Every year, we identify the extraordinary people who moved us over the past 365 days and will continue to inspire us for the next 365. As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, we recognize Authentic People of 2020 who demonstrate courage, heart, vulnerability and the kind of character the world could use more of.
Tell Your Story Loud and Proud
For a speech junkie like myself, this summer’s political conventions, largely virtual, were “must-see TV.” Experienced speakers took the stage, but no one was more compelling than 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who received verbal applause from the most hardened of political commentators.
Stuttering is a communication disorder where repetitions break the flow of speech. For 60% of stutterers, there is someone in the family who stutters. The neurological disorder often combines with other speech and language problems.
Brayden stutters. He met another stutterer, then Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, at a political rally in New Hampshire pre-pandemic. Biden, struck by Brayden’s story, spent time with him talking about how he had learned to manage his own stutter. He empowered Brayden to deliver a poignant speech that was a profile in courage.
And it was a beautiful way to tell the story of Biden’s own struggles.
Use Your Voice; Many Are Listening
In a January 2020 Atlantic story, Biden addresses his history, reluctantly. But Brayden hit it head-on. And in his 3-minute speech at the Democratic National Convention, he resolved questions about the former Vice President’s own verbal gaffes and magnified Biden’s superpower – humanity.
And he spoke for and to the one million Americans who also stutter. As Ben Goldstein wrote in USA Today on August 27, “For the first time in my life, I saw someone like me on television. I saw a person who stutters being praised not for overcoming stuttering and speaking more fluently, but for speaking bravely and authentically while stuttering.
“Brayden’s courage, and the overwhelming public praise of his courage, teaches all of us who stutter that maybe the country is ready to accept us as we are, that how we talk really is OK, and that no matter how little or much we stutter, our voices are worthy of being heard.”
There is nothing more compelling than a powerful story told by an authentic speaker. If we can help you harness your superpower, contact us here.
Watch Brayden’s Speech
Some Closing Thoughts
In early 2020, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington impressed now President-Elect Joe Biden with his story of overcoming and embracing his stutter. Later, Brayden had the opportunity to deliver a 3-minute speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. His courage and confidence left us — and the nation — inspired.