Vice President Kamala Harris and Poet Amanda Gorman Break Barriers

JANUARY 29, 2021

January 20, 2021 will be a moment forever cemented in our nation's history. On this day, Kamala Harris was sworn in as our country’s first female, Black, and South Asian American Vice President. The glass ceiling that had kept so many women for so many years from stepping into their truest potential was shattered. And with it, a new sense of hope, possibility, and promise exists for girls and women throughout the United States of America.

We know that representation matters. Children look up to those around them and their life experiences shape what they believe is possible. Girls’ schools know this intimately, guided by the belief that “if you can see it, you can be it.” Vice President Harris knows this to be true now more than ever. Celebrating the election results in November she shared, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.”

The significance of the day was felt by our Nightingale students as well, as they watched the inauguration live or the next day in various classes.

Annika S. ’25 shared, “While any inauguration is a historical event, the 59th inauguration felt especially impactful. My friends and I watched as the first woman was sworn in as the Vice President. Not only does Kamala Harris pave the way for children of color and for young girls, she is an inspiration to all by showing us that anyone can achieve their dreams in America. I look forward to the next four years and am excited to see how our country evolves.”

Sadie S. ’26 reflected, “Watching Kamala Harris get sworn in was so amazing to witness. The inauguration was a historic ceremony, and seeing the first woman and person of color being sworn in to the vice presidency was amazing and inspiring. The next four years will be a term of firsts, and I find it very exciting to be living through it.”

In addition to Vice President Harris going beyond barriers on January 20, Amanda Gorman also broke the mold as she became the youngest inaugural poet. The 22-year-old Harvard graduate and first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate joined the ranks of Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and Elizabeth Alexander with her poem “The Hill We Climb.” In this landmark moment, she reflected on “a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished” and encouraged a unity among us so that we may “leave behind a country better than the one we were left…” Inspired by Ms. Gorman’s words, Chloe W. ’25 wrote the following poem:

Courage

If only America had no cliffs,
If only America came to us with instructions,
If only there were no problems,
If only it was easy to lead,

We will leap over those cliffs,
We will write our own instructions,
We will solve our problems,
We will lead no matter the difficulty,

All those things are no match for America,
All those things are things we can get through,
All those things can be solved,

But only if we try together,

As a country,
As a nation,
As a democracy,
As a family,

But with courage.

Nightingale’s mission states that “our vision is for Nightingale students to be joyful learners who have the intellectual depth and the courage to be critical thinkers, compassionate citizens, and agents of their own lives; in doing so, we advance equity for the betterment of all.” Watching Vice President Harris and Ms. Gorman living our mission with their words and actions is a powerful reminder of what we at Nightingale are truly capable of accomplishing.