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Onomarie Uriri: For Hillary Clinton & For Girls Who Dare to Be Different

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 06: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO's Convention on April 6, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Democratic Primary is scheduled for April 26, 2016. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

“Why can’t you be more agreeable?”
“Less dramatic?”
“More patient?”
“You know, you’d go so much further if you weren’t so opinionated!”
“A woman doesn’t act like that; who will marry you?”
“Why are you so ambitious?”

And so on and so forth.
If any of those words have ever been said to you… even in jest, welcome. You are in the right company.
I can’t remember when I first heard or saw Hillary Clinton. It might have been in 1995 during her famous “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” speech in Beijing, or it most likely would have been during the whole Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinksy debacle in 1998. Even then, as a fourteen year-old, Hillary’s true essence didn’t really connect with me, I just remembered her as the unusual American woman who forgave her straying husband after a highly publicised encounter.

10 years later, she would pop up again on my radar in 2008, when she was up against Barack Obama for President of The United States. Prior to that, I hadn’t followed her work as Senator, or any of the bills she’d agitated for, or even her personal life. I was 24 years old at this time, and only becoming aware of myself as a woman; so again, I didn’t really pay her attention. I liked Barack Obama; he was black, half African, talked a good game, and was so damn fine – so of course, I supported him. In fact, I was a little miffed at the extent to which Hillary gave him a tough time.

“I mean, does she think this Presidency belongs to the Clintons? I thought.

I didn’t know anything about politics, policy, or diplomacy, and I honestly didn’t care. I was so glad when Barack Obama was sworn in as President in 2009. I remember watching it on television, and crying big, hiccupy tears. Call me emotional, but I honestly never believed that a black man would become President. Ever. In the same year, Barack would announce Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, I thought: “probably politics,” and then moved on.
Sometime in 2012, I walked into Laterna Ventures looking for a book about women in the work place, and one of the attendants told me to go to the second floor. “There are some interesting ones there.” So I go in, look around, but nothing is really jumping out at me, and then I spot Hillary Clinton’s ‘Living History.’

“Ah! See this woman o! She might have useful things to say” I think to myself, and go ahead and buy the book. I’m 28 years old now, and have had my fair share of trying to find my place in the world. I buy the book, but don’t read it till about 5 months later. And when I do, I don’t stop. I can’t. The more I read the book, the more I feel like this woman right here is a kindred spirit. She talks about her life growing up, attending Wellesley College, being politically aware, dating Bill Clinton, and eventually marrying him (after he asked three times!). The book is a treasure trove of information. In a chapter, she talks about the rage and hurt she felt when Bill finally fessed up to his indiscretion with Monica Lewinksy. I remember thinking: “wow, I know how that feels.” She talked about her decision to forgive and move forward, and how that wasn’t an easy choice, but one she felt convicted to do.

There’s a particular chapter where she talks about being stuck in traffic somewhere in Washington, on her way to the Capitol Hill for an event. She gets so frustrated sitting in traffic, that she leaps out of the car… without shoes, breaking protocol, and making the Secret Service run after her in horror. This particular scene makes me chortle and laugh loudly because I recognize myself in this impulsive, protocol-breaker, impatient woman. Hillary Clinton makes me comfortable to be me. I recognize someone who didn’t care too much about public opinion, because she was so busy getting shit done. I recognize a woman who was (and still is) an incredible advocate for children and women’s rights, someone who worked passionately and determinedly for things she believed in. And I looked at her and I saw hope for myself. From that moment on, I became unrepentantly #TeamHillary.

Last month, I began reading her second memoir “Hard Choices,” and I became even more convinced that she was the best qualified candidate to become POTUS. No one in recent times, has her range of experience in statesmanship, diplomacy, politics and policy. But beyond that, Hillary shows us all, what is possible. You see, if you’ve ever been called “too much” or even, “not enough,” then you have more in common with Hillary Clinton than you can ever imagine. If you’ve been criticized for being too different, too dramatic, not friendly enough, too loud, too ambitious, too stubborn, then HRC is your patron saint.

Hillary Clinton’s journey to becoming the 45th President of the United States was dogged with so much scrutiny and nastiness. Her hair, her laugh, her health, her marriage, her child, her home, her work, her career, everything was picked apart – but still she kept moving forward, showing the strength of her ideas and power. If that isn’t leadership, that sort of dogged, focused, strategic, resilient vision, then I don’t know what is.

