The Soul of our Nation - Recap of the Women of DNC
Dr. Jill Biden is a life-long educator. She carries a stack of papers everywhere she goes, teaches at community college, and dedicates her time to ensuring all young adults have access to quality education. During last week’s Democratic National Convention, she went back to her former classroom in Brandywine High School to teach a new kind of lesson to a not-so-typical audience. The subject? How do we make a nation whole again?
After Neilia and Naomi Biden passed away in a car accident, Joe and his two sons, Beau and Hunter, struggled to be whole again. Then, Jill came along.
“We found that love holds a family together. Love makes us flexible and resilient. It allows us to become more than ourselves, together, and though it can’t protect us from the sorrows of life, it gives us refuge, a home. How do you make a broken family whole?,” said Dr. Biden. “The same way you make a nation whole: with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness. With bravery, with unwavering faith. We show up for each other in big ways and small ones again and again.”
Dr. Biden’s speech was just one of many spoken by strong female leaders. On the first night of the convention, former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about the America of four years ago. The American we can still strive to be again.
“When my husband left office with Joe Biden at his side, we had a record-breaking stretch of job creation. We'd secured the right to health care for 20,000,000 people,” said the former first lady. “We were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change. And our leaders had worked hand-in-hand with scientists to help prevent an Ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic.”
Michelle Obama spoke about empathy and the ability to understand life from someone else’s point of view. Empathy is one of the most powerful gifts in the world, “but right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They're looking around wondering if we've been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.”
It is character that this country is missing. Our ability to act with integrity, lead with compassion, and go high when they go low has subsided under Trump’s administration. How do we get this character back? Vote. Vote for Joe Biden because our lives depend on it.
According to Michelle, “Joe is not perfect. And he'd be the first to tell you that. But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president. And his ability to learn and grow—we find in that the kind of humility and maturity that so many of us yearn for right now. Because Joe Biden has served this nation his entire life without ever losing sight of who he is; but more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are, all of us.”
This election season is more than politics. It is truly about the soul of our nation. Michelle’s speech reinforced that we still can be that nation of compassionate, resilient, decent people, but we have to work harder than we ever have before to rebuild America’s trust. Dr. Biden’s speech taught us that no matter how broken something is, with love and understanding, we can overcome. And what did Secretary Hillary Clinton tell us? We can’t make the same mistakes that we did in 2016.
“This can't be another woulda-coulda-shoulda election. If you're voting by mail, request your ballot now, and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker.”
But Secretary Clinton also told us to not give up on America. There is still so much to achieve.
Listen to Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Secretary Hillary Clinton. America had the rare opportunity to listen to three strong female leaders in positions of power. They can guide us during the most difficult time in American history.
Listen. Act. Vote.
Ashley Lynn Priore is a Pittsburgh native and a current undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in English and Philosophy & Politics with a minor in Economics. An award-winning and nationally ranked player under the United States Chess Federation, Ashley is a competitive chess player, politics enthusiast, writer and poet, social entrepreneur, and public service scholar.
Ashley is the founder and President and CEO of The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute. Founded in 2014, the Pittsburgh based non-profit organization is dedicated to teaching chess to the community, ensuring every child has the necessary tools and opportunities to learn the game of chess through a 21st-century approach to education. The non-profit uses strategy and critical thinking to impact Pittsburgh through various educational, social, political, and economic initiatives and regional partnerships.
A chess educator, social advocate, and leader around the city, Ashley also leads Queen's Gambit, a social enterprise. Founded on the belief that chess is a catalyst for change, Queen’s Gambit encourages communities and individuals to use strategy tools to navigate the future. With long-lasting partnerships, they are a network of changemakers in the larger movement towards a critical thinking world. An innovative speaker who appeared on the TEDx stage in 2018, she started playing competitive chess at the age of four and began teaching at eight years old. Ashley currently serves on several nonprofit boards, focusing on youth leadership and providing everyone under the age of 25 with the platform to succeed. Some board memberships include the Pittsburgh Chess Club (where she serves as Vice President), Community Human Services, Pittsburgh Cares, and City of Bridges High School (where she serves as Vice-Chairperson). She also serves on several local and national advisory boards and committees.
In 2019, Ashley entered politics and was a candidate for the Pittsburgh Board of Education, District 4. A catalyst for change who started her own business at the early age of 14 years old, Ashley seeks to empower all to use their passions for good.