Kamala Harris makes history as first WOC as VP

Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President

Kamala Harris; the daughter of an immigrant family, Indian mother and Jamaican father, has elevated higher in the country’s leadership than any woman in American history.

From her earliest days as a young child, Kamala Harris was taught that the road to overcome racial justice was long and hard.

She spoke often on the campaign trail of those who had come before her, of her parents, immigrants drawn to the civil rights struggle in the United States and of the ancestors who had paved the way.

As she took the stage in Texas shortly before the election, Ms. Harris spoke of being singular in her role but not solitary.

She told a largely Black audience in Fort Worth. “Yes, sister, sometimes we may be the only one that looks like us walking in that room, but the thing we all know is we never walk in those rooms alone we are all in that room together.”

With her rise to the vice presidency, Ms. Harris will become the first woman and first woman of color to hold that office, a milestone for a nation in destruction, grappling with a damaging history of racial injustice exposed, yet again, in a divisive election.

Ms. Harris, 56, embodies the future of a country that is growing more racially diverse, even if the person voters picked for the top of the ticket is a 77-year-old white man.

In her victory speech Saturday, Ms. Harris spoke of her mother and the generations of women of all races who paved the way for this moment. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she told a cheering and honking audience in Wilmington, Del. “ I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months. The grief, sorrow, and pain. The worries and the struggles. But we’ve also witnessed your courage, your resilience, and the generosity of your spirit. For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives, and for our planet. o the woman most responsible for my presence here today my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts.

So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of Black Women, Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way.”

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Kamala Harris has risen higher in the country’s leadership than any woman ever, and it underscores the extraordinary arc of her political career. A former San Francisco district attorney was elected as the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general. When she was elected a United States senator in 2016, she was the second Black woman in the chamber’s history.

Iimmediately, she made a name for herself in Washington with her contemptuous prosecution approach in Senate hearings, grilling her adversaries in high-stakes moments that at times went viral.

The daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, she was steeped in racial justice issues from her early years in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., and wrote in her memoir of memories of the chants, shouts and “sea of legs moving about” at protests. She recalled hearing Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to mount a national campaign for president, speak in 1971 at a Black cultural center in Berkeley that she frequented as a young girl.

Kamala Harris will be the first woman, and the first woman of color to serve as vice president. As a woman of color, I couldn’t be prouder.

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Jessica Velle is writer from Los Angeles, CA. She focuses on shining a light on culturally diverse stories.