A “Stronger Together” rally was held for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ’69 at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 on the lawn of Alumnae Hall facing the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center. A few hundred people were in attendance. The rally, an official Hillary Clinton campaign event, was co-sponsored by the Wellesley College Democrats and Wellesley Students for Hillary. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, headlined the event. It was the first Hillary Clinton rally to be held on campus since the campaign started.
Both Wellesley College Democrats and Wellesley Students for Hillary were approached by the campaign about the possibility of a rally. Emily Moss ’19 and Ellie Dougherty ’18, co-presidents of Wellesley Students for Hillary, stated that they coordinated the rally through “[collaboration] with the campaign, the Massachusetts team and also headquarters to bring her [Chelsea Clinton] to campus.”
Laurel Kinman ’18 and Ivana Castro ’18, co-presidents of Wellesley College Democrats, worked to bring the rally together, noting that, “Wellesley College Democrats helped [Wellesley Students for Hillary] by supplying volunteers and by making forty homemade signs for the event.”
Besides Clinton, the speakers at the event were Michelle Wu, the President of Boston’s City Council; Jennifer Migliore ’14, a candidate for State Representative; Riann Tang ’19, Organizing Director for Wellesley Students for Hillary and US Democratic congressman for the fourth district of Massachusetts, Joseph Kennedy III.
As speakers took the stage, they stood under a large bright blue banner that read “I Will Vote,” and the banner certainly represented a theme prevalent throughout each speaker’s oration.
Wu spoke about the importance of having young women, especially young women of color, serving in public office. At the age of 31, she is not only the Boston City Council president, but also its youngest member and first Asian American woman.
Migliore echoed Wu’s sentiments by highlighting the importance of getting millennial candidates elected. She called on Wellesley students to work for candidates beyond simply voting for them, stating that she knocked on about 10,000 doors to win her Democratic primary. Tang continued this theme by stressing the importance of registering to vote and the importance of volunteering for political campaigns.
Congressman Joseph Kennedy III took the stage to introduce Chelsea. Similar to the other speakers, he spoke of times in his life when he realized that public service was important, citing his time in the Peace Corps after college as an example. He began speaking of Chelsea by recalling their time at college at Stanford University together, and their mutual friend Jason Collins, who was the first NBA player to come out as gay. He praised Chelsea’s support of Collins and her caring manner, calling her “one of the most down to earth people in politics.”
Clinton proceeded to take the stage to address her largest rally ever. She spoke of her mother’s love for Wellesley, stating that it was where her mother began to “find her voice” and realize that she wanted to dedicate herself to public service. She recalled the happiness her mother found attending Wellesley, and all of the memories she shared with her.
Clinton then shifted to talking about the fear that was abounding in the election, citing the “almost normalization of hate speech . . . the misogyny, the racism, the homophobia, the Islamophobia, the jingoism, the rhetoric against Americans with disabilities, the rhetoric against our veterans, the demeaning of a Gold-Star family” that has occurred in the last year, hint- ing that it is due to Donald Trump’s campaign and his use of strong rhetoric against these groups. Clinton then discussed other parts of her mother’s platform such as immigration re- form, mental health and health care. She turned away from conventional rally procedures by encouraging attendees to share stories and ask questions that she promised to share with her mother.
Clinton was many attendees’ favorite speaker. Monica Groth ’20 stated that Chelsea was “the one we were all waiting for. I thought she was extremely personable and relatable and very intelligent.”
Kelsey Moran ’17 agreed, stating that she “appreciated that she [Chelsea Clinton] took a lot of questions from the audience. I thought she created a good community dialogue.”
Kinman and Castro were excited to welcome Clinton to campus “in her own right due to her own accomplishments and demonstrated leadership.”
Overall, Groth felt that the rally was “a lot tamer” than she expected, in light of the inflammatory election and the lack of protesters at the event.
Moran believes that the rally was successful because “it had a community feel, it felt more personable” than other rallies. Castro and Kinman asserted that they “were particularly excited to see Michelle Wu and Jen Migliore … Chelsea Clinton’s own speech was insightful and meaningful and was well received by the audience.”
Dougherty spoke of the larger importance of the rally, stating that it was “the pinnacle of all of our efforts over the past year and a half and a special moment for our organization … celebrating that this is Hillary’s alma matter and having her daughter come kind of in recognition of that.”