When Kamala Harris was attending elementary school in California in the 1970s, only white men had been elected President and Vice-President of the United States. Nearly 40 years later, President Barack Obama would change that, and on Wednesday, Harris continued to carry the torch, leaving another indelible mark on this nation’s history. Harris was sworn in as Vice-President, making the 56-year-old the first Black woman and first woman of South Asian descent to hold this high office.
No matter what your political views, this historic moment is deeply significant for all women. To watch someone like Harris stand on the steps of the Capitol, raise her right hand and take the oath of office, truly gives me hope, even as our nation faces tumultuous times.
Women like myself from Vice-President Harris’ generation, and especially those of us with a multicultural background, have been waiting for this day for a very long time. Like Harris, I am a product of the California school and university systems. I have a mother who’s Iranian-American. Harris’ mother, who passed away, was Indian-American.
For little girls, though, especially those who are Black and Brown, Harris’ new role symbolizes something even greater and more profound. They can now look at Harris and in their hearts know that one day they can aspire to be elected Vice-President or President of the United States. Their generation, unlike mine, doesn’t have to wait for that “some day.” That day is here right now!
In a recent Vogue magazine article, Vice-President Harris said it best herself, “I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is Vice-President of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside this country.”
Vice-President Harris’ multicultural background is what this country needs at this moment. In many ways, so many of us see ourselves when we look at Kamala Harris. We are a nation of immigrants and most of us are yearning for a diverse set of viewpoints in the White House.
Harris is at the intersection of so many identities and has lived her life bringing cultures together. There’s no doubt she’ll play an important role in addressing our nation’s serious issues, including a deadly pandemic, reckoning on racial justice, joblessness and political uncertainty.
The California native’s professional credentials as the state’s Attorney General and U.S. Senator also make her one of the most qualified Vice-Presidents to ever hold office.
She is likely to be one of the most consequential Vice-Presidents in U.S. history. Not only is she serving under the oldest President ever elected, Harris takes the helm, as the U.S. Senate is split 50-50. Under the Constitution, she becomes the tie-breaker if Republicans and Democrats can’t come together.
Not everyone will agree with every decision she makes in the coming days and months, but as an American woman, I am rooting for Vice-President Harris because if she wins, we all win.