When HRC launched her Presidential run, I was fifteen and I knew very little. Part of me feels like I grew up alongside her burgeoning campaign: as she swept primaries and crushed debates, I felt emboldened in the classroom, energized as an advocate, and more than anything, hopeful as both a teenage girl and human being. Her speeches soundtracked the clarification of my identity.
I get made fun of quite a bit for my passion for Hill, but you have to understand: it's bigger than her. She embodies the female experience--one of resilience and preparedness in the face of mistrust and denigration.
Yet again, the movement she symbolizes was consigned to a status of almost. I thought we'd wake up this morning feeling limitless, and that the front page of the New York Times would feature a picture of a little girl clutching an HRC action figure or something. But this is old news to most of you. Being sad is tiring. So here are three reasons why I'm as hopeful as I've ever been:
1) My dad. He's modeled fatherhood, manhood, and honorability my entire life, teaching me that I'm the sole decider of my destiny. Trump can't take that away from me, or any other young person who has someone like my dad to learn from.
2) My experience. I'm not embarrassed to have invested this much and lost. I don't regret traveling to Hillary HQ in Brooklyn, phone banking, registering voters, Twitter-stalking and recruiting young Democrats, deciphering punditry, and frantically teaching myself Squarespace. The electoral outcome has no bearing on what any of us learned and accomplished. No matter what, we're equipped to better maneuver the vehicle of political organization.
3) My friends and peers. You've all seen the millennials-only "what-could've-been" electoral map, and it's undoubtedly awesome (though it's important to note the many badass adults who prioritized improving our future, took us seriously, and taught me lots). But what's most striking is the eloquence, passion, and kindness I've encountered in fellow teens. I'm moved by the efforts of those I worked with and the words of those I have the privilege of knowing. Thankfully, we'll be the deciding factor of elections to come, and I think we'll be forever unified by this year.
While conceding today, HRC implored us to "never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." I trust her, and to honor her legacy, we roll up our sleeves. I'm thankful to have lived this. Onwards.
-Bella DeVaan, 17 (WA)