The news media is filled with quotes from Hillary Clinton discussing why she lost the election. Democrats are telling me they wish she would stop.
She talked about it again this week when she was the key speaker at a fundraising event for the Elijah Cummings Youth Program.
What is most remarkable is that Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., personally interviews every applicant for the innovative program. That is amazing for any sitting member of Congress. At last week’s event, the room was packed with donors, and recipients of his youth program were also in attendance. The congressman could not attend as he was in recovery from heart surgery. He was able to listen to the program and also was able to address the attendees (ECYP.ORG).
The focus of the program is leadership, especially for the youth of Baltimore. The high-school students who attend are called fellows. They say they have a three-step leadership approach. The program consists of “leadership enhancement workshops,” which are held both after school and during the summer. The workshops help to teach management skills, global awareness and social and political activism skills.
One aspect of the program that’s unique is that its first-year students spend one month in Israel, where they are paired with other teenagers, some of whom have African ancestry. Many people are unaware that there are black Jews, but there have been airlifts out of Ethiopia, and there are indeed black Jews. Another part of the program involves community service, which includes students speaking in their home communities and talking about how important diversity can be. They also mentor middle-school students.
The program is very successful, with a high-school graduation rate of 100 percent. That is unheard of. It shows that – with proper education and opportunity – students do not drop out. Hillary Clinton addressed the group, not as a failed presidential candidate, but as someone who believes in the program. She began her remarks by saying that this is what the world should be doing, and this is the time for steady and determined leadership. Hillary Clinton talked about how important it is to learn about the experiences of others and put yourself in other people’s shoes. She also discussed how citizenship and leadership are more important now than ever.
Clinton tipped her hat to the founder of the program, Elijah Cummings, and noted how his heart and spirit set him apart. He is certainly known for that in his home state of Maryland. Even though he was not at the event named for the program he began, his spirit was definitely there.
It is so amazing that many of the people in the program were the first ones in their families to obtain a passport. The ability to see the world is very new to them. Unlike children from rich families, these high-school students may be the very first to visit, yet alone live, even for a month, in a foreign county. Hillary Clinton talked about her first trip to the Holy Land and how she was able to make friends. She then quoted a recent graduate of the Elijah Cummings program as saying, “The sun was warm, and the people were warmer.”
Hillary Clinton did not mention Donald Trump in her speech. However, she did make a reference to him by saying that the program built leaders “by building bridges and not walls.” She did talk about the rise of anti-Semitism in the world and how this program is able to put people together from diverse backgrounds. She concluded her speech by saying, “This is the kind of commitment that represents America at its best.”
Not only is the Elijah Cummings program a great example of what should be taking place all over America to help high-school students get a better understanding of the world, but this was the Hillary Clinton who voters wanted her to be. They wanted a Hillary Clinton who would be a bridge and find new ways for people, especially young people, to connect. They want the Elijah Cummings of the world to develop these programs, and they want the Hillary Clintons to talk about solutions – not the past.
Clinton, without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, also said now is not the time to lash out, incite fear or use terror for political gain.
Media wishing to interview Ellen Ratner, please contact [email protected].