Honorable Secretary Clinton,
I am Sofia, an European girl studying Medicine and a great admirer of yours. I've thought so many times about what I would write to you and I've actually compiled a couple of unsent letters in which I reflect upon how important your Wellesley speech of 1969 is to me (I'm 22 now, so I'm about the age you were when you delivered it). Anyway, I thought that instead of reflecting upon abstract instances in which you've inspired me, I'd like to share something very real that happened this week and that has to do with you.
So, I was following around the big-boss physician I was assigned to when a colleague came up to him to show him a survey about the opinion on some treatment guidelines our center was going to administer to a big number of experts across Europe. The big-boss was pleased, but since I'm more fluent in English than they are, I noticed a couple of glaring and a bit embarrassing mistakes. Anyway, I thought I should keep my mouth shut because it wasn't my place to question my seniors, but then (I kid you not), the powerful words from your concession speech came back to me.
I might not be "a little girl" anymore, but I thought to myself "I am valuable," and my voice is too, so I told them about those mistakes. They thanked me and gave me the whole document to proofread and I added some more suggestions of my own, which I had drawn from my experience in their unit.
It was a bold move and I didn't know how it would have panned out, but in the back of my head there was still your voice saying those words, so I thought I should try like you always encourage us to do. Turns out they were thrilled and they've asked me to actively participate in some of their upcoming projects!
I know this whole example seems like what the youth calls a "humblebrag", but the message I wanted to convey is that: yes, I had a great amount of dumb luck and fortunately there were some men in a position of power who actually recognized and encouraged my contribution, but the point is that I had spoken up and I had made that contribution in the first place, when a couple of months ago I would have stayed silent. And you are the one who has encouraged me not to be silent anymore.
I know it sounds silly because you'll never get to know them all, but I feel like with every accomplishment we get, by speaking out and make sure we are heard, we "avenge" you, even just fractionally, in a way that's beneficial and not violent. Something else I wanted to point out from what happened to me is that a speech isn't just hollow words. The Wellesley speech, the Beijing speech, your concession speech (just to highlight some of the most famous ones): those words have switched thousands of people into action. I know you are aware of that power, it's just that I was amazed at the though of how many girls are engaging more and getting awesome opportunities because they hear that same refrain in the back of their heads.
Deserving of every opportunity in the world.
We might have lost this battle, but we're going to win this war for you, I promise.
With love and respect,