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Is Hillary Clinton The Champion ‘Everyday Americans’ Are Looking For?

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By Anisha Padma:

On Sunday April 12, Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) made an announcement that she was running for President of the United States. The video announcing her candidacy, features a diverse array of what Clinton deems to be everyday Americans, ranging from an elderly white woman tending to her garden, a single mother and her daughter moving to a new school district, two Latin American brothers opening a new business, an interracial couple finishing home renovations, and a gay couple preparing for a wedding. All of these individuals are represented as entering a new chapter in their lives, something that Hillary Rodham Clinton hopes to achieve as well, with her mission to win the highest office in the land.
hillary clinton
With my interest piqued, I glanced curiously through her campaign website, noting various elements which are clear appeals for votes within distinct demographics.

For example, on the front page of the website, there is an “en español” option. Clinton is clearly trying to appeal to Latin American voters, who typically lean towards Democrats. However, they may not be so quick to vote Clinton into office unless she offers viable solutions regarding immigration reform in the United States. This is not to say that the most pressing issue facing the Latin American communities in the United States is immigration reform, but it will influence how she will fare within this voting bloc.

A decade ago, on the John Gambino Radio Show, she denounced the employment of illegal immigrants, but on Tuesday, May 5th, sang a different tune. She spoke at a high school with a majority of Latin American population in Las Vegas and said, “Hard-working immigrants who contribute to the economy and to their communities should not be thrown away,” according to Anne Gearan of the Washington Post. Has Clinton really come full circle, or is this simply another political stance that is convenient for her presidential run?

In the section titled “Hillary’s Story” on her website, we get a brief glimpse of the narrative that she wants her voters to know. It highlights her father’s military service, her family’s humble origins, the intersection of her faith and social justice, her efficiency as First Lady and Senator, her humility to tackle the role of Secretary of State, and finally her new role and honour as a grandmother. This biography attempts to attract voters ranging from those with military backgrounds, to those who participate in social activist work.

But unfortunately, after reading this, it is very hard to get a sense of what Clinton really is willing to advocate for.
If we look to her donor base, we see that it is comprised of very wealthy entities such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. If these institutions are funding her, how willing is Hillary really to battle income inequality?

On April 15, there was a massive rally called “Fight for 15” across the nation which called to raise the minimum wage to $15. Although there were several prominent Democrat politicians such as Elizabeth Warren who vocalized support for it explicitly, Clinton simply posted a cryptic tweet in with some haphazard support of the necessity of living wages. Another Democratic contender for 2016, Bernie Sanders, released a statement that said, “I want to applaud the workers who are organizing today in the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour”.

If HRC wants low-wage labourers to vote in her favour, then she needs to be more vocal of efforts such as Fight for 15. Journalist, Doug Henwood, thinks we shouldn’t hold our breath. He says, “She would pretend to listen; she’s great at these listening tours…I don’t expect that she’d be all that receptive.

And so, with Hillary Rodham Clinton dominating the sphere of influence for Presidential hopefuls, it is very unclear what kind of policies will exist as a result of her leadership. Though she is a fresh face and breaks the legacy of men holding control of the White House, the election of Clinton may not lead to any groundbreaking social change. She still receives money from large, wealthy donors. She has been complicit in gearing the Democratic party towards a neoliberal agenda. She changes her stances on very important issues which does not give us relief on where her true intentions lie. Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders will need to run a brilliant Public Relations campaign in order to muster half of the support that Clinton has rounded up. There simply is no other Democratic candidate with the level of name recognition as Clinton.

Clinton states her impetus for running is, “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion.” But can Clinton really be the champion of the low-wage earning laborer with equal gusto as the tech millionaire in the Silicon Valley? Does she believe that she truly represents the diverse United States, or for that matter, do we?

You must be to comment.
  1. B

    2 million of Hillary Clinton’s Twitter fans are fake – GOOGLE IT. She has no integrity. She even bought thousands of Facebook fans.

    And the ONLY reason why she should win is because of her gender. She can’t even run her house, and here she is, all set to run a country. LOL!

  2. Batman

    Hillary Clinton has not accomplished anything in the past, does not have any skills, and is a terrible role model. She is in it just for the money.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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