Government Opinion

Op-Ed: Vice President Kamala Harris tells West Hartford, ‘Thank You’

West Hartford's MLK39 Racial Equity Mural spans the entire side and a portion of the front of the Noah Webster Library in the Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford resident Dawn Ennis recently had a conversation about West Hartford with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Dawn Ennis at the Vice President’s residence. Courtesy photo

By Dawn Ennis

I’m writing to share a VERY brief conversation I had with Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, June 29 at her official residence in Washington, D.C.

The VP and the Second Gentleman hosted a reception for Pride Month and I was fortunate to have been on the invitation list (details here: https://glaad.org/glaad-vp-harris-pride-2023/).

Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a reception for Pride Month. Photo courtesy of Dawn Ennis

At the conclusion of her remarks to the crowd, Vice President Harris and her husband shook hands and took selfies with many of those lining their path back to the Naval Observatory.

When it was my turn, I made a choice that I had considered but wasn’t sure would come to pass: Instead of posing for a selfie with her, I introduced myself and told her I was from the town of West Hartford, Connecticut, where we have something memorializing some historic words she spoke, words that mean a lot to me.

Then I handed her my phone (which the Secret Service agents weren’t very happy about) showing her the mural outside the Noah Webster Library bearing the images of Judy Casperson, Tammy Exum and Gertrude Blanks, and her quote: “I may not be the first woman … But I won’t be the last.”

Mural on West Hartford Library. Courtesy of Dawn Ennis

Her eyes lit up as I told her whose images graced that mural, and as she handed the phone back to me, she said, “That’s beautiful! Thank you!”

And before she turned to the next person, I said: “Come see it for yourself!”

Her handler then offered me the opportunity to take that selfie, but my friend Jazz Jennings, an icon in my eyes, was behind me and was about to miss her chance, so I pushed her forward so Jazz could meet the VP and get her own selfie.

So, I missed an opportunity for a photo, and didn’t get an actual commitment that she’ll come visit us, but hopefully I planted a seed for the future, something we really need to be doing right now, given current events.

Dawn Ennis is a member of the contributing faculty at the University of Hartford; Sports Editor at Los Angeles Blade; contributor, reporter, and blogger for various publications; host of RiseUP With Dawn Ennis; co-chair of the West Hartford Human Rights Commission; and member of the Board of Directors, Triangle Community Center.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks onstage during a Pride Celebration hosted by the Vice President Of The United States and Mr. Emhoff in collaboration with GLAAD on June 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for GLAAD) Courtesy of Dawn Ennis

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