An Open Letter to Alice Paul

Dear Alice Paul,

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher assigned us the first essay I ever had to write. The only requirement was that it had to be about someone in history that we admired, and after a few days of searching, I chose to write about you. From a young age, I have always been fascinated by women who fought for their right to vote. You were such a key player in that achievement, and I remember being awestruck by all the things you did to make it happen. 

Now, I am 17 years old. It has been seven years since I wrote my essay, but every now and then I think back to the research and I can't help but wonder what you would be thinking right now. You once, very wisely, said that you "never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me, there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality." You were right, there is nothing complicated about equality. Women have been able to vote in America for a little over 96 years now, and women have served in politics as mayors, governors, congresswomen, and on the senate as well. 

But there was more to be done. 

On July 26th, 2016, 95 years,  eleven months, and four days after women received the right to vote, Hillary Clinton was nominated by the Democratic National Convention to be President of the United States of America. I am sorry that you never lived to see that day, but I am so thankful because all the work that you put in made it possible. Without you, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and countless others, Hillary Clinton would never have been able to run, let alone been nominated. Actually, she never would have been able to even vote. 

On November 08th, 2016, Hillary Clinton lost the election to the Republican nominee. I won't say his name, and I won't say what he stands for, because he doesn't deserve it. Instead, I'm going to focus on what is positive. 

Hillary Clinton got far; women got far. And even going beyond that: good people got far. No matter who won the election, the goodness that lies in America will not go away. Women proved throughout this election that we can do whatever men can do, and that will not go away. There will be people who will continue to be good; people who continue to fight for what they believe is right. I promise to be one of those people. I promise to be one of those women. In 2020, I will be able to use my right to vote that you gave me, and I promise to use it. 

I will keep searching, fighting, and serving for good. Thank you for all that you did- we never would have gotten this far without you. 

~ Claira Eastwood