Today is the day that we begin the work of building this country for you.
I’m sorry that you spent four years watching adults tear each other apart, and feeling confused and frightened about your country.
I’m sorry that you experienced a pandemic that was handled incompetently by those trusted to protect you.
I’m sorry that you couldn’t sleep many nights with worry for your parents, and your family.
I’m sorry that you had to stay indoors for months, and miss making school day memories with your friends.
I’m sorry that your dad lost his job, and that you worried about where you would be able to live.
I’m sorry that you had to fight to find honesty, and truth, and integrity when those you respect around you accepted and encouraged lies and disrespectful behavior.
I want you to know that all the years I spent teaching you about integrity, honesty, and ethics are not in vain. I did not excuse that behavior from a powerful man. I condemned it then, and I condemn it now.
Please know that I stood firm for your right to decide what happens to your body. I trust you to make healthy decisions for your life.
I want you to know that I fought hard for your right to love and marry whomever you choose. I trust you to make healthy decisions for your life.
Know that I saw your face when you watched news reports of children being caged. I saw the alarm, and I could almost hear your thoughts, “What if that were me?” I protested as loudly as possible, because I also thought, “Dear God, what if that were me?”
Believe that I fought for your right to grow intellectually, and learn all you can without the burden of debt, because I know that greater intelligence will be a gift you will give back to your countrymen.
Today is the day that I will make a decision to reach across the aisle, and come together for solutions for the entire country. But before I do, I need you to know that a position or class doesn’t determine whether you are a good person. Your behavior does. And every good thing I taught you to recognize and honor in yourself remains. Today is the day we begin the work of building a country for you.