The poem inspires young womxn of color through the vice president elect and tells them that barriers are there to broken.
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
For the first time in American history, the country will have a woman of color as vice president-elect in Kamala Harris. It was history in the making. Kamala Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, is set to command a position at the highest level of goverment in America. She is also the first woman, first Black woman and the first South Asian woman to be vice-president elect. Kamala Harris is now a beacon of hope for the new generation of young womxn who'll be inspired to navigate the labyrinth of obstacles designed by patriarchy to oppress them. A new poem "Brown girl, brown girl, what do you see" captures the hope Kamala Harris offers to young children. It was poet Leslé Honoré who penned the poem, a derivation of the classic children's book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr, reported Good Morning America.
Leslé Honoré wrote to the poem originally in 2016 as part of her book of poetry Fist & Fire. When Kamala Harris was projected as the vice-president elect, Honoré was driving. She pulled the car over and started crying. Her 20-year-old daughter was in the car as well. They cried as they celebrated the win. She decided it was time to update the poem, to reflect the hope Kamala Harris present to womxn of color across the country.
"Brown girl brown girl, what do you see," the poem reads. "I see a vice president that looks like me."
"Brown girl brown girl, what do you know. That there are strong women who want me to grow," continues the poem.
For Honoré, whose mother is Mexican and whose father is Black, the victory felt personal. "In the midst of a double pandemic, of everything everyone has been enduring, it was such a huge piece of tangible that I just wanted to acknowledge it and encapsulate it and hold onto that," said Honoré. "I was just over the moon. I am still tingling thinking about it." She shared the poem on Instagram along with the video that Harris's niece, Meena Harris, shared last week showing Harris talking with Meena Harris' young daughter about her ability to become president when she grows up.
Honoré knows representation matters. Seeing someone like yourself in a position if power can make a world of a difference. "We know that the world isn't always full of representations for Brown and Black girls. It's just now starting to happen and it is so celebratory because we've never had that before. We've never had this ability to see it and inspire to be it," said Honoré. Her poem has since gone viral and she's been flooded with requests to share the poem. Honoré also shared a beautiful video of Avalyn, a deaf girl, reciting the poem using American Sign Language (ASL). "As an artist, that's all you can ever hope for, that you create something and it touches people so much that they make it their own," said Honoré said of Avalyn's video. "Avalyn wanted the BIPOC deaf community to feel connected to the poem and proud of their skin," said Beth Hamilton, Avalyn's mother. "I love it so much as a mother to three Black deaf daughters. I felt it gave them hope and shows them that we are still pushing for change for the better."
Joe Biden had selected Kamala Harris as his running mate in August. The California senator had become the first Black and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party's presidential ticket. Joe Biden backed the Senator to help him defeat Trump at the time. "I've decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021," said Biden, we reported. You can buy Honoré's book here.