The former Democratic presidential nominee spoke at the Children's Defense Fund Gala in Washington, DC

By Oliver Gettell
Updated November 16, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In her first public appearance since conceding the election to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton urged her supporters to keep fighting for what they believe in and not lose heart.

“I know this isn’t easy,” Clinton said in an impassioned and at one point emotional speech at a Children’s Defense Fund gala Wednesday evening. “I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America was the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep. But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never ever give up.”

In her 20-minute address, which was scheduled before her campaign concluded, Clinton admitted she was “deeply disappointed” about the results of the election and said it “wasn’t the easiest” to appear in public. But after reflecting on her long career of working on behalf of children and families, she also looked to the future.

“We have work to do, and for the sake of our children and our families and our country, I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level,” Clinton said. “We need you. America needs you — your energy, your ambition, your talent. That is how we get through this.”

Watch Clinton’s remarks below.