Hillary Clinton photo

Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - I Helped Launch African Americans For Hillary Clinton. This Is My Story

November 06, 2015

I got to help make history.

When I was invited to emcee the launch of African Americans for Hillary, I was only nervous about one thing: finding the right outfit. I HAD to wear a pantsuit. What else does someone wear to meet THE pantsuit aficionado?

Unfortunately, pantsuit scouting is much harder than I thought. And if I was going to rock her look, I would have to do it perfectly. At the last minute, I abandoned my quest and settled on a dress that felt very Olivia Pope.

Arriving at Clark Atlanta, the HBCU where the event was held, felt like pulling up to a Weeknd concert. I couldn't believe the turnout—hours before the event was set to start the line was stretched a mile long! I got this feeling that I was taking part in something much bigger than the average speech.


I don't really remember what being onstage was like—it was a complete blur. But I do remember watching my community come together and stand up for Hillary. It felt powerful.

And then I got to actually meet her! It felt crazy—mostly because it didn't feel crazy at all. I thought that I would panic when I saw her, but she had this huge smile on her face, and when she hugged me I felt totally calm. I even asked her to recreate her famous "dirt off your shoulders" move—and she did!

Here she comes.. Brush your shoulders @HillaryClinton. #imwithher pic.twitter.com/KFHi4eAUWx— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) October 30, 2015

Then I went backstage to watch the rest of the introductions and hear Hillary's speech. It felt so huge to me to see Monica, a person I have admired since I was a child, stand up and say "this is our candidate, this woman is fighting us."

With @MonicaBrown listening to Hillary's Speech on issues that effect the african american community. #ImWithHer pic.twitter.com/1c9stc9pu2— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) October 30, 2015

When Hillary took the stage with Congressman John Lewis, the crowd exploded. Instantly, she began to dig deep into policy solutions, and ways the federal government can work on issues like police relations, college affordability, and job security.

When activists began chanting, she didn't try to silence them. She told them that she wants to talk about the issues they were raising. She didn't make them feel like they didn't belong. She still continued to carry on and she let them do the same. And eventually the crowd stepped in and said "we want to hear Hillary speak on these issues."

Watching her handle that moment made me feel even more sure that this is the woman we need leading our country. She showed respect to these activists that are trying to make things better for the black community in their own way. She didn't condescend to them, or shout them down, or do anything to make them feel like their voices weren't heard. She addressed their concerns, and then she continued talking about the things she had planned to talk about—the very things they were trying to bring attention to.

Recently, the debate over immigration, an issue that's very close to my heart, has been poisoned by some of the other people running. I am Haitian American. My parents and my family are immigrants from Haiti. Watching the immigrant community be torn down over these past few months has been incredibly hurtful. But Hillary has been there every step of the way, making sure that everyone in this country is shown the respect that they are owed, simply on the basis of their humanity. In person, Hillary's strength is undeniable, and while watching this speech I knew that she would stand up and fight for us on the full range of issues affecting our community, including the ones like immigration that people sometimes forget affect us too.


Participating in the launch of African Americans for Hillary felt like participating in a piece of history, and I hope I'll get the opportunity to see our future president again soon. I'm staying on the lookout for a good pantsuit, just in case.

Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - I Helped Launch African Americans For Hillary Clinton. This Is My Story Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/317082

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