Readers write to Kamala Harris ahead of the inauguration

As Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris delivered a victory speech the day election outcomes have been declared, Trisha Santanam reveled in one thing she had by no means seen earlier than: “someone like me, up on that stage.”

Santanam, a 16-year-old of South Indian descent, lastly felt that her household’s tradition was represented at one of the highest ranges of American politics. And now that Harris was there, Santanam wished her to pay attention — not simply to her, however to her whole technology.

“We care so much about this country,” she stated. “And each decision that politicians make or the House or the Senate make will directly affect us.”

The Washington Post just lately asked readers to write letters to Harris and President-elect Joe Biden ahead of the inauguration. Hundreds of readers wrote in. They requested Harris to unify the nation, implored her to defend the rights of marginalized teams and reminded her that Americans are hurting in some ways.

A retired woman in Tennessee steered that the future vice chairman begin her tenure with a listening tour to ask individuals what they want. A highschool scholar in California suggested Harris to have interaction with younger individuals on social media. A man whose household is made of “two dads and a beloved pup” requested her to uphold the proper to same-sex marriage.

Many of the letter writers expressed a standard theme: They enter 2021 fatigued by their struggles and nervous about the future, however buoyed by hope.

A click on is all it takes to share what one thinks. Yet the extra we click on, the much less we’re seen. My technology is utilizing each platform we are able to discover to voice our opinions. So pay attention.

Implement complete gun management to defend us from faculty shootings. Fight for laws that may decrease our contribution to local weather change. Get covid-19 beneath management in order that it’s protected for us to study in individual once more. Recognize the integrity of the information and of the scholar journalists, corresponding to myself, who’re attempting to inform the public and our friends. Promote racial fairness and provides each scholar a good likelihood to go to school. Fund psychological well being remedy and make it extra accessible.

You signify the good that this nation can do via arduous work. Now it’s time to work for progress and for our future. Don’t depart Gen Z behind.

— Delilah Brumer, 16, Encino, Calif.

“You bring a unique gift — your multicultural heritage.” Barbara Goldowsky, 84, Newton, Mass. (Barbara Goldowsky for The Washington Post)

Your dad and mom got here to the United States in search of world-class training. So did I, at about the similar time. Like your dad and mom, I labored arduous to obtain my objectives and I’ve realized many of my immigrant goals. You are about the age of my kids — two sons who’ve earned doctorates from prestigious universities. Thinking of you, who at the moment are about to develop into vice chairman of this free and democratic nation, brings tears of pleasure to my eyes. I don’t presume to provide you with recommendation. What I hope is that you’ll proceed to be the trustworthy, open individual you’re and that you’ll proceed to work for the democratic beliefs on which this nation was based — freedom, equality, liberty and justice for all. You carry a singular present — your multicultural heritage as a daughter of immigrants. I want you success and peace. Know that I honor you and President-elect Biden to your character and willingness to tackle the most troublesome job in the world. With gratitude and blessings.

— Barbara Goldowsky, 84, Newton, Mass.

My hopes to your administration are many, past spending 4 years repairing all of the injury from the earlier administration. I hope my household, two dads and a beloved pup could have a fierce advocate in the authorities to defend us from a Supreme Court who will legislate our household out of authorized existence. I hope that our economic system won’t be restored, however be restructured, so our BIPOC residents are financially leveled with our white residents like myself. I hope that the phrase ‘integrity’ rings true all through authorities’s halls as soon as once more.

I additionally hope that you just, Vice President-elect Harris, lead us with the energy and braveness you may have proven us your whole life. I hope that as a woman of colour, you already know that thousands and thousands of Americans are standing behind you and can combat with you in opposition to the sticky claws of racism that deign to drag our nation, and your work, down.

Jim Hiller, 54, Beaverton, Ore.

“We need to embrace a common purpose and employ common sense, taking responsibility when we decide what is truth and what is fiction.” Tom Walsh, 63, Penngrove, Calif.
“We need to embrace a common purpose and employ common sense, taking responsibility when we decide what is truth and what is fiction.” Tom Walsh, 63, Penngrove, Calif. (Tom Walsh for The Washington Post)

Acknowledge what the citizens is telling you. Four years in the past, voters despatched a message by electing a disruptive outsider, in impact telling D.C. that individuals are sick of business-as-usual. An extremist was elected in the hopes of altering the establishment. That didn’t work out to the satisfaction of the majority and alter was chosen once more. This time the message was combined. The citizens stated: “Remove him, but neither do we endorse a blue wave. We don’t want an extremist right, but neither do we want an extremist left.” You want to affirm that you just’ve heard this, as a result of in any other case you threat alienating half the nation, once more.

