“I’m just a regular kid:” 13-year-old Brayden Harrington gave what might have been the most powerful speech of the entire DNC
This year’s Democratic National Convention was filled with powerful moments — you knew it would be, just based on the lineup of speakers, ranging from both Michelle and Barack Obama, to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, AOC, Bernie Sanders, Mariska Hargitay, and more. But no one really expected the most powerful moment of the entire DNC to come from a two-minute speech by Brayden Harrington, a self proclaimed “regular kid,” who fought through his stutter to tell America and the world what Joe Biden means to him.
“I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared.”
– Brayden Harrington#DemConvention pic.twitter.com/KoPprXXwCQ
— 2020 #DemConvention 🇺🇸 (@DemConvention) August 21, 2020
In his DNC speech, Brayden explained that he first met Biden during a campaign event in New Hampshire in February.
“He told me that we were members of the same club,” Brayden said, closing his eyes and drawing out the “s” as he willed the next word to come. “We stutter.”
Brayden Harrington, the 13-year-old boy with a stutter. Pure, unvarnished, courage.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 21, 2020
Biden has long been open about his own lifelong struggle with his own speech impediment, and occasionally catches himself stuttering during public remarks.
“He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud. So I did the same thing today,” Brayden continued in his DNC address, which he gave on video from his home bedroom. He then flipped his speech over to show off how the page was marked.
“I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared,” Brayden added. “Imagine what he could do for all of us. Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to. Someone who cares. Someone who will make our country and the world feel better. We’re counting on you to elect Joe Biden.”
Speaking is hard for me too, Brayden. But as you know, practice and purpose help. Thank you for your courage and for the great speech! https://t.co/lAkk8tPRXw
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) August 21, 2020
What helped make this moment one of the most powerful in the entire DNC was the thought that was in the back of everyone’s minds while they watched it: How different things would likely have gone if Brayden met Donald Trump instead of Joe Biden. Trump, with his divisiveness and his utter lack of empathy, who has already shown us that people with disabilities are not protected from being mocked on the national stage.
As I watched Brayden Harrington talk about Biden helping him with his stutter, could not stop thinking of the clip of Trump mocking a disabled reporter. What a contrast.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) August 21, 2020
But Brayden did meet Joe Biden, who was compassionate and empathetic, and has given us this reminder that the presidency can be decent once again.