Dear Cassie

I’m sorry that this elections turned out the way it did, for you, for me, for our friends and family, for our country. I’m sorry we have to watch our nephews grow up with a president that stands for so much of what we stand against. I’m sorry you feel scared and angry and so very sad. I’m sorry that the true America has revealed itself to us – and made us see that we are a nation mired in hatred of one another.

I wish I had words to make you feel strong and powerful right now, in a moment where it feels like our rights have just been stolen from us. I feel stuck and frustrated and confused about how to move on like this, but inside of me there is a voice urging me to just put one foot forward. Put my head up and look at people on the street. Look everyone in the eye so they have to see me. Be seen. Be present. Be bold.

I think that manypeople who voted for Donald Trump hoped this victory would push us down, debilitate us, make us feel helpless and weak. We live in a country that has always harbored great hatred, and this place is no different than it was yesterday. It feels different because we see with eyes wide open, but what we only now see has always existed here.

In the summer of 2017, we are going to get married. I will be your wife, and you will be mine. We will make promises to one another and celebrate love. I know the fear is that marriage will be stolen from us, but the truth is that what our marriage is truly about cannot be taken away. We are a unit built on love, respect and care. We are better together than we are apart. We are two hearts and two souls wrapped together and nothing can or will take that away from us. We will always be us, and we are good.

The truth is, I would die for you. I would die for us. I would die for our nephews, so that they may one day see the America we believe in – the one filled with love, respect, hope and bright futures for everyone who exists here. I would put my body between hatred and vulnerability, because that’s what I want America to be about and I am an American.

I know it’s a hard day. The shock is wearing off and the reality is setting in. People are already fighting – but truth be told, we’ve been fighting all along. We lost a battle, but the war rages. And in this, we aren’t alone – we are one nation in a world and in that world are people who will fight alongside us. We will have to work harder, be louder, stand out and believe things can be better. In other words, we will do what you’ve been doing all along. Only now, we’re going to do it together. You and I, hand in hand.

I know you, and how hard it is to be patient when it comes to change. We talk a lot about planting seeds and watching them grow – and how much you wish you could just plant a tree and appreciate its full-grown beauty. But we have to water the seeds and nurture them and take this moment to see that they’re already starting to poke through the dirt – last night young America voted our way in unfathomable numbers. Your seeds are growing – and it won’t be long before they plant new seeds of their own. We will all continue to grow.

One day, many many years from now, when our lives have run their course, we will know we fought hard and left everything we had on the field. We will close our eyes knowing we taught our nephews how to love and, even better, how to fight against injustice and oppression. We will leave this place knowing that our vision for a brighter future isn’t just a vision but a reality unfolding, and that we passed the responsibility to the caretakers we helped raise and teach what this life is truly about.

This day isn’t the one we hoped for, but it’s the one we have. Let’s be sad, but then let’s change the world, together.

I love you.