In her first public appearance since her concession speech, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech tonight at the Children's Defense Fund that was both inspiring and moving.
After honoring the recipients of CDF awards, she spoke of the election and the future.
"I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election," Clinton said with a rueful smile. "I am too. More than I can ever express."
Clinton reminded everyone that she got into public service to help children, and still holds that goal dear.
"I hoped to build on the progress President Obama has made. because I know that we are stronger together when we are lifting each other up. And let's be clear that when I talk about children in or near poverty, this isn't someone else's problem. These aren't someone else's children" she reminded. "This is America's problem because they are America's children."
"We have work to do," she exhorted. "I ask you to stay engaged. Stay engaged on every level."
"I know this isn't easy. I know that over the last week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep. But please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never, ever give up."
Near the end, she told the story of her mother being put on a train as a child with her little sister and sent to California on the train to their grandparents. Her mother was just 8 years old. She was put in charge of her little sister, who was only 5 years old.
"Sometimes I think about her on that train. I wish I could walk down the aisle and find the little wooden seats where she sat holding tight to her younger sister, all alone and terrified. She doesn't yet know how much more she will have to face and even suffer. She doesn't yet know she will find the strength to escape that suffering. That's still years off. Her whole future is unknown, as it is for all of us, as she stares out at the vast country moving past her."
Imagine that. I can't. I simply cannot. And I cannot imagine it for any child in this country.
She continued, "And I dream of going up to her and sitting next to her and taking her in my arms and saying, 'Look. Look at me. And listen. You will survive. You will have a family of your own. Three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up to be a United States Senator, represent our country as Secretary of State, and win more than 62 million votes for President of the United States.'"
Her mother is smiling on her from somewhere. What a spine of steel she has.