinton would be so proud of. The way she does. The way she has never stopped doing, and never will.
Give a hug. Lend a hand. Make someone smile. Remind yourself and those around you of your importance. Continue to restore humanity all around you. Keep working. Keep trying. Keep fighting. Keep educating yourself and allow yourself to learn from the world around you. Keep challenging yourself, push others and let them push you. Keep loving. Keep going.
Because it is only then that we will inch closer to shattering the glass ceiling, and the barriers that continue to challenge and push us apart. You can still be part of the change. You matter. You are important. You are loved.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Columnist Dani Pinkus at firstname.lastname@example.org.