When I walked into the Javits Center on Tuesday night, wearing a white dress to symbolize my solidarity with suffragists and Hillary Clinton, I was on cloud nine. Along with tens of thousands of other guests, I was certain she would win the presidency. Two hours later, the mood darkened. People began hugging and even crying; many headed for the exits to process the shocking turn of events in the comfort of their own homes.
The days following Clinton’s presidential loss have not been easy. I’ve grappled with my own anger, disappointment, fear, and sadness as I have simultaneously struggled to explain this election outcome to my children. But how does one explain to their child that the unfathomable has happened?
A man who stands against everything that I stand for as a parent has been elected president.
The night of the election, my girls in college texted me: “Mom, what is happening?” and, “Mom, what will happen to us?” They’re scared — for what this election outcome means for women, for people of color, for Americans who aren’t Christian, not to mention social issues like the environment, health care, and our nation’s gun laws.
Thankfully, that daughter is studying to become an activist — just like her mom. Because she realized after living in Indiana that the only way to move forward is to fight for what’s right, and that when we lose, we must get louder.
As the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an army of volunteers in every state fighting for gun safety, I am committed to doubling down on fighting the gun lobby's radical, dystopian vision for our country. Given that the National Rifle Association was the largest outside donor to Donald Trump, our movement will need to become stronger than ever to hold the line in Congress and statehouses.
My child who is most terrified is my teenage daughter. She came out her sophomore year of high school when we lived in Indiana — a state run by then-Governor Mike Pence.
Women have always been on the front lines of activism in America, and we must stay there until everyone in this country is free from fear. The women who fought for the right to vote were harassed, attacked, imprisoned, and even force-fed when they went on a hunger strike, but they stood firm.
Suffragists lost a lot of battles along the way. It took them decades to win the vote, but they never gave up. Giving up is a luxury that too many in America don't have.
As I mourn Hillary's loss, I will also continue to remind my daughters that they are loved, that there is hope, to have joy and to serve. And I will not grow weary — I’ll continue to serve my nation with an army of moms, fighting for the safety of our children and families, and never stopping until we’ve made an America we’re proud to hand over to our children.