On Saturday, my daughter and I marched in the Women’s March in Napa. We weren’t protesting – we were marching. We marched because my daughter deserves a good education and health care, clean air, clean water and national parks. We marched because we have the right to march, and the right to have our voices heard. We made signs for the march, and my daughter’s sign said simply, “March Beautiful.” Just five years old, she seemed to understand the importance of that day, and the purpose and strength of our combined voices, especially in such an era of polarization. It was a peaceful, happy, powerful and incredibly memorable day. It made me proud to live in Napa and to be raising our daughter here.
Yesterday, I was again proud of our community as I watched my friend be sworn in as the first woman District Attorney in Napa County. Allison Haley is uber smart and incredibly capable, but what really got me were her remarks after taking the oath of office. And, dads, you don’t need to tune out here – we are all role models for our children – that’s the point. Allison talked about the hopes she had for her daughter, placing a message about courage on the wall in her room before she was even born.
When the opportunity came for Allison to be appointed DA, she had some concerns about taking the position. But ultimately, she realized that many of her concerns were contradictory to the lessons she was trying to each her daughter. “It was not by happenstance that I held Fiona during my oath,” she said. “I want bravery to be her birthright. I want leadership to be imprinted on who she becomes. I want her to have a front row seat to watch her mother take chances, make mistakes and get messy.”
One of my daughter’s favorite books is “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to my Daughters,” by Barack Obama. It’s a tender, beautiful letter to his daughters that pays tribute to more than a dozen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. We all have important traits, whether we are creative, smart, or brave, and the heroes in the book remind us that what’s most important is how we choose to use those traits. The “letter” is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. That’s what the march was about for us. That’s what Allison’s speech was about. And that’s what I want my daughter to carry with her every day.