Dear Secretary Clinton…

Dear Secretary Clinton (I always hated it when people called you Mrs. Clinton),

My name is Jessica Blum, and I’m a 22 year old recent college graduate at the beginning of a career in Democratic politics. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to thank you enough for all that you’ve done for me.

I’ve been with you since the moment you announced your candidacy, and I’m crushed at the result. When I woke up on the morning of November 9th, I was despondent. I wanted to quit my job and move as far away from DC as possible. Then, I watched your concession speech. Watching you speak with grace, strength, and grit in the face of such an unimaginable defeat was inspiring, and hearing your message that “fighting for what’s right is worth it,” pulled me out of my despair.

Of course, I was still (and am still) heartbroken. But I decided then and there to channel that grief and that anger into action. I’m disgusted that my America elected a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic sexual predator over a brilliant, hard working, deserving, incredibly qualified public servant, but I will do my part to ensure that something like this never happens again.

Secretary Clinton, you are my hero. You’ve been in the public eye for 40 years, and in that time, sexism has done all it can do to tear you down. You’ve always gotten back up. You’re still here, fighting for us. I’m inspired by you, and I have an endless amount of respect for you. Because of you, I know I can handle adversity. I know I’ll be able to rebound from defeat. I’m sorry that more people my age — especially more women my age — didn’t feel the same way that I do, and I’m so sorry that we let you down. It’s the regret of a lifetime.

Thank for you fighting for us. Thank you for being our champion. Thank you for never backing down. Even though you weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling, you helped countless people through your legal work, you redefined the role of the First Lady, you were an excellent senator, an incredible Secretary of State, and I have no doubt that you’ll continue your amazing work through your foundation (after a long vacation and time with Bill, Chelsea, Charlotte, and Aidan I hope, since you deserve all of that and more).

I know you must be disappointed — we’re all so disappointed — but I hope you’ll take solace in the fact that you’ve paved the way for a new generation of female leadership. America’s first female president was watching your concession speech through teary eyes, and she will owe you a debt of gratitude.

We’re going to send a woman to the Oval Office, and we’re going to do it while you’re here to celebrate with us.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m still with you and I always will be.

All my love,

Jessica Blum