LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hillary Clinton spoke at a leadership summit geared toward young women Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The LA Promise Fund Girls Build Leadership Summit drew thousands middle and high school students from across Los Angeles County.
The event encourages young women to engage with the issues they care about and to prepare for leadership roles.
Clinton kicked off her speech by recounting a time when she was just 14 years old and got to shake Martin Luther King Jr.'s hand.
"I really do believe that girls and women are the future, but we have to believe it about ourselves," Clinton said.
Clinton told the crowd of girls that she attended public schools and called her education "critical" to everything she has done.
Clinton encouraged the girls to seek community and to follow their dreams despite hardships.
She told the story of her own mother, who was sent to Los Angeles unsupervised with her 5-year-old sister when she was just 8 years old to live with grandparents in Alhambra. After facing a rough time in her new home, Clinton's mother became a housekeeper at the young age of 14.
"What my mother taught me is that everybody gets knocked down. What matters is if you get back up and keep going," Clinton said.
Clinton went on to address her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. She said it was difficult to accept a loss to someone who she did not think would be a good president.
"It's hard being the only woman in the room," Clinton said, recalling her time in the Senate. Clinton said it is time that girls realize that they are enough.
"I hope that every remaining barrier, every legal or attitudinal barrier, that still exists that tells a young girl you can't do that because you're a girl or makes that girl think that, we tear down once and for all," Clinton said.
To learn more about the summit, visit http://www.lapromisefund.org/girls-build.