To my kids,

You don’t exist, but today I couldn’t stop thinking about you. You haven’t even been born yet (and honestly I don’t know if or when you will be), and there’s already so much I want to say to you, because the world you’ll be born in to is not the one I hoped or thought it would be.

You and the rest of the future humans deserve a world that’s better than the one we just decided to give you. I want you to be born into a world where your leaders are kind, compassionate, and welcoming. I want you to live in a world where you’re treated with dignity and respect and love, no matter what color your skin is, how much money you have, what gender you are, your sexual orientation, whether or not you have a disability, what your religion is, or what country you come from. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get to that world, and I promise you (and others) that I’ll stay and fight and do that work.

I need you to understand the reality of racism in the US as it was on November 9, 2016, and when you’re more than a twinkle in my imagination, I need you to fight it with everything you’ve got. Right now our country is really, really broken, broken to a point where we (mostly white folks) have chosen a leader who is actively hateful toward people that aren’t white. If you’re white, I need you to stand in solidarity as an ally and empathize with your friends who aren’t. If you’re not white, I need you to know that you are deeply loved and valued, no matter how loudly hateful people and a racist society tells you you aren’t.

I need you to understand the reality of patriarchy in the US as it was on November 9, 2016, and when you’re more than a whisper of a dream, I need you to fight that too. Smash it with everything you’ve got, all day every day. Treat women and men as equals and with dignity. If you’re girls, I need you to know that you are deeply loved and valued, no matter what you weigh or how much our president objectifies, degrades, or ignores women. As you’re growing up, I’m going to tell you about the morning of November 8, 2016, over and over again: I got up, put on a blazer, voted for a lady for president, and went to work at a job I love. I shed tears because before I was born, a bunch of people fought really hard to give me the right to vote, access to education, affordable health care, and good treatment in the workplace. We’re continuing to fight for those rights for you, even if it got harder today.

I want to teach you that compassion is more important than money. That treating people with basic human decency is more important than loyalty to a political party or an economic philosophy. That your power and voice should be used to build people up, not tear them down or insult them or lie about them. I want you to choose love, always, even when hate wins the day.

Onwards and upwards, kiddos. We’re here, heartbroken and scared, but fighting to make this country – ours and yours – kind and compassionate and brave and welcoming and full of love.