But best of all, she’s shown all those who’ve ever been labelled “contrary” or “different” that there is indeed hope to become something phenomenal. Congratulations Hillary, you absolutely deserve this position, I hope the years are a bit kind and fulfilling. From one different girl to the other, “thank you for all that you are. You absolutely totally rock!”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Francesca is the Head of Communications for West Africa at Uber.A Public Relations and Communications expert with 11+ years’ experience spanning corporate relations, corporate reputation management, event architecture, media management and content development, Francesca has worked on a broad range of projects and accounts, providing strategic communication and media engagement strategy for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, social impact organizations, and start-ups.She is also the Founder of Leading Ladies Africa; a women empowerment non-profit that celebrates the lives of African women, and promotes leadership, diversity and gender inclusion.Follow her @zanyfran on Twitter and InstagramRunning in Heels is a (safe) place where we can have honest, heartfelt, “no-frills” conversations about being career women (and men) in the workplace.

31 Comments

  1. LemmeRant

    November 8, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    That’s how they’ll be giving you advice that will better your life but you will not listen, you will be busy forming Hilary Clinton.

    “Why can’t you be more agreeable?” “Less dramatic?” “More patient?” “You know, you’d go so much further if you weren’t so opinionated!” “A woman doesn’t act like that;

    Who told you that’s bad advice? So its now a bad thing to be patient.
    Now who told you Hillary Clinton is dramatic or impatient or what makes you think she acts anyhow she wants.
    If anything the qualities you’ve listed there bodes well with Trump than Clinton. Trump is the impulsive one, trump is the dramatic one. He’s the one that likes to act however he likes.

    Michelle Obama, Oprah, Hilary. These are reserved people. They are not stubborn and impulsive. If i go by what you’ve written here, I’d say you’re more like Trump than Hilary. Now whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a story for another day.

    • Teju TJ

      November 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Are you normal? Is there something wrong with your head? There is a difference between being impatient/cry baby and assertive. The people you mentioned – Michelle, Obama and Oprah are assertive women who broke the status quo after people constantly told them their dreams were too big because they were women and black women at that. Michelle clearly stated very recently that when she was applying to Princeton she was told that she was aiming too high and should apply to schools with less requirements but she did not listen. She went ahead and continued her life and did what she wanted to do because their barriers did not define her. If she was not stubborn and have listened to those people like you, she likely would have given up before Princeton even started. You would not know what this is except you understand what it means to grow up on the south side of Chicago. I went to high school on the south side, 69th street and only 6% of my graduating class went to College. Of the 6% who went to college, only 80% graduated. People throw parties for their wards who graduate high school because that is the biggest achievement. Many people were the first in their generation to graduate High School. This is 2008 ooo. Now imagine someone from that school wanting to go to an Ivy League school like Princeton. Of course, everyone will say you are in over your head. You have to be stubborn and assertive to block all of that and push through.

      So shut up. As women, there are people constantly telling you to stop this or stop that. Don’t buy this car because it would intimidate men, don’t buy a house because it would intimidate men. Please don’t listen to those people. Set goals for yourself and strive to accomplish them. If someone will be intimidated by your assertiveness, they don’t deserve you.

    • LemmeRant

      November 8, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      You see this is my problem with you BN women. You start your argument with insults (as if that’s supposed to give you an edge) then you go on to write the history of Michelle Obama. When you will not read to understand, Instead you’ll be reading to argue back.

      My comment was based on the remarks she made. Hilary Clinton is patient o. She’s agreeable. Because you’re assertive doesn’t mean you cannot be agreeable and she’s obviously not dramatic.
      My point is simple really (if you’d take time to read them and not be jumping) Those qualities she listed there sound more like the qualities of a Mr. Trump than a Clinton. Now if you believe that Trump is patient and Hilary is not, Trump is not dramatic but Hilary is. Trump is more agreeable than Hilary, feel free to make your point cause that’s what my comment is about.

      Whenever you people see a successful woman, you must try by all means to paint her with your feminist ideals. Whether or not she’s truly like that doesn’t matter. So far she’s successful she must share the same values as you. (All those stubborn head values)

      PS: It is possible to be patient and successful, to be “not so opinionated” and successful to be less dramatic and successful, You don’t have to box her up in the same character set as yourself just because she’s successful. Just saying.

    • madman

      November 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      You speak well. you speak well.

