Dear Hazel

I’m sitting in the hospital right now waiting for you to be born. I’m excited, nervous, and anxious to meet you. I can’t wait to hold you for the first time, to hear you cry, and tell you I love you.

Even though it’s past midnight, I am wide awake. Earlier today, our country elected a man to be our president who I disagree with about a lot of things.

I want to tell you about so many great things this world has to offer. But today is hard because I know a lot of people are afraid and worried about what he and his supporters might do to them.

In my thirty-three years I have experienced the privilege that comes with being a white male in our country. And yet for most of my childhood and adolescence, I was bullied for being shy, quiet, and timid. Even as an adult there have been times where it seems wrong to be a good person. I wish I could explain it better.

I didn’t know I had a distinct advantage over my friends in my neighborhood who were black and Asian. I don’t remember when I learned about race for the first time, and to be honest I still don’t understand why people hate each other for being different from them.

I worry for you and your three sisters because there seems to be a significant portion of our country who believe women are inferior to men. That they deserve to be disrespected, and even abused both emotionally and physically. That they don’t have the right to make decisions about their bodies, or that they shouldn’t be payed the same as a man for doing the same job. That they shouldn’t even work at all. That they should be judged primary by their looks. That they should be silent.

I don’t have all the answers, nor do I claim to fully understand the problems. For every person who reads my words, there will be the same number of opinions on what I said/write/think right or wrong. But I needed to process what happened.

The easy thing to do would be to stay silent. To allow people who bully you to have the last word. To stand by while others are treated unfairly. I have made this mistake in my life plenty of times. I’ve even been the bully at times when I was younger.

But I will not be silent. I want you to know that even before you take your first breath, I promise to fight for you. I will fight for the rights of your sisters, your Mom, your aunts, and every other woman. For every person who is mistreated because of their skin color, religion, gender, economic status, or anything else. For every person I see being marginalized.

I will do whatever I can to set an example for others and for you. I will always love you. See you soon.

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