Meaghan Kirby
November 11, 2016 10:00 am
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Tuesday night, I witnessed the most heartbreaking election of my 22 year-old life as Hillary Clinton lost her bid to become the first female President of the United States of America. This morning, I cried along with millions of women as she conceded with the grace and class we all knew she possessed. Despite this incredible pain, today I remain proud of the hours I spent on election day doing my part to get Clinton elected.

On Election Day, my sister and I volunteered in Portland, Maine. We were calling voters all over the state, encouraging them to vote and reminding them where their polling place was located. Phone banking in itself can be kind of a thankless task. You sit in a room, calling strangers with the hope that they’ll: 1. Answer the phone; 2. Not yell at you; or 3. Not hang up on you after you tell them why you’re calling. While it can be tedious, it can also be an incredible and rewarding experience.

At this particular phone bank, morale was high as we played games to entertain ourselves and ease the sting of disgruntled hang-ups, awarding points based on the reception we got. If people had already voted, we earned points. If they swore, or hung up we lost points. It was our own “road to 270.” It was inspiring to be in a room with people who gave up precious time and made a tired, election activity something that embodied our own excitement for a truly extraordinary candidate.”

We also talked to each other about our unique stories that drove us to phone bank and support our candidates. Sitting at the table next to me was a woman who graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 with Hillary Clinton. She recounted her experience of watching Hillary’s graduation speech from her seat amongst the graduates and as she spoke about her classmate, pride radiated from her.

Sitting behind me was a 13 year-old girl, who upon having the day off from school, decided that she needed to phone back. She’d been volunteering for months and spent a total of eight hours volunteering on Election Day. She expressed frustration in not being able to vote in this election or even the next presidential election, but still believed her voice mattered, because it does. The three other teens phone banking with us agreed that they wanted to do their part, despite not getting to vote.

Despite the outcome (which I am so, so disappointed about), I got to spend my Election Day doing something I felt was so important. I felt like I was contributing to the campaign in a way that made up for my lack of sizable monetary donation. As a recent college graduate, I decided that my time could be worth something, since I couldn’t donate more than a few dollars. Not only did I get to expand on my civic duty, I got to do so with the people who restored my faith in humanity as I watched the results.

I know I’m going to look back on this campaign and my support for Hillary Clinton and feel honored by having the opportunity to donate, vote, and volunteer for her campaign. I’m grateful for the people at the Portland, Maine, office who gave me something to smile about through the pain of watching the results come in against our candidate. Most of all, I’m grateful for Hillary Clinton, who genuinely gave me, and millions of other young women, the hope and opportunity to see that the glass ceiling can and someday will be shattered.

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