September 15, 2016 by David Dehlendorf
Wouldn’t it be a better world if we all also practiced the courage of our convictions.
Why I Quit My Job to Volunteer for Hillary
By Julie Zebrak, Medium, September 13, 2016
On June 17, 2016, after almost 19 years in the federal government, I quit my job to stay home with my two teenage daughters and to volunteer for Hillary.
My daughters only know me as a working mom. My husband and I have raised them with the privilege and detriment of having a mom who is more dedicated to public service than to cooking. In fact, my mentor and colleague, the late and magnificent David Margolis, did not believe me in June when I told him I planned to stop working and stay home. For 30 minutes he just shook his head, “There is no way you are not working. I don’t even see you as a mom.” He knew, however, that when you work for the federal government, you are restricted by the Hatch Act from engaging in certain political activities.
For this election, I didn’t want to be restricted. I wanted to have my voice heard. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where none of the moms I knew worked, save for one who was a teacher. Literally none, except for one. For me, as I got through college and law school, the working moms I watched and learned from were Hillary Clinton and Claire Huxtable from “The Cosby Show.” Hillary had worked as a lawyer at the Children’s Defense Fund where she worked alongside others to advocate for the rights of children. As a law student in D.C., I applied — albeit unsuccessfully — to work there, myself.
Hillary Clinton, throughout her life, has used her own position to advocate on behalf of children who do not have a voice themselves to vote or to impact the policies that affect them. Through her work at the Children’s Defense Fund, she helped build the case for the passage of the law that ensures all children with disabilities have access to school. As a young lawyer working for the Children’s Defense Fund, Hillary went to South Carolina to work to stop the incarceration of teenagers in adult prisons, and she investigated school segregation in Alabama at so-called “private academies.” As first lady of Arkansas, she introduced the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program, which helps parents teach their children at home before they begin kindergarten. As First Lady, she worked across the aisle to bring health insurance to 8 million children. She also worked to raise awareness and funding for autism. As a U.S. senator, she called for a national initiative to help establish high-quality pre-K programs, including providing pre-K at no cost to children from low-income homes and homes with limited English speaking. As First Lady and as a Senator, she worked to promote common sense gun control. The list goes on and on, and you can read more at http://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues.
To me, this election is not just about electing the first woman to be President. (That is huge and I REALLY want that selfishly for our daughters.)
It is about having THIS woman make it to the White House.
I urge men and women alike to see this election as more than just “not electing Trump,” and more than electing the first female President. Electing Hillary means that we are giving credence to our daughters, our nieces, our mothers and grandmothers who are still alive, our future granddaughters. But it also means that we can help all the moms, grandmas, daughters and nieces who are not as fortunate as ours are: the single moms, the moms who work two shifts, the ones who struggle to keep themselves and their children healthy. We are electing someone who will make the rights of all women and children a priority. Fundamentally, that is where my trust with Hillary lies.
Even though I never made it to the Children’s Defense Fund, as an adult, I now can use my voice for children. The week before my mentor David Margolis passed away, I emailed him to tell him he was right about me and that he knew me all too well: I don’t know how to not work. I told him that on my first day out of the federal government, and free from the Hatch Act, I started Moms4HRC, a volunteer grass-roots group to elect Hillary.
Through Moms4HRC, along with other moms, I am using my voice to help engage moms and grandmas for this election, and to help promote pro-Hillary content to arm all of us with Hillary’s prior work and future plans to benefit children and women. In November, we moms have an extraordinary opportunity to elect someone who will do everything she can to help women and children, particularly those less fortunate than us. I urge you to use your voice with me to spread the word to other moms about Hillary’s lifelong commitment to helping children. I’m With Her.