Dear Friends & Family: It's Time to Have a Heartfelt Conversation About the Election

Bride and groom, wedding aisle
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Yesterday I woke up to a gloomy, rainy morning. I think the city was crying. I know many of you and many people in this country were crying. I was crying. Not because we are "sore losers." Quite the opposite. We are shedding our tears because we are worried that there may be no "winners" in this election. At least not yet. So here I am, in this difficult moment, writing these words to you, my friends and family.

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We have a lot of soul searching to do. We have a big question to ask ourselves ... Who are we?

As many of you know, I identify as a New Yorker. I am an artist. An actor, producer, and writer. A woman. A silly, strong, and smart woman, at that. A daughter. A sister. A fiancée. A cousin and a niece. A friend. A dreamer. A believer. A doer. An advocate. An optimist.

I believe we are all good people. I believe we all want prosperous futures for our families. And, come 2017, when our president-elect walks into the Oval Office, I will be getting ready to walk down the aisle. Family and friends of different colors and creeds will all be gathered in one room together, celebrating the start of my new future with my husband and our future family. I need to know that this celebration will be a common space where we can share love and respect for all. Because for us, on that day, we should be gaining hearts and not losing or breaking them. 

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But today my heart is broken. I find it only natural that today I mourn a loss because I feel a bit lost. And I find myself feeling weak, not strong. Divided, not together. And definitely not great. 

It has been a trying few months. Hell, it has been a trying political year. For everyone. We have seen relationships pulled apart or in different directions due to different opinions. Facebook has become a place of feud and Twitter a familiar battleground. Freedom of speech has been challenged. Freedom of press has been pushed.

While going through my Facebook feed last night, I saw status updates of hurt. I saw some of anger. Some of hope. And even some of joy. Some people were posting things like "get over it" or "stop complaining" and "suck it up." Then I came across an old friend with whom I had done musical theater shows as a kid. She had written that she did not understand the protests and wanted a peaceful conversation. I wanted to have that conversation. I wanted her to understand me and me to understand her. Because I didn't. And in many ways I still don't.

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Yet, we spent nearly two and a half thoughtful hours chatting about what drove us to cast our individual choices. She voted out of her concern for taxes and health care and safety on American soil. I voted for women's rights and human rights and education. These were only a few of our concerns to note. We did not agree on everything, but we could relate to the lens through which the other was seeing the world. We listened. And we learned.

I ask you, my friends and family who may have made a different choice than I did, to please do the same. Please don't wish our voices away. You felt unheard. I get it. So do we. We all want to know that someone is hearing us for the next four years and more importantly the next 20 and 50 and 100.

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We all have asked what kind of country we want to live in and what kind of people we are. I want to live in a country of hardworking citizens who earn honest livings and thrive in opportunities. A country where we are protected and treated with respect. Where racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and sexist views do not drive us. A country where we catapult ourselves into our collective diversity. Where we celebrate tolerance and equality. Where any age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation is fully accepted. Because, let me tell you, at my wedding or on my Facebook wall (of all things), you will be.

That is why I sit here and try to wrap my head and my heart around how so many people I care about might be so deeply and truly affected by this election. There are families that might be torn apart, marriages that might be broken, rights to our bodies and care for our health that might be challenged.

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It can be difficult to remember to walk in another person's shoes. But now is the time. Walk. Walk and relate. It is about all of us. And I love all of you.

We were driven by many things -- fear, bravery, anger, love, greed, generosity. But what drives us now? Will we be driven together?

That prospect allows me to sit here hopeful that we will move out of the gloominess that lingers. Yes, we saw separate paths as roads to the future. But I have to hope that there is a light at the end and that we all meet back together on the right side of history tomorrow.

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