On the morning that Trump was declared elected as President, subway riders in the Union Square Station of Manhattan started posting notes to express their fears and hopes. Most spoke of their unease with Trump. Many expressed rejection or disgust. A few channeled happiness for him.
There were many offers of emotional support to the passerby who might disturbed by the election. Some offered religious reflection, prayers, and help.
Matthew "Levee" Chavez kicked off the wall to help New Yorkers who were stressed out by the unexpected victory of Trump. Chavez told a local newspaper, "The last couple of days have been stressful, and I wanted to provide people with an opportunity to engage in a small and easy way ... It started out slowly, but quickly turned into something incredible. I am amazed by humanity. People from all over the world participated and at the end of the first day there were about 2,000 intentions displayed for anyone to see."
The wall is an extension of Chavez's project "Subway Therapy." He started the project as a study in absolution, which in theology means a release from guilt, obligation, or punishment. Chavez gives the term a more general meaning, however. "I have been really curious about absolution for a long time. How do people feel better about things they feel bad about," he says. "I am very lucky to have family and friends that help me process events that happen in my life, but what if someone doesn't have a family to turn to or friends to support them when they are in a bad way?"
He began the project nine months ago by offering a book, Secret Keeper, into which people carrying worries and hopes walking along the sidewalk could share them by writing in a safe place. As he recounts on his website, "More often than not, people would just talk to me instead of writing something down. It got pretty common to hear, 'I feel so much better! This is great...like therapy.' I heard it enough that it stuck and six months, ago, Subway Therapy was born." He moved a sign, a table and a couple of chairs into the subway for people to come and talk. On November 9th, he brought 1500 post-it notes and pens. And kept bringing more and more as huge number of people responded.
Chavez hopes to help the people who "are overflowing with emotion" to "channel their energy into something good." Chavez took the nickname "Levee" to indicate his desire to stop negative feelings from overwhelming someone. For some New Yorkers, Trump's election invoked anger and an omnipresent sense of doom. Some turned to a higher power.
Religious sentiments were scattered lightly and at a low key. The invocations of the divine was mainly general so that any kind of religious folk could take them up as their invocation. Most had a Christian flavor, at least in the phraseology. (It is always possible that some of the post-it notes fell down or were taken away.)
Various values of God and faith were highlighted.
There were few references to a specific faith or religious scripture.
Religious liberty and opposition to religious persecution were placarded on the wall here and there.
There was one person who drew Trump as the Anti-Christ or the Devil, and another who offered an Angel as a protector.
There was an occasional expression of optimism that God could preserve the peace of city, bless the nation, and resurrect our community.