In November 2020, California Senator Kamala Harris was elected Vice President of the United States.
A historic moment for the U.S., Harris will be not only the first woman but also the first person of color to serve as vice president. She is of Jamaican and Indian descent, representing a unique multicultural background that has been scarce in the executive branch in the past.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris remarked in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware after her win, “because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
Ms. Harris has a strong track record of famed firsts. In 2003, Harris became California’s first Black female attorney general. Then, in 2016, she was elected the first Black person to represent California in the U.S. Senate and the second Black woman to ever serve as a senator.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Harris went on to attend the historically Black college Howard University before returning to California to earn her Juris doctorate at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Harris also served as the district attorney for San Francisco before becoming attorney general for California.
“You may be the first to do many things but make sure you’re not the last,” Harris pronounced.
Harris’s election has inspired Americans far and wide, most notably women of color. Many have even compared her to Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968.
“Here you have now this remarkable, brilliant, prepared African-American woman, South Asian woman, ready to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of Shirley Chisholm and myself and so many women of color,” said California Representative Barbara Lee. “This is exciting and is finally a breakthrough that so many of us have been waiting for. And it didn’t come easy.”
As far as where she stands politically, Harris has characterized herself as a “progressive prosecutor” and has also voiced her prioritization of criminal justice reform and racial justice legislation.
“Racial justice is on the ballot in 2020,” she announced proudly.
Along with her mass support, Harris has faced heavy criticism. In the past, she has pushed for certain crimes to have higher cash bails and has also been in opposition to independent investigations for police shootings. To add, Harris was also a former rival of President-elect Joe Biden when she ran for president in 2019. President Trump went as far as addressing her as a “phony” on Twitter. Nevertheless, Harris has ignored the critics.
“[Harris] still has this grace about her where it’s almost as if these things don’t affect her spirit,” commented Senator Cory Booker. “She’s endured this for her entire career, and she does not give people license to have entrance into her heart.”
Harris has a hard-held progressive agenda for the next four years, a turning point from the far-right Trump presidency.
“I believe our country wants and needs some leadership that provides a vision of the country in which everyone could see themselves,” Harris voiced.