WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton made her first post-election public appearance Wednesday night to call on her supporters to get engaged with politics on every level for the sake of the nation’s children.


The former first lady, former senator, former secretary of state and and now former Democratic presidential nominee appeared at the Children’s Defense Fund’s 2016 Beat the Odds Celebration in the nation’s capital, an event planned prior to Election Day, and spoke about the reason she says she first entered public service: America’s children.


“I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was,” Clinton said. “But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it.”


“It’s up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer,” she said.


Clinton has stayed out of the spotlight since her loss to President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 8.


“There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do was just curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again,” she said.


But as she urged her supporters to work toward a country that is “hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted,” Clinton’s remarks referenced the schools around the country that have seen racist incidents occur over the last week.

“No child should be afraid to go to school because they’re Latino or African American or Muslim or because they have a disability,” Clinton said. “We should protect our children and help them love themselves and love others.”


The Children’s Defense Fund event is an annual ceremony honoring the recipients of the organization’s $10,000 Beat the Odds scholarships for college education. This year’s celebration, held at the Newseum, also paid tribute to Clinton, who first joined the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1970s and served on the organization’s board through 1991.


“I just love the staying power, the persistence of commitment that she has reflected for children and families … all of her adult life,” said Mariam Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and a longtime friend and mentor of Clinton.


Clinton campaigned in part on her lifelong commitment to children and families. Aside from working for the Children’s Defense Fund — a nonprofit organization that advocates for children’s rights and general welfare — she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, consulted for the Carnegie Council on Children and took on children’s rights cases while in law school at Yale University.


Clinton noted that her campaign created the first broad consensus for child care and paid leave and encouraged her supporters to fight for those issues at all levels of government.


“She is the people’s president,” Edelman said, referencing Clinton’s life of service and her popular-vote victory.


Clinton’s popular-vote margin over Trump has surpassed 1 million votes and continues to grow, though Trump won the election with more than 270 electoral college votes.

Published in conjunction with USA Today Logo