Let our two main events study not to pander to the outlandish fringe voices as a result of these are the very ones that sow the seeds of division. History is plagued by failed dictators and their cronies who would divide the lots by pitting one facet in opposition to the different. Waving a flag in a single hand, a testomony in the different, solely to be amplified by a histrionic media disseminating extra falsehood than reality. Let us reject extremist views and return to sanity.

Let’s heed the name for an American reunion and acknowledge that the finest path ahead is the one in the center, the place we discover concession and conciliation via good religion negotiation. Together, we’d like to reembrace a standard function and make use of widespread sense, taking accountability once we determine what’s fact and what’s fiction.

Coming collectively in occasions of disaster has at all times been the hallmark of American energy. Right now, our adversaries are at the gate whereas we face international crises on a number of fronts. We have the threats of present and future pandemics earlier than us. Polluting the world has penalties and we’re seeing the very actual ramifications of that taking place throughout us. Understand that that is about the preservation of our species, the relaxation of the planet, and the livelihood of future generations. We might be higher than this. We have to be higher than this.

— Tom Walsh, 63, Penngrove, Calif.

As the first elected woman to be vice chairman of the U.S., don’t forget about the many immigrant women attempting to hold their households afloat as breadwinners. Many of us want we might afford to pursue a PhD with out moving into debt however can not as a result of it’s not reasonably priced. Please, please don’t let bipartisan political variations derail out of your guarantees to immigrants when campaigning. As a bilingual educator, it pains me to see the struggling of many households which were separated or mistreated as a result of they don’t seem to be lawfully on this nation. I hope Mr. President Biden and you’ll carry change to immigration and training insurance policies. Wish you the finest!!!

Julie Ramirez, 43, Spring, Tex.

“Talk directly to ‘we the people,’ frequently.” — Susan Pynchon, 70, DeLeon Springs, Fla.
“Talk directly to ‘we the people,’ frequently.” — Susan Pynchon, 70, DeLeon Springs, Fla. (Susan Pynchon for The Washington Post)

Talk instantly to “we the people,” steadily. As horrible as Trump’s Twitter rants might be, the one factor it teaches us is that he amassed energy, partly, by talking instantly to his followers on an nearly each day foundation. We can not rely upon occasional press conferences. President-elect Biden and also you should be in fixed communication with the individuals of this nation. And keep inclusivity. No extra cursing or speaking about deplorables. Please talk with and present you care about ALL the individuals. Whatever means you discover to try this, I want you properly.

— Susan Pynchon, 70, DeLeon Springs, Fla.

As a trans woman, I’m pissed off with the Democratic Party, and I’m harm. I voted for you and Biden to defend myself and my group, however I can not describe myself as a Democrat. Over the previous 12 months, I’ve seen the Democratic Party loudly proclaim that it helps trans individuals, interesting to identification politics, whereas actively supporting insurance policies which kill individuals in my group yearly — the Nordic mannequin, FOSTA-SESTA, Biden’s marketing campaign promise to circulation extra money to police departments, and refusal to defund the police. As legal professional basic, you imprisoned trans women in men’s prisons. Your workplace was discovered to have acted in violation of the Eighth Amendment if you denied Michelle Norsworthy well being care. Trans activists in San Francisco routinely marched in protest of your workplace.

I don’t assume you’re a foul individual, and I don’t assume Biden is both. But you may have harm so much of trans individuals, and also you help insurance policies which is able to proceed to harm and kill us. So my recommendation/request — I need you and Biden to cease saying you help trans individuals. I need you to acknowledge the hurt you’ve carried out. I need you to pay attention to trans activists, however I need you to cease talking over them and positioning your self as an ally. In a means, it does extra hurt to declare allyship and go coverage that does injury all the similar than to be clearly and vocally bigoted.

On election night time, as an activist, I felt a deep sense of dread. I couldn’t rejoice. It was good that Trump was gone, sure, however I knew that preventing for trans rights immediately grew to become way more troublesome. It broke my coronary heart to see mutual help teams put out statements about disengagement and decrease donations. I need you to make use of your time in the White House, however please cease hurting trans individuals when you’re at it.

Laurel Turner, 19, Bethany, Conn.

