A literal glass ceiling atop the Javits Center in Manhattan, where Hillary Clinton's supporters congregated on election night, held a nervous energy that transformed into palpable grief as Clinton staffers and the audience realized the country was electing Donald Trump early Wednesday morning. "Nauseous" is how one staffer felt that night, Mic previously reported.
In the wake of Trump's shocking victory, people are grieving, wallowing in guilt, or feeling paralyzed by fear that our country will become less and less safe for women, people of color, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, among the other groups Trump targeted throughout his campaign.
Thousands have taken to the streets to protest his impending presidency, while countless more have voiced their despair on social media. But it's time to slowly shake ourselves from our post-election stupor — time to close our Facebook feed full of politically-charged venting. It's time to face our new reality head-on, and get to work.
For those in a position to part with cash, there are plenty of organizations that can use your money for good. But if you want to put your time and energy to good use, too, there are concrete things you can do on a daily basis to make the U.S. a better and safer place for all.
Mic spoke to leaders of communities that will not be silenced in the next four years, and asked for their advice on what Americans can do right now, should they be in need of inspiration after the election results. Here's what they said.
Talk to Muslim Americans.
"Pew reports that 60% of Americans don't know a Muslim," Salaam Bhatti, a NYC-based Muslim attorney and a spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, said in an email. "Let's decrease this number together."
"The Muslim community has a long tradition of hosting open house events to get to know the diversity of our community. I would continue to urge Islamic center and mosque to be open community centers to all," Robert McCaw, director of government affairs department for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a phone interview.
Challenge stereotypes about men and women.
"[This election] has unearthed the underbelly of our country's misogyny, racism, and bigotry," Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of the Representation Project, said. "It has exposed the limiting gender stereotypes I have dedicated my life's work to overcoming — toxic masculinity on the one hand, and the demeaning double standard applied to women in power on the other."
"Whatever your politics, it's incumbent upon all of us to challenge these limiting stereotypes and injustices," Newsom said. The Representation Project suggests calling out toxic stereotypes in commercials and on TV shows by using #NotBuyingIt on social media and celebrating and encouraging media that defies stereotypes by using #MediaWeLike.
Support community-based alternatives to incarceration.
"Our collective work for youth justice is even more crucial than ever," said Liz Ryan, president and CEO of Youth First. "Youth of color are especially at risk because they are treated more harshly by the justice system, and they are much more likely to be arrested, detained, prosecuted and incarcerated than their white peers, even when charged with similar offenses."
Americans can help the effort to reduce youth incarceration by contacting their lawmakers and asking them to close youth prisons and invest in community-based alternatives, Ryan said.
Talk about your abortion.
To combat the stigma of abortions, Lindsay Rodriguez, communications manager of the National Network of Abortion Funds, asks that people step up and share their own abortion stories.
"Supporters can also make real cultural change by submitting their abortion story to We Testify, and having personal conversations with their networks about their support for abortion access," she said.
Talk about the spectrum of sexual identities.
In a similar vein, Brian Wenke, executive director of the It Gets Better Project, said it's critical to share our experiences and learn from one another when it comes to sexual identity.
"We encourage you to submit a video or a written piece that talks about how you overcame adversity and created a better life for yourself," he said. "LGBTQ young people need to hear how it gets better, especially during times of extreme uncertainty."
Be vocal about your needs.
Self-care is of utmost importance, said Lee Garr, director of integrated care at Amida Care, a New York City health care organization that assists people living with chronic conditions such as HIV. "My work with those who are most marginalized and my experience being black and gay has shown me that people are resourceful and resilient," he said.
"Be honest and vocal about your needs: talk through any anger and frustration, ask for a hug," Garr said. "Get connected: Talk to your therapist, family, friends, write in your journal, volunteer at a community-based organization, read authors like Maya Angelou, or go see an art show."
Turn conversation into action because Black Lives Matter.
"Black Lives Matter existed before Donald Trump's presidency, candidacy [or] any of it. The people who are shocked by his presidency are now awakened to this fight that we've already been fighting... We just need to stand side-by-side," said Amy León, a NYC-based artist who aligns her art with the Movement for Black Lives and its policy agenda, "A Vision for Black Lives."
"In January, we're going to have to come together, black and white, making sure that we're letting people know that this happened -- but it will never happen again... It all starts with us communicating"
Stand with women of color.
"We understand that an attack on [immigrants, Muslim-Americans, women of color] is an attack on all of us," Jodeen Olguín-Tayler, vice president of Demos Action, said in a phone interview.
"The most important things people can do is to commit to take action... on a daily basis. And if people want to commit to take action with frontline women-of-color-led organizations who are going to be under increasing attack in this moment but who are also providing important leadership, they can take... the Our100 pledge, to stand with women-of-color leadership, and that will give them an opportunity to get real-time updates about action," Olguín-Tayler said.
Get involved in local government.
"Whether it's writing a letter to your representative, testifying before city council, or just collecting signatures for a petition, grassroots activism can powerfully reshape our political environment," Albert Fox Cahn, director of strategic litigation at Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.
Or, as Sen. Kristen Gillibrand suggested on Twitter, run for office.
If all else fails, get off Facebook and do something — anything — IRL.
Cahn suggested doing more than writing a Facebook post — the real changes come from real-life action.
"There is nothing more empowering in moments of severe change than to get busy doing something to help people in your community," he said.