PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton made history Thursday night as the first woman to accept a major party’s nomination for president in the United States, a moment that thrilled Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) delegates who packed the Wells Fargo Center.
“America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger,” said Clinton before accepting the nomination. “I believe that with all my heart."
Clinton also reached out to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — among them AAPIs, who’ve criticized the Democratic nomination process and Clinton as the party’s candidate.
“Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary,” Clinton said. “You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong."
She continued, "And to all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I've heard you. Your cause is our cause.”
In an interview with NBC News, 21-year-old Steven Yeung, Virginia’s youngest delegate, called Clinton's speech "uplifting."
A college student, Yeung said he was happy to hear Clinton include millennials in her speech. “I thought that was very surprising,” he said.
Coming from a low-income family, Yeung was also pleased when Clinton talked about making college debt-free for all.
“These are all the things that resonate with me because I’m an Asian minority college student,” he said.
Ravinder Lakhian, a Sikh-American Clinton delegate from California, told NBC News he was excited to be part of history with Clinton becoming the first female nominated for president by a major party.
“And I want history to be made when she becomes president of the United States,” he said.
In keeping with the “stronger together” theme of the night, Clinton urged Americans to “join us,” regardless of political party, if they believe in values like equal pay for all, affordable health care, and expanding social security.
She also lambasted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying he’s offering only empty promises and accusing him of insulting women and people with disabilities.
“In the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn't get: that America is great — because America is good,” Clinton said.
Now that both conventions are over, Yeung, a Clinton delegate, said the Democratic nominee needs to make greater efforts to reach out to Sanders supporters before the general election in November.
“I’ve heard stories from other young Democrats, saying they’ve been verbally abused by Clinton supporters,” Yeung said.
Clinton delegates and supporters have noted that Clinton has incorporated parts of Sanders’ platform into her own campaign, particularly on issues like debt-free college and health care.
Yeung also said he believes the Democratic nominee has become more collective and cohesive as a candidate — but he added that Sanders supporters also have to give a little.
“She’s not Bernie,” he said.
Earlier this week at the DNC, Clinton campaign spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa acknowledged that they had work to do to earn the trust of younger voters who were drawn to Sanders during the primary.
"We realized after the primary that we understand Bernie Sanders did very well with the millennial voters in the primary," Hinojosa said. "We know that we have to do something different in order to get those voters."