My friend Agnes died five years ago on Friday. I really wish she had been aroundon Thursday.
On Thursday night, Hillary Clintonaccepted the Democratic nomination for president at the convention in Philadelphia, becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party in our country’s history.
We’ve known this was going to happen for over a month now, but it still feels like a surprise to me. Having spent my whole life without this ever being a reality, it’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening.
I think I kept expecting some manto jump up and say just kidding! We can’t let a woman do this! Honestly, up until she finished the speech, I wasstill expecting that to happen.
My mother has been telling me since I was born that I can be whatever I set my mind to — actually, it was one of the first things she said to me after Clinton was officially nominated on Tuesday night.
Anyways here’s my mother to say goodnight pic.twitter.com/034qpMLxXm
— Alexandra Svokos (@asvokos) July 27, 2016
But it’s hard to picture that without seeing someone who looks like me breaking the glass ceiling first. It’s one thing to tell yourself that a woman can be president. It’s quite another toknow that it’s possible, to see it as your reality.
A position that has been denied to women for the nearly 300-year history of this country is officially closerthan ever before. Lessthan a hundred years ago, women weren’t even allowed to vote, and now here we are with Clinton.
My friend Agnes was born to immigrant parents 10years after women got the right to vote. Her family was far fromrich.
She got a chemistry degree and never learned how to type because she didn’t want to get caught in a secretary position. She rose as high as she could at a company until the son of her male boss told her that was it; as a woman, they would not promote her any higher.
Agnes and her husband pooled their savings and started her own generic drug company, which grew into a fortune. She pushed for generic drug legislation in politics, making cheap drugs more available.
She gave back tremendously and, above all, she raised women up.
She raised me up, pushing me even at a young age to reach higher than Ithoughtwas possible.
She pushes me still. It’s her spirit that motivates me to work hard and aspire high and, above all, raise women up. I miss her tremendously.
Agnes was friends with the Clintons. She actually trolled a bunch of drug industry executives once by giving them signed copies of Hillary’s book after they got mad about her healthcare initiative.
I can’t imagine the soar of pride Agnes would feel tonight, having lived through so many men telling her what was impossible for women
— Alexandra Svokos (@asvokos) July 28, 2016
Agnes and her husband supported Barack Obama in 2008.
They fell in love marching for Civil Rights (and feminism), so it was important for them to help nominate the first black president. I’m so happy they got to see America reach that achievement.
But Agnes isn’t here now to see this. She spent 81 years on this planet breaking down barriers for herself and for other women. I really wish she could have seen this barrier come down.
We knew that tonight was coming. We expected one day to see a woman reach this point. But we have that expectation because of these incredible women, like Agnes, who came before us and fought so hard to make dreams reality.
Tonight, for me, isn’t about Hillary Clinton. It’s about those women. Their bravery, their intelligence, their perseverance, their fight for themselves and for us.
We have inherited an incredible, groundbreaking era.
We owe that to those women who came before us. We owe it to them to keep pushing, keep striving and keep progressing. And, above all, to raise each otherup.