Hillary: A Champion for All of Us
The first time I saw Hillary Clinton speak, I recognized something I trusted. That cold January evening in Rock Hill, South Carolina, she showed a brand of toughness borne of years of public service, of sacrifice, of resiliency. She presented a vision for our country that was both progressive and pragmatic, even-handed and layered with the experience of decades in the harsh light of our political world.
The next time I saw her, a month later, a student named Kyla Gray, a Black woman studying at Columbia College, told Hillary that she had gotten sideways glances for wearing her hair naturally, and then she asked what Hillary would do to repair the racial tensions in our country. Hilary paused for a moment, but then began to show us that she had listened to the questioner, and not just heard her words. That she was trying to understand what this young woman was going through. What struck me in that moment was that we had a presidential candidate recognize the existence of struggles that have been ignored for far too long.
This recognition wasn’t unique to that night. Throughout her life, Hillary has been a champion for those often left behind by a political system designed to privilege only a select few. In 1995, just a few weeks after I was born, Hillary proclaimed that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights” at the Beijing Women’s Conference. Those aren’t just words to her. She would go on to create the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the State Department. She fought to ensure that emergency contraception is available to all who need it over-the-counter. And in one of the most telling moments of a candidate’s political focus, she gave the first speech after clinching the Democratic nomination to Planned Parenthood.
And it’s not just women. Hillary has been fighting for racial minorities since her days with the Children’s Defense Fund, where she worked to desegregate schools in the south, including in my native South Carolina. She has also fought to make our country safer, by voting for the Brady Bill and advocating for common sense gun reform. She took her studiousness and work ethic to the global scale when she weaved incentives and force to bring Iran to the table to curb their nuclear program. She worked to fight global hunger, to improve the status of women, and to enhance the reputation of the United States around the world by travelling 956,733 miles to 112 countries.
Hillary is a champion — a force in politics like we have never before seen. She has the toughness, willingness to listen, and an ability to affect change where we need it most. That is the kind of president we need right now. She is inspiring a generation to commit themselves to the difficult work of making our communities, families, and yes, our country, better. When I think about my niece, a four-year-old girl growing up in New York City, I can only hope that she understands that she can be anything she wants to be, including President of the United States.
We are faced with a sharp contrast in this election. We have a choice between courage or fear. Unity or division. Wisdom or ideology. Experience or temper. When I think about the world I want to create in my lifetime, I want a world led by someone who has never stopped working for others. I want a world where we understand that we do not grow as a nation by alienating some, but we succeed when we work side-by-side. With Hillary Clinton in the White House, we have the chance to show all that’s good with America. We have a chance to become stronger together.