I have always been incredibly patriotic–one of my favorite songs in elementary school was Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American.” When I saw the song performed live earlier this year at Washington and Lee’s Mock Convention, I was overcome by emotion. My belief in democracy was further fueled by high school American history and government classes, D.C. government camp sponsored by the Colonial Dames, and volunteering on political campaigns. It is love of country that also inspired me to devote this summer to working at The Bus Project, a nonprofit that promotes civic engagement and youth empowerment.
4 years ago, I went to D.C. for President Obama’s second inauguration. A group of us walked through the city in the bone-chilling cold–my feet went numb but the excitement was electric. Busloads of Americans traveled across the country and descended upon the Mall to witness history being made. As I waved an American flag and soaked in the moment, I understood that Obama’s presidency was bigger than just him–it was bigger than any of us.
Tonight, I was able to watch another historical moment–the first time a woman is the nominee of a major political party. The moment is made even sweeter by the fact that I have long dreamt of the day that Hillary Clinton is my president. I first read Living History in middle school and have since followed her career. Her devotion to public service is second to none–I am inspired by her intelligence, problem-solving skills, and courage to fight for what is right.
As a woman of color, my country has not always supported me–or even considered me a citizen. Watching Iron Jawed Angels in the 7th grade made me acutely aware of the sacrifices made so that I could have my voice heard. But tonight, I am so proud of how far we’ve come. It has taken 240 years since nationhood for the final glass ceiling to shatter–I will never forget this moment.