    • Teju TJ

      November 8, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      The thing is, I don’t even identify as a feminist. I identify with common sense. However, Hillary has stated everywhere to everyone that she is a feminist. She has proved that she will not agree to what she considers bullshit whatever that is. My point being, have you been following American politics at all? How she described Hillary is how the blogs described her. Do you know that she was even asked to stop moving her hands during speeches because it rubbed the audience the wrong way? Do you know that all the republicans tag as a dramatic, too know woman? Yes so we all know that is Mr Trump, but that is how the republicans choose to define Hillary among other things. You cannot be not opinionated and be in Politics or be successful. I know I am not voting for Hillary because she is not opinionated. In fact, I want to know what those opinions are so I can put my money where I believe in. This is the problem, stating that people are too opinionated. Most they agree with everything? Should people not have their own opinions? Is this not common sense that people with sense in their head will be able to use it?

      Now, back to Michelle Obama matter, I didn’t give you her history o. I just told you that she got to where she is by standing firm, asserting her views and being damn opinionated . Please go and watch her presidential interviews from 2007 to date. Thankfully, these are woman who encourage women to live their dreams and not stifle their growth unlike our Ebonyi state legislative.

  2. 'Diddie

    November 8, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for the writeup… You made sense. I hope to get Hillary’s book to read
    I am a woman’s woman anyway anytime

  3. bruno

    November 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I don’t see hillary Clinton as a strong woman at all. he husband cheated on her with several women as and humiliated her publicly. monica is one of many affairs bill had. why didn’t she walk away? a strong woman will forgive her husband for cheating once, twice, three times but a strong woman will not stand by a man who constantly cheats and cheats on her with different women and humiliates her publicly. a strong woman will walk away.

    this woman’s ambition is greed. assuming she divorced bill and went back to bearing her maiden name will she be running for office today? The answer is no. its a political marriage. without her husband hillary Clinton is nothing. she never worked for anything, everything this woman has was given to her.

    u forgot to write about all her failed policies as senator or her zero achievements as Secretary a state. or her war hungry behaviour. or her poor handling of important information or her pay for play practices.

    • Didi

      November 8, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Damn…food for thought though. Are ALL ambitious women necessarily good role models for girls?

    • madman

      November 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      I AGREE. THERE IS NOTHING STRONG OR INSPIRING ABOUT HILARY CLINTON. HER HUSBAND CHEATED AND SHE CHOOSE TO STAY. I DON’T FIND THAT INSPIRING AT ALL.

    • Teju TJ

      November 8, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      The key is she chose to stay. She made the decision. She did not stay or leave because she was expected to. She decided after weighing her options I presume and viewing the impact of both options. Shouldn’t she live her life based on her own standards rather than expectations from all parties?

    • Toke

      November 8, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Excuse me, did u say there’s nothing strong or inspiring about her? Anyway u named urself madman

    • ATL's finest

      November 9, 2016 at 3:09 am

      She decided to stay doesn’t make her stupid. She’s smart & that doesn’t mean she’s didn’t deal with him inwardly. ( I believe so). But look at the bigger picture today because she knows this DAY will come when she will need the support of the same husband’s tail coat she’s bn riding on for three decades. She isn’t the first after all, the former Governor of NY or NJ I can’t recall declared been gay publicly after 3 yrs of marriage with kids & Yes, while resigning his wife stood by him with smile on her face. She only broke her silence to Oprah after 3yrs of going thru that mess before they went their way.

    • nene

      November 8, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      gbam. hilary clinton is not inspiring in any way.

    • Alicia

      November 8, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      …..Not inspiring, (GEJ) not inspiring, that was how we ended up with Buhari. Now you people are putting mouth in America. You people should kontinu…

    • Abena

      November 8, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Hmm, so she’s not strong because she decided to forgive and stay married to her partner of several years? I think that is a myopic way of defining a strong woman.

      By that flawed logic I would guess the many African women who forgave their husbands, some of whose backs we now stand are also weak women?

    • Weezy

      November 8, 2016 at 10:38 pm

      bruno, you normally have interesting and useful points to make. But on this issue you have been dead wrong and uninformed. I’ll explain

      You said: “I don’t see hillary Clinton as a strong woman at all. he husband cheated on her with several women as and humiliated her publicly. monica is one of many affairs bill had. why didn’t she walk away? a strong woman will forgive her husband for cheating once, twice, three times but a strong woman will not stand by a man who constantly cheats and cheats on her with different women and humiliates her publicly. a strong woman will walk away.”

