you didn't let us down, you lifted us up

Beka McKay   —  

Dear Hillary,

I’ve never really followed politics before this election season. It wasn’t an option to study at my school and whenever I saw it on TV I struggled to relate myself to what I was seeing. It seemed like an exclusive boys' club where I couldn’t really see myself represented in anyone in that arena, but your campaign changed all that and I’m eternally grateful. Your message and the history you made inspired me so much, and while I was utterly heartbroken by the election results on that horrible November night, I will never forget listening to the words of your concession speech and watching your incredible strength and grace as you, the most qualified candidate ever to run, conceded to the most under-qualified, under-prepared bully who stood for everything I feared and opposed so strongly.

But I’m more determined than ever to help carry forward the torch in your honour and fight for what’s right. You inspired me to go to the Women’s March, the first time I had ever attended any kind of public demonstration, and to stand up for what I believe in without fear, and to get up every single day and keep on going even when it feels hopeless and I feel like giving up, because I know you wouldn’t give up.

I remember reading a passage you wrote in "Hard Choices" that after you conceded the 2008 primaries, you felt as though you had let down all of the women and girls who had invested their dreams in you and your campaign. I can only imagine how you must have felt this time around, but I want you to know that you didn’t let us down; you lifted us up. Your campaign inspired and lifted me and so many millions of others and helped us believe that our voices do matter, that I really can do anything I put my mind to and that I don’t have to rule myself out of pursuing something I want to achieve before I’ve even tried it just because of who I am. Because, like you said, “When there are no ceilings the sky’s the limit." And I know that when that highest, hardest glass ceiling does finally shatter, every tiny fragment that falls down with it will be thanks to you and every single all important crack you made in it.

So thank you so much, Hillary. Thank you for inspiring me to keep on fighting and make my voice heard, for helping me believe that I can make a difference and change things and follow my dreams. Thank you for your life’s work that tirelessly paved the way for me and my generation and the generations that will come after. Thank you for changing the world and thank you for changing me. And when one day I hopefully have children of my own, I will make sure I tell them your story and teach them the words that touched my life so importantly: “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.”

Thank you for lifting us up, Hillary.

Beka McKay