It Can (Finally) Happen Here

At Women’s Voices for Change, we don’t engage in partisan politics. But for women across the political spectrum, Hillary Clinton’s achievement in becoming the first woman to be the presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party is a truly historic moment. —Ed.


UntitledI was born a girl in the middle of the 20th century, the younger half of a duo—the other half being my twin sister Florence, the one person I have known my entire life; she was ten minutes ahead of me entering into this crazy, complicated, often transcendent world. From an early age, I never wanted to be told what toys I could or should not play with; I craved the freedom to experiment with building objects, figuring out how a shoebox could become a movie projector as I slid cut-up reels of drawings through its jaggedly sliced-open slot, and at the same time indulging in the crinoline fantasies that come with dressing up cutout paper dolls. Outside the apartment, I wanted to race and beat the fastest runners down the city blocks—my heart pounding with a gang of kids, all maneuvering their way to the front of the pack, scraped knees and bruised arms and legs an accepted consequence of the adventure. I also loved to punch the ubiquitous small, pink Spalding hi-bounce ball as far as I could and dart around the bases, nervously looking over my shoulder for oncoming cars driving on the black, tar-paved street corners that functioned as New York City’s sandlot fields.

 Untitled 2American girls Grace (left) and Florence Graupe, circa 1950. Their horizons have suddenly—exultingly—expanded.

Such is the innocence of youth: taking for granted that I would be able to participate in any street game on any city block or schoolyard that excited me; never questioning my place in the social pyramid—UNTIL others did that for me. I distinctly remember feeling envy mixed with frustration and fierce anger when I realized that boys had advantages available to them in the universe outside of 875 W. 180th Street, Apartment 1B, that were not accessible to me. The child I once was pulled the covers over her head so no one could sense her vulnerability and sobbed soundlessly, vowing to never become anyone else’s “muse,” preferring to strut along this road-trip called life psychically alone, armed with an aching determination to follow the surge of curiosity flowing through her arteries.

For all of the above reasons; given the trajectory of my life and so many other women’s lives; and mindful of the opportunities that tantalized, seduced, and then were denied us, I celebrate this historic moment—the nomination of a woman that I respect to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. The fact that this is now possible in the U.S.A. is immeasurably significant. Had this happened when I was growing up, my struggle for the right to be “me” might have been less wrenching. Congratulations, Hillary Rodham Clinton!


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  • Grace Graupe Pillard June 20, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Thanks so much Liz.

  • liz desantid June 19, 2016 at 8:58 pm


  • Grace Graupe-Pillard June 16, 2016 at 8:33 am

    R. Hurewitz- wonderful words for students! And wonderful words for me! Thank you.

  • R Hurewitz June 16, 2016 at 7:52 am

    These statements were posted in my elementary art classroom for 39
    years. Teaching life through art was a central objective of mine. Now part of your classroom, I feel privileged to be mentored by and share ideas with a woman who has lived by and is sharing these values of individuality and creativity,as they apply to our social,political and ethical world today.

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard June 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Thank you Jeanettr, Barbara, Suzan, Phyllis and Rosemary – you all expressed my sentiments very eloquently.

  • Rosemary Pappa June 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Bravo Grace!
    I share your sentiments, and admire how eloquently you express yourself!
    As an elementary school teacher for thirty years I saw how the men rose to prominent positions even though there were women who were better qualified. Men teachers also had more privileges and were favored by the male administration.

    There has never been anyone as well qualified to be president. I’m grateful that this is happening now and I will work for her election.

  • Phyllis Rosser June 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Wonderful, Grace. We need to be celebrating this moment more than we are. Seems like we’ve been worn out by the long primary year leading up to this but it is truly one of the great historic moments of our lives.

  • Suzan Globus June 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    You have conveyed your emotions regarding this significant moment in history with richly evocative images in words.

  • Barbara Reid June 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Grace, I love how you capture what I also felt growing up in that time. I too celebrate this moment in history.

  • Jeanettr June 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    What a wonderful article. Because of the republican parties circus it’s unfortunate that more people are not focused on the fact we are voting for the first women president

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard June 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I agree Linda and thank you for your comment.

  • Linda Rosen June 12, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Wonderful article.Hopefully women will embrace this monumentous achievement. I know I will.