For many girls and young women across America and beyond, there was a hope this week that they would see history made with the first woman elected president of the United States. Now, for some, there are tears and disappointment — but a desire, too, to reach out.
"To all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams," Democrat Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech after Republican Donald Trump was declared the president-elect.
This week, a number of girls have pulled out their pencils and keyboards to write notes and blog posts — not just to Clinton but also to Trump, whose sometimes harsh remarks about women throughout the campaign did not go unnoticed. Below are letters that were sent to The Associated Press following an online request for notes to either candidate; others were found through internet searches. The AP obtained permission from parents and the young authors to share these words, along with drawings and photographs.
Here are some excerpts, first from letters to Clinton and the rest addressed to Trump.
Grace Songer, 13, Cold Spring, Kentucky:
"Dear Secretary Clinton . Thank you for allowing me to say I remember when, for the first time, a woman was nominated as a major party candidate for president. . Thank you for planting seeds in a garden that will flourish from this day on, maintained by all of the independent women in our country and the world. One day our time will come, and I hope you look back on this and feel happy that you started, not a revolution, but a revelation, that we will carry on centuries after 2016."
Kaia James, 10, Orlando, Florida:
"I won't let this election bring me down. ... So please, don't worry — I will finish what you started.
"There are so many girls like me ready to speak out and fight. You have fought for us and now it is our turn to fight for you.
"It's not over yet. We're only getting started."
Jules Spector, 16, New York City:
"We all woke up this morning with the sun — or the clouds, if you were on the East Coast — and the Earth was still turning on its axis. Thus, I have the opportunity to say that the revolution starts today. ... Thank you, Hillary, for uniting so many women and men across the country. Thank you for inspiring me to become a leader."
Amaya Johnson, 12, Lansing, Michigan:
"You inspired me to look past the sexism in this world and stand tall and proud as a female who is equal. ... While we might not have won, remember to keep your chin up."
Hannah Alper, 13, Toronto, Canada:
"I watched (Secretary Clinton) make her concession speech. It was hard to watch and it was clear that it was hard for her to make. But there she was — strong, inspiring and full of poise — just as she had been throughout the campaign. ... Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I'm With Her."
Kayla Blas, age 16, Pendleton, New York:
"President Elect Trump, Congratulations . I truly believe you are the right person for the job!
"Today Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot, you are against gay rights, you're a racist, you don't believe in a woman's right to choose and you're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else. Well, I'm a young Republican and I do not exactly share those qualities. ...
"As a high school junior and a student council member for the past three years, I am excited about your presidency. My father is a retired City of Buffalo Firefighter and my mother is a small business owner in healthcare. I have seen the struggles they've had to overcome with the poor state of our economy, and with your election I look with excitement towards the future. I feel the tides now are turning and JFK's famous quote 'What can you do for your country' is hopefully going to be echoed in households. I feel you will put people back to work and that is always a good thing. ...
"I feel that your victory will return our country back to the basic principles it was founded on which is all men and women are created free and equal and possess the same inherent, natural rights. We will once again become a land of opportunity. Your acceptance speech the other night was the start of the unity we need. I am feeling positive with your leadership. America will soon be viewed by other countries again as 'Supreme.'"
Juna Skrami, 21, Loyola University student, Chicago:
"Dear Mr. Trump, You have instilled a fear in me that you will never be able to understand. I am an immigrant and I am a woman — two of the many groups of people you have attacked and degraded. ... Chicago fell silent the . morning (after the election). . The city seemed to be in mourning. It is still gloomy and there is still a lot of fear within most of us, but I have hope. I have hope that we can all come together in this time of need. I have hope that we can be joined by our similarities, and that we can look past our differences. And lastly, I even have hope for you. I hope that you can begin to see the pain and the fear that you are responsible for, and I hope you can grow from it. You have four years. Please fix what you started."
Sakeena Ahmed, 9, Oak Brook, Illinois:
"Dear Mr. Donald Trump, Hi!! I am a 4th grade Muslim girl. ... You said you want to make America great again. Can you show me?! Don't we all have the same plan? We all just want to live in peace and not war! ... You are saying we are mean and cruel, but we are not! We are nice and giving! You are saying we are terrorists. We definitely don't do anything that you say. ... My only wish for you (is) to be good. And I hope this letter does make you good."
Sophie Hoerst, 7, Mount Holly, North Carolina:
"Please don't build a wall separating Mexico and America. Please be the most kind person you can be. ... Please be a good president and make the choices you think are best for all Americans."