Very early Wednesday morning, thousands of men and women stood speechless in the middle of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, where Hillary Clinton's election party was held. They were staring up and straight ahead, glassy-eyed, not knowing how to deal with the presidential election results that were blaring on the giant screen in front of them. I was there watching when a panel of political analysts on MSNBC informed the public that, indeed, Donald Trump was about to win the United States presidency.
The atmosphere in the Javits Center was, for lack of a better word, somber. One woman wearing a mauve pink pantsuit began to sob into another woman's shoulder. A dejected man wearing a topi sat cross-legged, his face blank, a mini American flag rolled up in his hands. Still, nobody moved until Clinton's campaign chairman, David Podesta, came up to the podium. When he gave a short, final speech of inspiration and ended it with, "We're not going to have anything more to say tonight," everyone took the cue that Clinton wouldn't be coming to address her supporters in person after all.
Within 15 minutes, most of the Javits Center had cleared out. But even after the crowd had finally dispersed, a few people lingered here and there, kicking around empty water bottles that littered the floor, perhaps not knowing what to do with themselves in the wake of what had just happened.
Before the Javits Center closed, I asked five young women to share some encouraging advice about what they think the future holds for us and how we as a broken nation should go from here. Here's what they said:
"This Is Not The End"
"Keep your head high. We can still make a change, even though it may seem like we can't, even though it seems like it's gonna be over for us. In the past, we can see that it was over for many different people but they still pushed past the fact that this is not the end for them. They still worked for what they wanted. And I believe that if we put our minds to it, we can work to what we want even though it looks like we can't make it."
— Sydney Jackson, 17
"Four Years Can Fly By"
"Even when all is said and done, we are seeing ourselves in a Trump presidency and everything that that comes with. You know, four years can fly by. I feel like the eight years with Obama flew by, and it can just make us that much more focused for what needs to be done after the fact. And honestly, I feel very skeptical about him even lasting the full four years. So we'll see how it goes."
— Chanel Washington, 23
"We Just Need To Accept It"
"The decision or result is there, and we just need to accept that. There's nothing else we can do, at least for now."
— Betty Wu, 26
"Never Give Up"
"Never give up. Never stop. We can't let him take away anything from us, whether it's female issues or LGBT rights or anything else. No matter if they (the GOP) have the majority of the House or the Senate, we just have to try and stop them from taking anything away from us."
— Kendall Stewart, 18
"We Still Have A Big Opportunity Here"
"I like that slogan: Love trumps hate. All we can keep doing is adopting all of the policies that we would've wanted Hillary to adopt and standing up for the people we still want to stand up for. Like, the president alone cannot ruin everything. The president can also not make everything better. And so, I think we still have a big opportunity to be able to keep Trump in line and make sure that he doesn't do a lot of the really wrong things he's talked about and that he doesn't demean women and other people the way he has already."
— Nikita Shamdasani, 23
Images: Bustle/Wendy Lu (6).
Correction: Camille Ren's quote was removed because she was misidentified as a Clinton supporter.