"It may be hard to see tonight, but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now." Those powerful words were some of the first spoken when Hillary Clinton emerged on stage Tuesday night to declare that she has made history as the first woman to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. The former secretary of state, U.S. senator, first lady, and lawyer shattered that ceiling on Monday, when the Associated Press and other outlets reported that she had secured enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in July. That outcome appeared to become all the more certain on Tuesday, when results in New Jersey and other states holding the final contests of the primary season delivered more pledged delegates. If nominated, she will be the first woman to win the presidential nod from a major political party in the United States. But in addressing a buoyant crowd gathered at a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Tuesday night, the woman who just eight years ago found herself telling supporters that she had fallen short of being able to "shatter that highest and hardest glass ceiling" in a speech conceding that race to Barack Obama, took time to turn the focus to all those who came before her in the fight for women's rights. “Tonight is not about one person — it belongs to generations," Clinton said. "Women and men who sacrificed and made this moment possible." The momentous nature of the night wasn't lost on supporters who filed into the Navy Yard. "It's historic," Kryssa Bowman, a 27-year-old New Yorker, told Refinery29. "I think that it's amazing, and she's kind of taught us that we can do anything."
Clinton's campaign also highlighted the 68-year-old's trailblazing career on Twitter and in a video that played for supporters before she took the stage. "If America is going to lead, we need to learn from the women of the world who have blazed new paths," Clinton says in the video's opening line. The video emphasizes that she's fighting for "people who need a voice" in America and exhorts women to "keep making history." "Because I'm here, that has an impact on people like me who will come after me," Clinton's voice-over notes.
That sentiment rang true for Aidyn Urena, a human-resources professional who volunteers for Clinton's campaign. "She stands for everything we’ve been fighting for for years," Urena told Refinery29. "To me, she’s the epitome of feminism, of a woman who has worked hard her whole life, and now she's gotten up here. Now we’re going to support her." Clinton, who has already turned her attention from the prolonged primary contest against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to the general election fight to defeat presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, called for a united Democratic front. She praised Sanders for running an "extraordinary campaign" that "excited millions of voters, especially young people." "Let there be no mistake, Sen. Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that he had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America." She added: "Now I know it never feels good to put your cause into a heart or a candidate you believe in and to come up short — I know that feeling well." Clinton also took several swipes at Trump on Tuesday, calling him "temperamentally unfit" to serve in the White House and blasting him on his statements about immigration and about a U.S. judge whom he said was unfit to preside because of his Mexican heritage. The Democratic nominee will officially be selected by delegates at the party's convention in Philadelphia this July. Sanders has pledged to continue to fight to win the nomination by courting superdelegates who are not bound to cast their votes based on primary results. "We will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get," Sanders said late Tuesday. Still, for Clinton, the message of the night was about continuing to fight for the future. "There are still ceilings to break – for women and men, for all of us. But don't let anyone tell you that great things can't happen in America," she said. "Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win. Our history has moved in that direction — slowly at times, but unmistakably — thanks to generations of Americans who refused to give up or back down." And she called on all those watching to follow in that path. "Now you are writing a new chapter of that story," she told the crowd. "This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings — no limits — on any of us. And this is our moment to come together."