11 pics of messages strangers left on New York's subway walls after the election.

Donald Trump won the presidential election. And in the 48 hours since, many of us have grappled with a wide range of overwhelming questions.

How could this happen? How will my family be affected? Will my rights be taken away?

For some, our knee-jerk response is to act. We run to protest. We reach for the megaphone. We tweet until we're blue in the face. And that's great — we need people on the front lines.


But for many of us, we need to be OK ourselves before we can act. We need inner peace. We need focus. We need time. And that's where Subway Therapy comes in.

Artist Matthew “Levee” Chavez runs Subway Therapy below the streets of New York City.

Photo by Jess Blank/Upworthy.

He usually sets up shop underground with a table and two chairs — one for him, and another for any stranger to sit down and chat about whatever's on their mind.

“I think there’s so much fear, despair, depression, anxiety, stress, that it’s really crippling people’s ability to move forward," he said.

Chavez thought his services would be especially helpful in the aftermath of a divisive election that left many feeling anxious, scared, and confounded.

He pulled out his table and chairs, like usual, but decided to go a step further this time, bringing Post-it notes and some pens for folks to express themselves in writing and stick their notes to the tiled wall.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The idea took off.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

About 1,500 notes were left posted to the walls of New York's underground.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

"Your hijab is beautiful," wrote one person in a clear sign of unity with our Muslim friends and neighbors.

Photo by Jess Blank/Upworthy.

"I will always stand by your side," read another.

Photo by Jess Blank/Upworthy.

"Stand tall. We will overcome and grow together."

Photo by Jess Blank/Upworthy.

“Dear NY, I know not all is well. But it’s time to step up the game like after the towers fell. Walk into this storm with strong hearts and firm feet."

Photo by Jess Blank/Upworthy.

"It's been really beautiful," Chavez told ABC News of the reactions.

"What an amazing day. 1,500 Post-its, thousands of people."

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

To anyone struggling to process this election, it's OK — so many people are right there with you. Take a moment. Breathe.

Write out your emotions on a sticky note, if you want. Clearly, it helps.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

We've got a lot of work ahead of us, after all. And it's work that's best done when our heads are clear and our hearts are full.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.