Hillary Clinton understands different times require different solutions. She has lived her life by a set of principles and convictions formed as a young woman who learned from her mother when life presents you with challenges you must work hard to overcome them to thrive. The convictions and principles she learned at an early age have guided her since she burst on the national scene with a speech at her Wellesley graduation. Hillary is a passionate fighter for children, civil rights, women's rights, education, national healthcare, advancing science, and so many other issues allowing people to live safer, better, happier and more productive lives.
She is a brilliant woman who understands nothing in the world remains the same; new scientific discoveries requiring new ways of thinking are made every day; countries change and leaders depart and new ones emerge; and forces of nature change, demanding we adjust how we look at the world. As a leader who wants to continue to fight for her convictions and make headway in that fight, Hillary sees the world as it is today and doesn't stay tied to how it was yesterday.
Recently some people have been vicious in their criticism of Hillary questioning not necessarily her positions on income inequality, restructuring our judicial system; racism and how it stops people from moving ahead; climate change, human rights and a host of other issues on which she is outlining specific policy initiatives; but rather question her honesty and commitment when speaking out on these issues.
Those of us who are activists and came of age around the same time as Hillary were surprised by the attacks. Since the early 1960s we have been involved in the civil rights movement; marched to end the Viet Nam war getting teargassed in DC; and stood up and fought for women's rights and LGBT rights. My own path led from teaching school in Harlem to working for one of the most progressive people to ever serve in United States Congress, Bella S. Abzug (D-NY). Today we fight to combat climate change and work to secure a path to citizenship for the eleven million immigrants here who want nothing more than a better life for themselves and their children. The surprise at the vicious attacks on Hillary is because she is the only candidate running for President who has been a leader in nearly all these areas. Others may speak out, and may have worked hard on them, but not in a leadership role.
Following my mother's footsteps I became an activist hearing the name Hillary Rodham Clinton first from her. Then heard it over and over again related to her work with the Children's Defense Fund and when she was named head of the Legal Services Corporation. We heard about Hillary when the National Law Journal twice listed her as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America and when as First Lady of Arkansas she led a task force reforming Arkansas's education system. There was worldwide acclaim for her historic speech on women's rights to the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing. Hillary as an activist First Lady of the United States spoke out for children and families and was recognized for her major role in advocating for a number of major pieces of legislation including the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. Then as Secretary of State in 2011 Hillary Clinton's Human Rights Day speech was a historic moment for the LGBT rights movement.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, whether you agree with all she has accomplished or not, has made a difference. The Gallup poll shows Hillary has been most admired woman in the world 19 times. Forbes magazine ranked her as one of most powerful people in the world nine times and she has been named eight times to Time magazine's most influential 100 people on the planet. Those fighting for human rights, equal education opportunities for all, universal healthcare, children and families, and a better safer world are not surprised by this.
Hillary continues to fight for the principles of fairness and decency she grew up with. She understands progress is usually not made in giant leaps but rather incrementally. She has pledged as President she will get up every morning and work hard, as she always has, to move our nation and everyone in it forward. She will use the brilliant mind god graced her with to make progress on the convictions and principles her mother instilled in her. Her campaign is about asking each of us to join her in making this a better world for ourselves and future generations.