Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post-election reflection: A letter to my children.

Dear Everett and Cambria, 

I am feeling shocked and devastated this morning. Yesterday, I voted for what I hoped would be the first woman president of the United States. We thought she would win, and instead we have Donald Trump as our president-elect. 

Yesterday, as I walked to my polling place, I felt so proud and empowered to vote for a woman for president while wearing my three week old daughter. I remembered back to the summer watching the Democratic National Convention in our living room crying tears of hope as there was talk of breaking the ultimate glass ceiling with the possibility of a woman president of the United States. I rubbed my pregnant belly then, not sure whether our second baby would be a boy or a girl, and thought about how the idea of having a president other than a white male could be something that was just a normal part of my kids' childhood, unlike mine. Once that baby was born and we found out it was a girl, it became even more important to me to vote for Hillary, a strong woman who had devoted her life to public service and the advancement of women and children, especially when the alternative was a man who belittled women and others through his speech and actions.

A vote for Hillary for me was a vote for myself, for all the times in my life when I felt less than for being a woman. It was a vote for my children, in hope that they could live in a world where becoming president was a dream that all people could work hard to attain, regardless of gender or skin color. It was a vote on behalf of those in the LGBTQ community, immigrants, refugees, and people of color, that we may live in a society that does not dehumanize. It was a vote on behalf of social justice and values that are near to my heart. 

Hillary Clinton lost the election, and it hit me hard. I sobbed through her concession speech, but I will continue to live into the reasons that I voted for her. In her speech, she said, "Let's do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear." We will commit to this in our household. Your dad and I have both sought careers that focus on building relationships and education. As my career has evolved, I have made an effort to focus on social justice topics with the hope that my students will learn about real world issues and grow in knowledge and compassion. I commit to teaching you this way as well. We will deeply love each of you in our home, and I will do what I can to foster in you a love for others outside of our home as well. We will talk about important issues around our dinner table and do what we can to make a difference. We will devote time and money to doing our part to make the world a better place for ALL. I feel the need to write this down as a promise to you in response to the results of this election. In the midst of this overwhelming sense of sadness I feel, I am digging deep to find some hope. 

Another one of my favorite quotes from Clinton's concession speech was this: "And to all of 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." It is hard for me to believe this on a day where so many in our country voted for Donald Trump, but deep in my heart, I do believe this is true. Cambria, as a girl who has your whole life ahead of you, may you believe this with all of your being, and may you feel empowered not in spite of, but because you are a girl. Everett, may you never feel threatened by the success of women around you, and may you live your life in a way that values the empowerment of ALL, including yourself.

I don't know what the next four years will hold, but I commit to doing my part as your mother, to make sure you are loved, empowered, and aware as your lives unfold.


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