In a night full of wonderful speeches and performances, Brayden Harrington clearly stood out among the others with his heartfelt message about hardship, resilience, and friendship. The 13-year-old student revealed in a brilliant video address at the Democratic National Convention that he has a stutter, just like Joe Biden. And that made them become friends instantly when they first met. Here’s what you should know about Brayden and his story:
1. He met Joe Biden at a New Hampshire campaign event. Brayden said in his August 20 speech, straight from his bedroom, that his life changed when he met Biden in February 2020. The two connected at a New Hampshire campaign event. “Without Joe Biden, I wouldn’t be here talking to you today. He told me that we were members of the same club. We… ” Brayden said, shutting his eyes and pushing through the “s” sound, “stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice president.”
2. Biden took him aside and taught him how he deals with his stutter. Biden has been very open about his stutter, which affected him deeply in his childhood. A nun at his Catholic school even called him ““Mr. Buh-Buh-Buh-Biden.” After his NH campaign event, he brought Brayden backstage and shared exactly what he does to get through speeches without stuttering.
“He told me about a book of poems by [William Butler] Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud, so I did the same thing today,” Brayden said, showing his speech, covered in notes, to the camera. “And now I’m here today, talking to you about the future — our future.”
3. He’s “just a regular kid.” Brayden said in his speech that knowing Biden had gone through the same thing at his age put him at ease. “In a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that’s been bothering me my whole life.
4. He’s not old enough to vote, but he’s backing Biden. “Joe Biden cared. 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,” Brayden said. “Someone who cares. Someone who can make our country and the world feel better. We’re counting on you to elect Joe Biden.”
5. He was showered with praise online after his speech. A video shared by the Democratic National Convention on Twitter gained three million views in a short period of time. “Brayden Harrington, the 13-year-old boy with a stutter. Pure, unvarnished, courage,” journalist Dan Rather tweeted. “Speaking is hard for me too, Brayden. But as you know, practice and purpose help,” tweeted former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who struggled to speak after being shot in the head in 2011. “Thank you for your courage and for the great speech!”