I have never been more proud to cast a ballot with the name Kamala Harris on it. — Leeanna Cassady, 31, Irving, Tex.
I’ve by no means been extra proud to forged a poll with the title Kamala Harris on it. — Leeanna Cassady, 31, Irving, Tex. (for The Washington Post)

My hope for the Biden-Harris administration is to see an enchancment to the health-care system. In Texas, Obamacare shouldn’t be as accessible and I would like to see individuals have the ability to get assist since Black and Latino communities have been devastated by covid-19 right here. I additionally would really like to see some reduction when it comes to scholar mortgage debt. I’m additionally hopeful that this administration might be in a position to heal the nation from the impacts of the covid disaster, and work towards uniting us on racial division and disparities.

Electing the first woman, Black woman and Asian woman as vice chairman was the biggest honor of my life. I’ve been voting since 2008 however I’ve by no means been extra proud to forged a poll with the title Kamala Harris on it. She has opened the door a bit wider than it was for women being in positions of energy. When President Biden picked her as his working mate I’ve by no means felt extra excited and hopeful. I’ve by no means volunteered, or donated cash to a presidential marketing campaign till this one. I stood in line two hours to forged my in-person poll and I might have stood in line all day and night time. Thank you, Madam Vice President.

— Leeanna Cassady, 31, Irving, Tex.

You [and Biden] are each clever, empathetic and understanding. Those are a number of causes I, and plenty of others, labored in the trenches to get the vote out and elect you. Regardless of the insanity in the White House, your election was free from fraud and counted thousands and thousands of votes from individuals who have put their hope and belief in you.

The latest bulletins to your picks to run the governmental businesses and get the equipment of our authorities shifting once more have been buffeted by opinions and stress from organizations, some that I donate to. However, I’m glad to see the regular give attention to the activity at hand and I help the majority of individuals you may have tapped to lead.

I as soon as belonged to the Republican Party. It had already proven indicators of decay. It is unhappy that, whereas there are a number of fiscally conservative/social average Republicans holding on to the social gathering that was as soon as “grand,” it’s apparent there are usually not sufficient.

I hope that you will notice that the outdated means of working with the GOP will work solely in a restricted means at the moment. I hope you’ll grind via the arduous selections to proper America throughout this abysmal time.

Best needs in the subsequent 4 years. Your job might be a heavy elevate and I’ll pray for each of you.

Gail Talbot, 74, Huntley, Ill.

“Convince us that America is in fact great.” Sarah W., 23, New York, N.Y.
“Convince us that America is in fact great.” Sarah W., 23, New York, N.Y. (Sarah W. for The Washington Post)

Dear Vice President Kamala Harris,

For an extended 4 years, the nation was subjected to disjointed and self-serving antics by our leaders with out compassion or decency. Please know that individuals are hurting — socially, economically and bodily — from all backgrounds who would require persistence and compassion. Fight for individuals who haven’t any voice and produce again empathy. Political agendas can’t be gained today with out sound bites and grandstanding, however hopefully this administration brings compassion and peace to a nation that wants it significantly. Hopefully, America can start to be nice once more and acknowledged by different international locations as a reliable and resilient nation as soon as extra.

Please additionally perceive that the election outcomes and those that even voted for you don’t imply the nation is behind you. Convince us that America is in truth nice by implementing holistic insurance policies on local weather, well being care and training that influence on a regular basis Americans. Corporate tax reform and different laws on difficult intricacies go over the heads of common Americans. Focus on insurance policies that can instantly contact the lives of regular individuals and be clear about it. We and the media will maintain you accountable for it. Convince the public that you just really need therapeutic via the selections you make — solely then will you earn our belief.

The American Dream has been restored once more with the election. As an Asian American woman, I’m extremely proud of what you may have achieved, however am additionally motivated to see what extra you possibly can accomplish. Am I bitter a woman hasn’t been elected president of the United States? Yes. I belief that you just’ll lay the groundwork for that and hopefully a feminine president won’t be too far-off.

Thank you for continued inspiration and positivity.

Sarah W., 23, New York

“I hope you and President Biden can Make America a Family Again.” Ed Ruth, 70, Bakersfield, Calif.
“I hope you and President Biden can Make America a Family Again.” Ed Ruth, 70, Bakersfield, Calif. (Ed Ruth for The Washington Post)

I’m so very proud of you. I hope you and President Biden can Make America a Family Again. I believe our shared values and goals can illuminate a path towards accomplishments that promote the well-being of all Americans not only a well-connected few. I hope you and President Biden will stand tall if Mr. Trump makes an attempt to take the nation by drive.

