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Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

The pundits didn't see it coming. The polls were all wrong. And many of us — particularly the groups our new president-elect has targeted throughout much of his campaign — feel like we've woken up in a country that no longer wants us. A country we no longer recognize.

This is scary.


Even though today is a tough day, I know I'm finding comfort in remembering that history was made last night in a different but still good way.

The 115th Congress will have a record-high 21 female senators in it next year, including more women of color than ever before.

This session, 20 of the 100 senators are women. Although an increase by one is admittedly not a huge jump, we'll still have the most women ever in the U.S. Senate next year.

While numbers fluctuated in the years between the bars above, overall the figures represent a good sign for gender equality in Washington. Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

Meanwhile, the number of women of color in the Senate quadrupled.

Catherine Cortez Masto beat Joe Heck in Nevada to become the very first Latina elected to the Senate.

She'll be taking the seat of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who is retiring.

“It should have happened a long time ago,” she told Fusion in September of the possibility of making history.

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

She has no plans to put a progressive agenda on hold because of a President Trump.

“I’ll be one hell of a checks and balances on him,” she told a crowd after the election. “Tonight, we start our fight together.”

Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War who was born in Thailand, cruised to victory over incumbent Mark Kirk in Illinois.

"The military gave me leadership skills," she once told the Asian American Policy Review. "It taught me to stand up and express myself. It taught me, then, to defend what I think is the best solution."

Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Plenty of people around the country were rooting especially hard for Duckworth after her opponent made a racist jab at her family during a debate last month.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris held on to her sizable lead and will soon become America's first female biracial senator.

"All of the most substantial movements in this country started with or have been championed by students," she told Lenny last year. "I feel strongly we want to encourage student voice and take it seriously."

Democrat Kamala Harris of California. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety.

These trailblazers will be joining the ranks of other senators who've made history in Washington recently — women like Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator, and Mazie Hirono, the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the upper chamber, in 2012.

These women and so many others reflect a Senate that's (slowly but surely) looking more and more like the American electorate.

We've got a long way to go, especially with Donald Trump poised to be the 45th president of the United States. But the changing faces of our leaders mean more and more groups and communities — women, racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, and so many others — have someone fighting for them in the halls of Congress. Representation matters because without their say in Washington, it's easy for the voices of these groups — their concerns, their challenges, their dreams — to go unheard.

Particularly in the years ahead, under a president who ran his campaign on divisiveness and scapegoating, it's more critical now than ever before that we hear these voices and make room for them at the table.

Female senators at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

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Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

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popular

Artist captures how strangers react to her body in public and it's fascinating

Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.

Credit: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.

In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.

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via Co-Op and Pixabay

Co-op CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq.

The CEO of Co-op, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has made an important statement about excess at a time when many families are struggling in the UK.

The Daily Mail reports that Shirine Khoury-Haq, the head of a company with over 3900 retail locations says she’s giving her twin, six-year-old daughters one present each this Christmas because she could not “in good conscience” give them more while millions of families struggle with inflation and high energy prices.

Khoury-Haq makes over £1 million ($1,190,000) a year after bonuses, so she pledged to give her family's present money to those in need. “It just feels like excess, given what’s happening in the world. In good conscience, I can’t do that in my own home,” Khoury-Haq said according to The Guardian.

“The rest of our budget will be given to Santa to provide presents for children whose parents can’t contribute to the elves,” she continued. “We’re going to go out shopping for those other presents and [we will] send them to Santa.”

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Pop Culture

Someone asked strangers online to share life's essential lessons. Here are the 17 best.

There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher.

It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.

The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

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Democracy

Cuban immigrant’s reaction to getting his first American paycheck has gone viral

Before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.

The Cuban and American flags.

An Instagram post featuring Yoel Diaz, a recent Cuban immigrant, is going viral because it shows a powerful example of something many of us in America take for granted. The freedom to earn a paycheck for a day of honest labor.

In the video, Diaz is ecstatic after he opens his first paycheck after getting a job as a seasonal worker for UPS. CBS reports that before coming to the U.S. last year, Diaz made $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba.

"This is my first hourly paycheck that I feel every hour counted," he told CBS News. "That every hour of work has importance in my life and that I know I can work hard for something. I can't compare that emotion with anything. Because I never had that in my country."

The new job was a big change from life in Cuba where he had trouble filling his refrigerator. He told CBS News that sometimes he only had two items: "Water, water, water, five, ten eggs, water."

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