      On this I agree (and many people do) that she could have left. However, you have no idea what is going on in that marriage. maybe they have an open relationship. maybe Hilary weighed the pros and cons and determined that what she got from bill was worth staying. Btw, after the lewinsky scandal, Bill has not done anything to humiliate her. There has been no sexting, no secret mistresses, no Twitter stalking (see Anthony Weiner). Since the impeachment and the scandal, Bill has publicly at least been a plus for Hillary. I think it tells you something that he changed. Regardless, being strong at work (governing) is not the same thing as being strong at home (in a relationship). What does her marriage have to do with her governing?

      “this woman’s ambition is greed.”
      Was Obama greedy and ambitious for wanting to be president after barely finishing one term in the senate in Chicago? Was George W Bush greedy for wanting to be president like his daddy? Let’s not talk about Donald Trump who refuses to pay taxes and is constantly touting his businesses while running for office. Explain to me bruno what is so remarkable and greedy about Hillary compared to anyone who has recently run for office. I put it to you that you are holding her to a different standard than other candidates because she is a woman.

      ” assuming she divorced bill and went back to bearing her maiden name will she be running for office today? The answer is no. its a political marriage. ”
      First, some researchers have shown that it is remarkably difficult for a woman to win a democratic presidential election unless she is either a figurehead (such as the UK system where people are voting for the party not so much vetting the candidate) or she is famous in some way. So I don’t blame Hillary for being married and making use of that. Whether it is a political marriage or not has no bearing on whether she is the best candidate to be president. This isn’t American Idol. Its a damn job.

      “without her husband hillary Clinton is nothing. she never worked for anything, everything this woman has was given to her.”
      Now this is the part where you are being really ignorant. Before she met Bill Clinton, Hillary attended a top liberal arts college Wellesley where she was a leader in political organizing, After MLK was killed, Hillary organized a strike to increase enrollment of black students at the college, and got both students and faculty to join in. Have you ever organized a strike bruno? Hillary was nominated by her peers to be the first student commencement speaker in the college’s history. Do you know who gives commencement addresses? Presidents, First ladies, Steve Jobs. Hillary Clinton at 22 years old. All this while people like you and me were just studying or partying. And I’m not even talking about Yale law, or changing child welfare policy in the US or being the first high-profile American to say that women’s rights are human rights, or being a successful two term senator of the state of NY – Newyorkers don’t suffer fools. So don’t give me that sh*t about her never worked for anything in her life.

      “u forgot to write about all her failed policies as senator or her zero achievements as Secretary a state. or her war hungry behaviour. or her poor handling of important information or her pay for play practices.”

      So she’s made some mistakes. But if she was such a failure as a senator, why was she re-elected? Zero achievements as secretary of state is really sad coming from you, seeing as Hillary Clinton was the first Secretary of State in American history to advocate for LGBT rights. A lot of people don’t know this – Bernie Sanders supporters certainly didn’t, hence their confusion when the Human Rights Campaign (the strongest gay rights organization in the U.S.) endorsed her early in the primaries. Under Hillary Clinton, the state department and US foreign embassies began to really advocate for both LGBT and women’s rights. They hired a lot of gay people and developed relationships with local activists in African countries especially. She pivoted U.S. foreign policy towards a more human rights approach than what was under Bush. She elevated women’s rights as a core part of development practice. That woman was damn good at human rights. She may have made mistakes on Benghazi, but I do not agree she was culpable and certainly do not hold her responsible for Libya and Syria (how is a US official supposed to control the Middle east).

      One thing this election has shown is that misinformation and distortions spread faster than the truth. I hope you will take the time to truly vet the information you choose to focus on.

    • tunmi

      November 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      ?????????? call it research, call it receipts. This is how you defend!!!!

