A younger girl turns to her friend. “Oh, my God. … Do you?”
“A former secretary of state,” the Democratic congresswoman from California continues.
“Hillary?” another guest excitedly whispers, eyes widening.
Then Matsui hits the nail on the head: The next speaker was the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major party.
A woman screeches, “Hillary!!” and starts fist-pumping. Phones immediately fly up in the air, ready to document the surprise guest’s appearance on social media.
The woman of the hour emerges from behind a velvet curtain in rock-star fashion, waving to a sea of cheering fans who are adamantly professing their love for her. Clinton, dressed in white to represent the women’s suffrage movement like the crowd gathered before her, shares stories of the influential women from the past, artifacts from whom adorn the exhibit’s walls.
“The struggle in some ways continues,” Clinton says. “But it’s absolutely wonderful to stop and celebrate what this exhibit represents, and the decades and decades it took to grant women the right to vote.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom Clinton referred to as “one of the best leaders that our country has produced,” takes the stage after.
“When women succeed, American succeeds,” Pelosi says as women cheer while holding signs that read, “Standing together, no going back.”
Despite the feeling of exuberance and grit in the air, the event is still more cocktail party than political rally. The guests may be ready to join an insurrection at any moment, but they’re going to sip champagne and nosh on canapés while they do it.