On Saturday, Kamala Harris shattered barriers to becoming the first woman vice president of the United States. She is also the first African American and Asian American person to ever hold the position, and in a speech filled with heavy symbolism, she told the women and girls of the US that she would not be the last.
Sporting a white suit in recognition of the suffragist movement which gave US women the right to vote a century ago she said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” adding “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
In her speech, Harris vowed to fight to “root out systematic racism.” She, like Biden also made a wide appeal for unity, stating that the Americans have elected a President- Joe Biden, who represents the best in them.
The speech by Harris in itself was a sign of the important role that Biden gave her, as it is a common scene for newly elected presidents to keep the spotlight on themselves; rarely sharing the podium with the number twos. Harris entered the stage to the energetic beats of Mary J. Blige’s song Work That, an ode to Black women’s self-confidence.
She opened her speech by immediately hailing the civil rights icon turned congressman John Lewis who died in July. She also paid tribute to her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who emigrated from India. She was 19-years-old at that time and passed away in 2009.
Harris added, “Maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment but she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black Women, Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight.”