Reflections on Inauguration Day by Mayor Stewart
Today we exhale a bit. The knots of tension that have formed in the base of our necks and shoulders soften, a bit. The last four years, and in particular the last year and the last two weeks, have been ones of stress, anxiety, pain, loss, and fear for our country.
We still face a great deal of work. But, the words of Amanda Gorman today show us that we can continue the unfinished work and begin the healing:
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
I want to take a moment, on this day, to thank the residents of Takoma Park for their continued persistence, compassion, and dedication to justice.
To my colleagues on the Council, I am glad we have these next two years together under a new federal Administration to serve this great City. Together, we will respond to the ongoing pandemic, work to ensure residents are housed and fed and, as we recover, work to build a better and more equitable City.
To our City staff, we are grateful for the countless hours you have put in, and in just the last couple of weeks, your dedication to making sure we safely got to see this wonderful day.
And, today is a wonderful day.
With the swearing-in today of the Biden-Harris Administration, we now have the nation’s first female, African American, Asian American Vice-President.
And as President Biden said today:
“Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up? All of us?
It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you, we will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.
Will we rise to the occasion, is the question. Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must. I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will. And when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America.”
As we continue the work ahead, let us find inspiration and strength in the words of Amanda Gorman:
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it