After Trump won, they decided to get married. And invited 3 million people to join them.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, Jesse Sanders and Josh Seifert stood hand-in-hand in Central Park.

The afternoon was colder than usual, but the couple smiled, warmed by the occasional sunbeam and the confidence that things were about to change for the better. Sure, they'd been engaged for a year, but this day, their wedding day, happened like a goodnight kiss: slow at first, then all at once.

Jesse (left) and Josh during their wedding ceremony. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.


Just days prior, the couple had no clue they'd be getting married so soon. Their quick wedding had everything to do with Donald Trump.

"We were big Clinton supporters so [the election] hit us very hard," Sanders wrote in an email. "We had been considering getting married sometime soon, but I don't want anyone to get the impression that we got married last Saturday out of fear. "

The future is uncertain, but love isn't. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

Instead, they say they wed as tribute to an era of almost unimaginable positive steps for the LGBTQ community, diversity, and inclusion: from the election of the country's first black president and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell to marriage equality reaching all 50 states. The happy couple wanted to be a part of it, especially with the future looking so uncertain.

"We don't know what the next historical era holds but so far, it is looking to be unsettling," he said.

After proposing one more time to Seifert, Sanders sent an invite to his friends and 3 million strangers to their wedding, which suddenly was just three days away.

Sanders, a member of the private Clinton fan group Pantsuit Nation, shared news of his impending wedding with the groups more than 3 million members. His post received thousands of likes and shares. When complete strangers started asking for an invite, Sanders went with it and invited the well-wishers to join him and Seifert at Sheep Meadow in Central Park.

Wedding guests signing the guest book. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

"My husband is self-admittedly quite shy so when I had to break it to him that I might have accidentally invited 3 million people to our wedding, he was a bit shocked," Sanders said. "Once he started reading all of the love, his eyes welled up too and he couldn't say 'no' to inviting these strangers who wanted to share in our happiness. "

The day arrived and Josh, Jesse, their friends, and a few joyful strangers from across the northeast came out to celebrate in Central Park.

There were hugs, well wishes, presents, and even a handmade sign. One guest from Pantsuit Nation, Karen Seifert (no relation to Josh) is a photographer. She volunteered to take their wedding photos.

Josh and Jesse welcome complete strangers to their wedding ceremony in Central Park. Photos by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

"The combination of friends and family we had known for such a long time and strangers who had simply been touched by our story gathered around me and the love of my life, watching us consecrate our union was the single most incredibly profound event I have ever experienced," Sanders said.

Friends, family, and strangers after the ceremony. Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York, used with permission.

Of course, Jesse and Josh aren't the only folks from the LGBTQ community reacting with love and hope in the wake of this life-changing election.

Bethany Johnson of Springfield, Missouri, woke up on Nov. 10 with a knot in her stomach following the election. Johnson, a 37-year-old transgender woman, had recently moved back to Springfield, Missouri, and decided to take a small but hopeful step by sprucing up her white picket fence and painting her gate rainbow colors.

She started her project with gusto, but after a run-in with Trump supporters at the hardware store, Johnson got discouraged. She even considered dropping everything and moving to Canada. But after talking to some of her friends, she decided to stay and fight — not with fists, but with kindness.

"I realized that it is wrong to leave people here who will be doing the work for the society I want," Johnson said in an email.

She got up and met her neighbors, handing out homemade biscuits and telling them how fearful she was. But reaching out and meeting people face-to-face helped.

"I came home after talking to all of those people and I painted my fence and my gate," she said.

Photo by Bethany Johnson, used with permission.

But for every story of love, hope, and kindness in the wake of the election — like this wedding or the rainbow fence — there is also a story of fear and concern.

Following Trump's victory, Jessica (who preferred not to use her last name) in Georgia is frightened and feverishly scraping together money and legal counsel so her wife can legally adopt their son in case their marriage is thrown out in the courts.

"We're legitimately scared for our family," she said.

It's unknown what Trump, Congress, or the Supreme Court will or won't do for LGBTQ citizens. But if the Republican platform is any indication, representatives at every level and branch may try to roll back the clock on civil rights.

Rainbow-colored lights shined on the White House to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage June 26, 2015. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

These weddings, fears, and fences prove that we need to turn our emotions into action this year.

"We can be mad about the election or mad about things that have been said by people on both sides," Johnson said. "But that anger has to turn into some kind of positive action for all of us eventually."

It might be meeting your neighbors. It might be attending a stranger's wedding. It might be painting a fence, or volunteering in the community, or making preparations for the months to come to protect yourself and others. But mostly, it will be listening — really listening — to people who feel marginalized and left behind by the new administration.

"...If you are not a person of color, you do not get to decide what racism is. If you are not LGBTQ, you do not get to define homophobia," Sanders said. "Ask them what you can do to help. Don't make assumptions. They'll tell you what they need from you."

But what I hope we don't forget as we walk forward is the possibility of this moment in the sun.

The possibility that exists between these two men, hand in hand with the one they love most.

Photo by Karen Seifert/I Heart New York used with permission.

"Channel the negative emotions into positive change," Sanders said. "Look at your fellow man with compassion and look for every way you can help."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The BC Cancer Foundation

Testicular cancer typically affects men between the ages of 16 and 44 and is the most common solid tumor to occur in men of this age group. These tumors grow rapidly and can double in size in just 10 to 30 days.

The disease is potentially fatal if not discovered early and accounts for about 11%-13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15-35. An estimated 9,60 people were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020, resulting in around 440 deaths.

So it's incredibly important for people with testicles to check themselves regularly.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.