Jennifer Palmieri encourages young girls to speak up in latest book

Posted on Apr 16 2018 - 4:59am by Abby Perez

Former White House Director of Communications and Director of Communications for the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign Jennifer Palmieri will discuss her book “Dear Madam President” at 5 p.m. Monday night at Off Square Books along with Rick Outzen, author of “City of Grudges.”

Square Books general manager Lyn Roberts said Palmieri, a Mississippi native,  was scheduled to go to Square Books first. However, when Roberts learned that Palmieri was a friend of Outzen, she added him to tonight’s event, as well.

“We kind of thought ‘the more, the merrier’ would make it even better,” Roberts said.

Roberts said she feels the title of Palmieri’s book says it all.  

“I think that it is meant to be an inspiring and a very positive book about the future,” Roberts said. “A book to encourage, particularly, young women to kind of step up.”

Palmieri’s book is an open letter to women who run the world, the first woman president and women everywhere. Having worked with President Obama, President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, she has a unique perspective and knows what obstacles women still face today.

“I worked in national politics for two decades and learned some lessons that I thought are useful for women,” Palmieri said.  

There were two moments in particular that inspired Palmieri to write this book. The first was two days after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in November 2016. Dozens of elementary students had scrawled hopeful messages in chalk on the sidewalk outside the campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, and many stood outside, carrying signs and cheering.

“It was so surprising. We had just lost and we were pretty devastated, and these kids, their reaction and their parent’s reaction was to come and try to inspire us,” Palmieri said.

The second moment came after Palmieri found inspiration attending the inauguration in D.C. and later watching the Women’s March in New Orleans.

“I didn’t attend the march,” Palmieri said. “I wanted to just sort of see how America was going to react. I was amazed to see that millions of people turned out.”  

This empowering book took 2 1/2 months to write. While Palmieri was working on her book, her editor told her to dig deep by writing what’s most personal and most raw without holding back, and she feels that’s exactly what she did.

“If you dig deep enough, you’re going to find a way to describe the experience so other people can relate to it,” Palmieri said. “It was a very intense experience, but I really enjoyed it.”

When young girls, especially young girls of color, are reading “Dear Madam President,” Palmieri said she wants them to know their voices matter and that they should speak up because everyone needs to hear their perspectives.