Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic
September 15, 2017 10:55 AM

Although Black-ish creator Kenya Barris was disappointed by the 2016 presidential election results, he is encouraging Americans to “come together” for the sake of the nation.

On Wednesday, Barris, 42, accepted the Rod Serling Award for Advancing Social Justice Through Popular Media at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, which recognizes a modern media professional whose work raises awareness of prejudice, inequality and society’s changing social norms.

During his acceptance speech, Barris called the Nov. 8 election — which saw GOP nominee Donald Trump take the victory over Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton — results a “gut punch,” but he believes the United States can move forward if citizens are willing to have open minds and engage in challenging conversations.

“I think that we can really come together and use whatever experiences we have to make the next 4, 8, 12, 20 years of our lives a more enriched, a more fulfilling and a more honest and open community for all of us and our children,” Barris said.

He added, “I think that I’ve been given a unique opportunity to tell a story and start conversations, and I think that’s the most important thing that any artist can do.”

The ABC executive producer, whose series has been renewed for a fourth season that will air in 2017, has not strayed from tackling real-life topics on the show, including the Black Lives Matter movement, racism, police-community relations and violent protests.

Black-ish airs Wednesdays (9:30 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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