A Silver Lining: how Hillary Clinton’s concession speech gave me hope

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Zaira Vazquez (11), Keyla Blanco (11), Sierra Walton (11), and Alyssa Cerda (11) stand. The junior class slept in the library during a school lock-in to watch the presidential election on November 8th  Photo by Maddy Schell.

As a 16 year old Hispanic girl, many things have been pointed out to me. As a teenager, I’ve often been shushed when I try to speak about my feelings, beliefs, or ideas to adults. As a Latina, I’ve been told that I won’t amount to much more than a housekeeper. As a woman, I’ve been told to sit still, look pretty, and keep out of the way of the man’s spotlight. My being has often been belittled. I’ve been told, though not directly towards my face, that what I aspire to be does not matter. After all, I am only a little girl.

This year’s presidential election has been an interesting one. This is the first election in which I understand what is going on, from the campaigns to the candidates, I’ve come to know what exactly it all means. Although I was not of age to vote, I made sure to stay updated and understand what was going on in my country, after all, this does affect my future. When I learned that the two major party candidates were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump I had a very bittersweet feeling. I thought “yes! I will live to see a female president!” Considering she had all the qualifications and was going against a businessman who had no background in politics, I thought this was a no brainer for America.

The bitterness then came into play. While watching the election, I saw that a man with no political experience, a company that has gone bankrupt, with cases of sexually assaulting woman, and a long list of xenophobic, homophobic, and racist remarks, is rapidly gaining supporters. How can this be? Finally, this bittersweet feeling was replaced with utter sadness, disappointment and fear. On November 8th, Donald Trump became the president-elect of the United States of America.

All I could do was cry. By electing Donald Trump, America told me, a 16 year old Latina, that I didn’t matter. By electing a man who brags about sexual assault and has multiple accusations over this matter,  America told me that I didn’t matter. By electing a man who believes Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers who need to be separated from this country with a wall, America told me I didn’t matter.

I spent the next few hours mourning my future. I was looking forward to go to college and major in film and go on to become a successful Latina filmmaker. But now, I wondered if I even made it past college, would I be taken seriously in the industry? I started the school day in tears, questioning what would become of my life, how I would be treated by others, failing to focus in class. Suddenly, my classmate pulled up the CNN website on her laptop and said, “Hillary is about to give her concession speech if anyone wants to watch with me.” My biology class began to pull up chairs and crowd around the small laptop, waiting for Clinton to appear on the little screen.

Hillary Clinton starts off her speech like any other, a thanks to her a supporters, sadness over the loss and a congratulations to her opponent. What grasps my interest is when she says, “We believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone.”

I agree one hundred percent. It’s what I was raised to believe, and what I’m taught everyday at school. I know there were still people out in the world who had these same beliefs. She continues her speech and I hear the one thing I needed to hear that day, “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

America had voted for a man who believed in many things against my being. All I could imagine was how difficult it would be for I, a Latina girl, to become a successful filmmaker. Hillary Clinton gave me hope – hope that there are still people out there who believe in equality towards all races, abilities or disabilities, genders, sexualities, religious beliefs, and ethnicities. Hope that I have it in me to work hard against all odds and overcome the challenges life throws my way. Hope that I will make my dreams a reality. It may have been a sentence in her speech, but it was the sentence I needed to hear at the time. After this Presidential election I have realized that I will succeed and I will be the change.