Hillary Clinton has laid bare her disappointment at her election defeat to Donald Trump in her first public appearance since she lost a week ago.
The Democratic candidate said she had wanted to “curl up with a good book and never leave the house again”.
But in a speech at a children’s charity she urged the audience to fight for American values and “never give up.”
Mrs Clinton won the popular vote but was beaten to the presidency in the all-important US electoral college.
“Now I will admit coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me,” she said as she was honoured by the Children’s Defense Fund.
She continued: “I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election. I am, too, more than I can ever express.
“I know this isn’t easy. I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was.
At the scene: Laura Bicker, BBC News
There was little ceremony and no sign of security for the former presidential candidate who is known simply as “Hillary” in this circle of friends.
The audience were on their feet and chanting her name as she took to the podium. When she talked about her disappointment, murmurs of agreement spread through the room in waves.
That murmur grew louder as she urged those listening not to lose heart – this was an emotional plea for action.
The event was entitled Beat the Odds, which offers hope for some of America’s most underprivileged children and celebrates their achievements.
But I spoke to one man who told me that he could offer little hope to the young African Americans he mentors in the wake of this election.
Hillary Clinton used her voice tonight to try to help change that and dissuade others from feeling despondent.
The candidate may be gone, and right now “Hillary” looks like she might run home and curl back up on the sofa, but there is still a spark left in the first woman who got this far in trying to reach the White House.
“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 concession speech after her shock defeat last week, Mrs Clinton said rival Donald Trump must be given the chance to lead.
Since then she has kept a low profile, although she was spotted while out walking.
In a phone call leaked to US media she also blamed her loss on FBI director James Comey, who announced a new inquiry into her use of a private email server in the run up to the vote.
In other developments
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned President-elect Donald Trump that he will aim to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation
- The mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC have also vowed to protect their immigrant residents
- Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe is set to become the first foreign leader to meet Donald Trump, since the election last week
- Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence have spoken to 29 world leaders since the election, according to a statement from the transition team