Kamala Harris, a woman of African American and South Asian American descent. Daughter of immigrant parents and graduate of a historically Black college. Member of Black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. And now, Vice President-elect of the United States of America! For me, as an African American and Native American young woman, to say those words out loud evokes confidence, pride, and truth. I think back to the night it was announced that Kamala Harris was the first woman in the country to be elected to the Vice Presidency. I rejoiced that yet another barrier for women of color had been broken.
For the first time in history, girls and women of color are witnessing the possibility that our paths to success are limitless. What the election of Kamala Harris demonstrates is that by working together across all races, we can finally be measured by the content of our character and not the color of our skin, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said. Are we moving from invisible to visible? Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the first female Attorney General in the state of California, the first Indian American in the U.S. Senate, the first African American and Indian American female to hold the second highest office in the United States. She has given us confidence and filled us with pride as we look in the mirror and see our own brown reflections.
I felt so much pride when she said she will not be the last to reach these heights and shared, “Every little girl watching tonight sees that this country has sent a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others may not, simply because they have never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way.” She not only acknowledged her victory in history, but the future of our history to come. She recognized the election not just as a win for herself, but as a win for all, and for the impact it will have on young girls. Vice President-elect Harris is confirmation that any female of color can hold a high-ranking position within a male-dominated system in this country. Her victory has sent the message that hard work and an education can create a path to success, regardless of your race or gender.
Her nomination and win represents the truth of this nation. We have a lot to overcome. Vice President-elect Harris has a tough road ahead of her. As a Criminal Justice major, I hope to see more discussion about the racial disparities and changes that need to occur within the social and criminal justice system. Through her example, Vice President-elect Harris has provided us with a toolkit to address these issues. She once said she struggled with “being forced through a process to define yourself in a way that you fit neatly into the compartment that others have created.” I look forward to seeing those forced compartments dismantled under the leadership of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. She has the strength, tenacity, intellect, and experience to lead our nation in change!
Question: How did the election of Kamala Harris make YOU feel?
Contributor: Calonna Carlisle, Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet Member