    • bruno

      November 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      “Hillary Clinton was the
      first Secretary of State in American history
      to advocate for LGBT rights”

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA. u are misinformed.6 or 7 years ago hillary Clinton said it plain and simple, marriage is between a man and a woman. go to YouTube and watch the video. she is supporting gay rights now cause she wants the gay vote.cause it is no more career suicide to support gays as a politician.back in those days it was career suicide as a politician to show support for lgbt rights. but u should trust gay people they dont forget. The video is on youtube.

      her husband is the reason most black men are in prison. she called black men super predators. go to youtube and watch.

      u don’t know anything about hillary Clinton I swear. she changes her mouth at any given turn.very two faced.

      obama made her secretary of state as a consolation prize. she wasn’t qualified for that post. 4 americans died because of her.

      this woman cheated bernie sanders to win the democratic ticket. there is plain evidence that showed it.

      she collected debate questions from a cnn employee before the debate.debate fraud.

      hillary Clinton supporters love running from the truth. this woman is a fraud. a corrupt dangerous woman. she claims to support womens rights and lgbt rights but she collects money from countries that kill gays and oppress women.

      the media is so bloody bias. they attack trump 24 hours but they never attack hillary. assuming it was trump that took debate questions before the debate wouldn’t that be a trending news for days.

      what of her emails scandal. deleting 33000 emails. using a software called bleach bit to bleach her sever or using a hammer to smash blackberry phones. if this doesn’t scare u I wonder what will.

      many of u watch cnn (clinton news network) too much that’s why u are blinded by lies.

    • vikky

      November 9, 2016 at 3:26 am

      Thank you so much for this real research to back up your point for that idiot who knows nothing. He should keep being in stupidity kingdom where he belongs.. In addition to your point, Hillary Clinton was a forefront agitator for helping those affected by the september11 terrorist attack. Go and ask the people who lost their family in NY, and they will tell your how hands on she was when she was a NY senator.

    • Ebere

      November 9, 2016 at 12:07 am

      A STRONG WOMAN is a woman with a “CHOICE”.
      A choice to forgive a cheating husband/boyfriend or walk away from it.
      A choice to have an abortion after being raped/rejected or to keep it.
      A choice to break barriers in the society or be a kitchen stool.
      A woman has a “CHOICE” just like every human being does. If you have a child that steals or a family member that is a prostitute, does that person seize to be your child or your family member?NO!!. So if she choose to stay with her husband (and maybe contact a disease), It’s totally her business and her “CHOICE”.

    • "changing moniker"

      November 9, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      you can be divorced and still use your husband’s last name, so our argument is flawed.

    • "changing moniker"

      November 9, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      **your argument..
      @bruno

  4. Dee

    November 8, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Lovely piece. Thanks for sharing.

  5. molarah

    November 8, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I remember also being swayed to being #TeamObama (lol…I kid, what African wasn’t on team Obama?) by reading his memoir “The Audacity of Hope” 8 years ago. Reading your post now, and it seems it’s a popular Democrat candidate game play. Scam things. Political seasons are for raising hopes high to the sky, and crashing them down at the speed of light once the desired electoral victory has been achieved..

    God help America.

    • Mia

      November 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      LOL, it’s not a Democratic Party thing or a US thing, it’s a politics (politricks) thing. Happens everywhere in the world.

  6. Frank

    November 8, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    It’s not about being a woman. But why would I support a lying very very corrupt, 2 faced, irresponsible, thieving, crooked old hag like Hilary. Any woman but Hilary. America was decieved by electing Obama and they are about to repeat the same mistake. Any woman bu Hilary. Make America Great Again.

    • madman

      November 8, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      HILARY IS A RACIST AND A SCAM.

    • vikky

      November 9, 2016 at 3:42 am

      I hope you are not Nigerian. When he starts to deporting y’all back home, you will know what the MAGA means. Some of y’all supporting this douche are the ones taking advantage of the democratic welfare system, misusing them for your own selfish interest. He also has a pending sexual assault case pending against him when he gets in, with his hidden tax returns we haven’t seen. We shall see!

  7. vikky

    November 9, 2016 at 3:31 am

    @Bruno, why don’t you post the link of the you tube video. Don’t just say anything when you can’t have a proof to back it up.

  8. Ennycoolwater.

    November 9, 2016 at 6:07 am

    @ Bruno. Your ignorance deserves a round of applause. Whatever the outcome of the election, Hillary Clinton has and would have done more in her lifetime than you,’ll do even if you live your life twice. Will keep you in my prayers.

  9. Tosin

    November 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

    @Enny wrote what I wanted to: Trump if given a chance will prove to the doubters why he is a mere piece of shit. Hillary is a winner and a role-model for people to be badass and awesome. And girls, boys, chics, dudes, niggas, bitches, queens, or kings, deserve to feel great and confident about themselves. All God’s children should be badass. And if somebody comes to you with stupid why-don’t-you advice just go ahead and be the royal that you are and leave them to remain stoopid.

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