A 12-year-old Lansing girl who pinned her hopes on Hillary Clinton becoming the nation’s first female president dealt with her deep disappointment by writing a letter to the Democrat who very nearly shattered one of America’s last great glass ceilings.
Her dad said Amaya Johnson’s letter reflects the frustration of little girls all over the country but more so the pride they felt in watching the first woman run for president as a candidate for one of the nation's major political parties.
“I think it’s very poignant for a kid that age,” Jerred Johnson said today. “And she did it of her own free will, which is amazing to me. I think it captures a lot of feelings of little girls her age.”
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Amaya’s letter doesn’t dwell on Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump, who won handily in the Electoral College but was bested by Clinton in the popular vote. Instead, Amaya wrote about the inspiration Clinton provided to women and girls nationwide.
“I would like to say that I loved everything about your campain (sic) and how you made me feel proud to be a girl,” Amaya wrote. “You inspired me to look past the sexism in this world and stand tall and proud as a female who is equal. My dad and mom do support you, but I support you because your (sic) a beautiful, successful, caring and extremely inspiring person who has what it takes to lead this country.”
Amaya’s letter concludes by urging Clinton to “keep your chin up because me and many other girls in this country believe in you.”
Jerred Johnson said his daughter would be mailing the letter today now that she’s had time to come to terms with Clinton’s loss.
Her family is a political one: two of her grandparents work for the Democratic Party in Lansing, and Amaya has made sure to be involved, Jerred Johnson said. For one, she attended a big protest against Michigan’s right-to-work law at the state capitol in 2013, and she has a picture of herself with former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, when he visited the state in 2004 as a vice presidential candidate.
Amaya, whose dad said she’s independent and strong-willed, followed the presidential campaign closely. She went with her mom, Jessica Schultz, to the voting booth Tuesday and also has spoken at length her stepmom, Valerie Johnson, about Clinton and politics in general.
“Against my better judgement, I let her hear some of what President-elect Trump had to say, so she definitely formed her opinion of him,” Johnson said. “From the letter, you can tell she said he was sexist, which from a 12-year-old is shocking.”
Equally shocking to Amaya were the election results, said her father, who served as a specialist in the Army in Iraq in 2004-05 and now works in marketing and recruiting for the Army National Guard in Lansing.
“She fully expected to wake up and have a President Clinton, and when she woke up, it was devastating for her,” her dad says. “She had a horrible day. She didn’t want to go to school. And she didn’t understand because of the things Trump has said.”
Jerred Johnson said the letter helped helped her cope, and she’s been heartened by supportive comments from hundreds of people who read the letter after he posted it on Facebook. He said a woman who owns a custom dress shop in Georgia offered to create a dress just for her.
Amaya wasn’t immediately available for comment today because, of course, she was in class. Her father says she’s a straight-A student at Hayes Middle School in Grand Ledge.
Might she someday get into politics or run for office herself? Her dad said she recently toured the offices of a member of the state House of Representatives and thought it was pretty awesome, so someday she just might follow in Clinton's footsteps.
(2016 © Detroit Free Press)