“This job, my show here on CNN, was not originally to be mine,” Baldwin said. “More than a decade ago, there was an anchor who suddenly departed CNN, leaving this gaping hole in the afternoon and the then-bosses quickly turned to me and said, ‘Brooke, we’re going to need you to keep the seat warm just for a week until we actually find the person to take over the show.’ Well, okay, I have kept this seat warm for nearly 11 years.”
“You and I have witnessed history together,” she continued, “from marriage equality to this pandemic, from the Women’s March [in 2017] to #MeToo, from natural disasters to, again, senseless shootings. And now we wait, we wait for justice in a trial of another Black man in America who has died in the hands of police. This job using my voice over a decade has been nothing short of a profound privilege.”
At this point, her voice broke and she fought back tears.
“To you at home, thank you, thank you for trusting me, thank you for holding me accountable, thank you for all of the love. I’m telling you, I’m reading every single one of your DMs. Send them on! And to you, my CNN family, my CNN huddle, this is the hardest part. Thank you for making me better, thank you for pushing me, thank you for believing in me and my big back flip off the high dive today.”
Baldwin, who grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Westminster Schools and UGA, spent her first few years at CNN in Atlanta, first as a freelance journalist, than as an afternoon host before moving to New York in 2014. She said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that she has no new job. She just decided after writing a book about women’s empowerment called “Huddle” that it was time to forge out on her own and do long-form storytelling on her own terms.
>> RELATED: A talk with Brooke Baldwin about her departure and her book ‘Huddle’
“I’m leaving this place better than I found it,” she said. When she saw a preponderance of women journalists in the White House press room recently asking Biden questions, she leapt to her feet in her office cheering them on. “So many women, Black, white, brown. Progress! We do need diverse voices telling our stories from in front of the camera to the executive suites. We are making progress. So whatever industry you’re in, my parting words: get a little uncomfortable. Speak up. And keep pushing.”