President Joe Biden & Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in to protect & serve the United States of America this week. This poignant moment deserves celebration after four years of frustration, disappointment, & fear. Tears of relief & cheers of joy seemed to be a common sentiment across my social media channels. There will be hard work required from all of us – not just our elected officials – in the years ahead, but it did feel reassuring to not doom-scroll through official government tweets laden with misinformation or vitriol the past few days.
Although it is the middle of winter, this burst of energy feels a bit like the first warm day of spring when I snapped this photo in Washington Square Park a few years ago. Living in the neighborhood, I would pass this arch multiple times a day on the way to & from work. The top of this monument has an inscription, part of which reads, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.” In the time before us, it has never been more clear that we will need wisdom & honesty to move forward as a country.
Setting down to write this post earlier this week, I looked back at another post I shared in January about four years ago. I had attended my FIRST WOMEN’S MARCH in Washington D.C. the weekend after President Trump was sworn into office with my mom, my sister, Kerry, & my girlfriend, Steph. Even though we have come out on the other end of a brutal administration, I saw in that post glimmers of what could come with determination from our communities.
I am excited for what I believe President Biden & Vice President Harris can achieve in the years ahead. I am especially proud to have witnessed the historic achievements that our vice president has earned through her nomination as the first female, Black, & Asian American Vice President. While an inauguration is expected to be full of pomp & circumstance, small moments throughout the event resonated most with me.
The pure smile on Kamala’s face the moment she was sworn in.
The dignity of witnessing the Bush, Clinton, & Obama families sitting together in support of the new administration.
The golden sparkle of Lady Gaga’s microphone as she sang the National Anthem.
Amanda Gorman, our nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate & the youngest poet to be asked to speak at a presidential inauguration, shared these eloquent words during the ceremony from her piece, “The Hill We Climb”.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
It is not lost on me that she shared this sincere message from the same Capitol steps where just two weeks ago white supremacists committed acts of domestic terrorism. Amanda’s words struck a chord with me, as I know they have with many others. While writing this post, I thought of all the times we saw people grow, hope, & try in the last year amidst grief, pain, & exhaustion.
We saw this in the health care workers across our country who devoted themselves to their patients while also working tirelessly in parallel to ensure less folks would suffer from COVID-19 by discussing the life-saving importance of wearing a mask & registering for the vaccine.
We saw this in all those who took part in protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, calling for long over-due justice in our country given its deeply racist history.
We saw this in teachers, school nurses, & administrators who adapted their environments frequently, in order provide safe spaces for children to learn in.
We saw this in the folks who volunteered as campaign phone bankers, encouraged their loved ones to register to vote, or worked as election day poll workers while trying to balance the challenges of living, working, and/or parenting in a pandemic.
Hope is on the horizon. Yet, it only produces fruitful outcomes by those who continue to fight for equality & justice. As we forge ahead, we cannot forget what we have promised to commit ourselves to.
To continue to fight against racism.
To continue to protect our environment.
To continue to support the LGBTQ+ community.
To continue to uplift women.
Onward from here to continue growing, hoping, & trying – together.