Dear Mrs. Harris,
This is my daughter, Bianca. She is 12 years old. I still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. Like many other males, I’ve always wanted children, but especially a daughter, because I had often seen how much little girls adore their fathers and I honestly just wanted the same. I felt I had a lot to teach and I just wanted to do so, not only to a son, but a daughter as well.
We do have a son, Jamal, who is 15 now. I can’t even put into words how excited I was to know he was on the way. I can still remember months later, telling people, “Did I tell you my wife is pregnant?!” and them answering, with a sigh and a smile, “Yes…several times.” So this letter is in no way to slight him.
Anyway, when Bianca was born, the doctors told us that something was wrong and they did not have to convince me at all. Bianca behaved much differently than Jamal did. When Jamal was born, he was a very quiet baby. With that being the first time I had really experienced childbirth, I actually thought it was “just another myth” that babies cried as soon as they were born, because it was something I had only seen on television.
However, our daughter let me know that that was NO myth.
She had some lungs on her. Boy, she screamed. Bianca meant business on top of business. The problem with her back then was that her soft spot was larger than it was supposed to be and they had to perform surgery to close it up some, or else it would start to close up onto her brain as that grew. However, I did not know this at the time. All I knew was that something was wrong.
It was a condition called cranial synostosis.
We were moved to a different, more open area as her mother recovered, while they tried to figure out exactly what was wrong. But there I was, a father of a daughter for the first time. I had waited my entire life for this. Now here she was.
I began to internally panic. There was my little girl and she was in distress. I’m her father. I was supposed to fix it. Period. And I had no idea how to do so. At one point, I said to myself, Maybe I was wrong. I am NOT ready for this.
Just then, she grabbed my pinky, held it tightly and I mean tightly. In trying to comfort her, I attempted to pull away and she just would not let me. The smallest finger I have, yet as a grown man, I couldn’t pry it from my few-minutes-old daughter’s hand. It was as if she was trying to tell me something.
Here is what I would like to believe she was trying to tell me:
“Daddy, I need you. I am scared. I don’t know anything right now. But I know who you are. You’ve been talking to me since I was inside Mama. So I know you are here to help me. But I need you to not be scared. See, I don’t trust any of these other strange people in here. But I trust you. If you don’t want me to be scared, I won’t be scared. I’ll follow you. But I really need you to be okay. If you are scared, then I will be scared, too. If you are okay, then I will be okay. I can tell that you might think you are not ready for this, but let me tell you…you are. You’ve said that you love me so many times and I know you. You are ready. I’m going to hold onto your pinky until you believe that. I promise you, Daddy…you ARE ready. As soon as you believe that, then I will be just fine. Please believe that, Daddy.”
Now, I know. How ridiculous that I believe she was trying to tell me all that. Especially since as soon as I started to really feel it, she began to calm down.
What in the world does all this have do with you, Mrs. Harris?
The picture above was from last night. We all got to witness you become an immense part of our country’s history. We are still so proud and overjoyed. To say “Congratulations” would be an understatement.
For starters, if you are still reading, bless you. Today, Bianca is as healthy as she could ever be and as my wife and her stepmother says, my “twin.” But my purpose of writing this is to simply say one thing:
I am thanking you because you’ve given my daughter hope for a bright future and one little girls did NOT always have.
Especially little girls of color.
As you gave your absolutely fantastic speech last night, Bianca was in the shower. I had the volume turned up loudly, not focused on her hearing much from it. My wife and I were just so excited to be hearing from you after securing the vice presidency.
At one point during your speech, I thought, “I need to rewind this so Bianca can hear it when she comes out of the shower.” I recorded on my phone, but I went on and rewound on the television.
Bianca comes out of the shower with a smile on her face. I asked if she heard the speech. She said, “I heard a little bit of it.”
The smile meant everything, because I had a feeling that part of your speech meant something to her. Needless to say, I let her watch and listen again.
The first female, bi-racial woman of color as vice president in United States history. Wow.
My daughter is bi-racial also. But as you are more than well-aware of, the existence of color in Americans is not received well by certain members and groups of society.
I want to say that I admire you so much for how far you’ve made it. Even if you and Mr. Biden had not won the election, NO ONE can take this from you. EVER.
But of course, you did.
I cannot express how much I enjoyed your speech and especially, how it clearly affected Bianca. See, for me, it’s not always about how much success someone sees. It’s not about what others feel of what you’re doing or how successful they think you will be. I will always appreciate effort and that a person actually does what they set out to do. These days, it seems so few people have goals and dreams, so naturally, many like to make fun of or put down others who do this. I have aspirations to become a professional screenwriter, so I most certainly get that part of it.
But Mrs. Harris, you’ve done something no other woman has ever done before. Despite what many are willing to admit, among MANY other areas, this is NOT a place many feel a woman is supposed to ever be. As a black kid growing up in Baltimore City, I had no business even wanting to be president myself, because many believed a black man was never to see that also. However, we know how that turned out.
Again, my daughter doesn’t care about the politics and the insults. She sees you doing something and setting the tone of what women and young girls can be capable of. Many will not understand this
Of course, as her father, many would say that all inspiration, motivation and lessons should come from me. I completely understand that. But there are a number of experiences Bianca will go through that as much as I love her, I could never understand. Even though she has said that she looks up to her older brother and me as her father, there will always be something missing.
I told her yesterday that women have not always been allowed to vote. I added that women have only been able to vote for just barely over 100 years. She was shocked. She assumed all this time that it was the same for men.
So I will conclude by saying this. Even in the off-chance that you do see this, you will still never know how much you have meant to not only women and young girls out there, but those of us fathers who want the absolute best for our princesses.
See, many will retort with negativity and everything they don’t like about you. Some will either directly or indirectly express that they aren’t happy I wrote this. But those won’t be the examples I will have my daughter follow. My daughter will follow the examples of the woman, the imperfect woman, the woman with flaws, the woman who chose to take a leap no other woman ever has and despite so many telling her that she should not do so.
Women like you.
Once Bianca is older and begins to sort of separate her thinking from us as she learns what it means to be a young woman, there is one thing that will always be there, along with us as her parents. When she develops those goals and dreams, something can be said at that time that could never have been said before, and that is that a woman, Kamala Harris, was the very first Vice President of the United States.
My daughter means more to me than anything or anyone else. You truly have no idea what this means for not only me as her father, but MOST importantly, for her as a little girl growing up in a world that largely feels she is still inferior to males and that my “half” (black) being in her makes her inferior to whites. You’ve basically made it clear that that kind of thinking has got to go. And you are making sure it IS gone.
“…BUT WHILE THAT MADE ME THE FIRST WOMAN IN THIS OFFICE, I WILL NOT BE THE LAST.”
I hear you, Madame Vice President.
And my daughter does, too.