— Ed Ruth, 70, Bakersfield, Calif.

Greetings and congratulations, Vice President-elect Harris:

This election has meant the begin of a brand new alternative in America’s management and engagement with our residents, Congress and the world.

My top-of-the-list hope for you and for President-elect Biden? Listen to our residents. Create the concept of a nonpartisan listening tour for the first 12 months of your administration and announce it at your inauguration: “This is coming and it is about you, our citizens and it’s exciting.” This very intentional marketing campaign might be carried out with creativeness and power in lots of high-tech methods, on many platforms: Digital surveys, bodily distant visits to U.S. cities and rural areas, stay social media occasions, partnerships with varied nationwide information media for city halls conversations and extra. This one huge concept is a leaping off place to your administration. Plus listening to your residents will increase morale, earns belief and opens doorways to collaboration with Congress. Let’s do that!

— Mary Leidig, Knoxville, Tenn.

“Though we cannot vote, our voices remain important.”  Trisha Santanam, 16, Greensboro, N.C.
“Though we cannot vote, our voices remain important.” Trisha Santanam, 16, Greensboro, N.C. (Trisha Santanam for The Washington Post)

Dear Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris:

When you assume the workplace of vice chairman in January, I hope that you just keep in mind the second you spoke these clear phrases of hope that echoed in each little ladies’ ears. They might see a future of countless ungendered and unbiased alternatives via hopeful and keen eyes. Please keep in mind the empty chairs of absent college students, not only for in the future, however endlessly — the dad and mom who stay with gaping holes of their lives, the instructor who needs to flip again time and see their college students’ candy smiles once more, lives taken in a heartbeat by mindless gun violence.

Do not overlook the group and help that college students can carry. Though we can not vote, our voices stay vital, even when they don’t seem to be at all times heard. Be our voice when contemplating the influence of covid-19 insurance policies on faculty reopenings. Everyone’s state of affairs is totally different, and it’s true that one selection you make can by no means fulfill all. But we have now misplaced so many, and simply want to really feel protected in a spot that can foster studying and progress.

Though making selections which are useful to college students is vital, defending our surroundings is equally as very important to our future. We will age with our land, and shortly will probably be on us to defend dwindling wildlife and habitats. Please do not forget that the land belonged to itself, earlier than it was ours: let it blossom, permit it to unfold its magnificence for hundreds of years to come. It appears inconceivable to survive with out oil or gasoline, sure. But how can we survive with out nature?

The legitimacy of the research of historical past stems from our skill to study from it, to not repeat previous errors. If there’s something we all know from our historical past as a rustic, it’s the significance of togetherness. In securing a optimistic surroundings for this nation, presently, it lays the groundwork for us college students to make this nation a greater place. Though we could also be younger, please voice our concepts and hopes for this nation, as it should really foster present and future prosperity.

Trisha Santanam, 16, Greensboro, N.C.

Your administration has extra urgent issues than you possibly can hope to resolve in 4 and even eight years. When you make vital selections affecting greater than 300 million Americans, simply do not forget that all individuals need to be heard, revered and valued. If you possibly can depart the desk having given them that, you’ll do a superb job even when there may be disagreement.

Please do not let those that search to hurt our democracy escape justice in the title of restoring peace, shifting on, therapeutic, or another weak justification. You should do the arduous work. You and your administration owe us your vigilance, so please comply with via to the bitter finish.

I used to be so grateful to be born American, a white girl of privilege. Now I’m ashamed of that. Food insecurity, rampant gun possession, treating immigrants like scum, no management over social media, escalating health-care prices. It’s no surprise my household needs to transfer to one other nation the place the residents are each revered and accountable. Do you assume you possibly can lead us again to that place? I encourage you to attempt, tougher than you’ve ever tried for something earlier than. I like my nation, however you already know what? I don’t really feel protected in America.

May God watch over you and information you in your job.

KC Caldwell, 63, Morro Bay, Calif.

(Clare Ramirez/The Washington Post)
(Clare Ramirez/The Washington Post) (Clare Ramirez/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post additionally requested readers to write letters to the incoming president on the eve of his inauguration. Readers expressed their hopes for the subsequent administration and wrote of their private sorrows.

About this story

Submissions have been flippantly edited for size and readability. The Post additionally requested readers to write out a sentence of their selecting. Handwriting offered by the authors.

Topper illustration by Clare Ramirez and animation by Kolin Pope. Copy enhancing by Karen Funfgeld and Courtney Rukan. Design and improvement by Tyler Remmel.

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