I woke up this morning holding the dread, anxiety, and nervous hope that I know many of us woke up with.
As I wait alongside all of you for every single vote to be counted, and try to find ways to sooth my soul that aches for the places where it feels like a loss of humanity, I keep coming back to the question (inspired by Dorothy Allison’s book) to steady me: What are the things I know for sure?
No election will define us as individuals or as a community. They do help us understand where the fight is, where we need to focus our energy, and what it is we collectively need to face—in the iconic words of James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
People have the ability to change. Our culture has the ability to change. I have witnessed it in myself, in my community, and even as a country. It is more than just possible, but it takes work, effort, commitment—and support. We are moving through a time of deep reckoning as a country, and it will take all of us to truly shift our culture.
Justice and liberation are never going to be a quick or easy fight. The change we will need to get there is deep and systemic, and one election, one action, or one year will never be enough. While this day and this year feel all-consuming, it is still just one year—and change of this magnitude takes years, decades, generations. We have to be in it for the long haul.
Giving up is not an option. We know our community doesn’t have the luxury of walking away or throwing up our hands in frustration. Because our lives and the lives of the people we love depend on it. Our work continues today and into the future and will only deepen, strengthen, and grow.
Our fight for liberation and justice for our communities is not only about winning elections, though they are often so critical.
It is about visioning a world where true liberation is possible and creating the conditions for its possibility.
It is about building relationships and communities that are loving, trusting, and accountable.
It is about moving through the world with clarity, integrity, and courage to do and say what is needed and right.
It is about caring for and loving our people with everything we’ve got.
No matter what the outcome of any of these elections, we have not lost any of this today, and we won’t lose that tomorrow or next week or next year.
While our souls might be aching for so many reasons, they are intact—and they are deeply connected to the rest of our communities who will always be in this with us. Our values and our work have never been clearer.
We will get there. Together.
Katie Carter is Pride Foundation CEO.