Kamala Harris Pays Tribute to Her Late Mother as She Accepts Historic VP Nomination

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Kamala Harris made her place in history official during Wednesday night's Democratic National Convention, accepting the party's vice presidential nomination and cementing her status as the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to do so.

Harris' nomination speech came courtesy of sister Maya Harris, niece Meena Harris and stepdaughter Ella Emhoff, who lauded her as the "world's greatest stepmom" and a "fierce, formidable, phenomenal woman."

"We could not be more excited to share you with the world," they said.

"That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me," Harris said when she took the stage. "Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty and justice for all. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, and we celebrate the women who fought for that right. Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting long after its ratification. But they were undeterred."

She continued, "Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched, and fought -- not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity real in the lives of all of us who followed."

Harris listed all those whose shoulders she stands on, ending with her mother: Shyamala Gopalan Harris. "She raised us to be proud, strong Black women, and she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage," she shared. "She taught us to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people. To believe public service is a noble cause and the fight for justice is a shared responsibility."

"Oh, how I wish she were here tonight," Harris said. "But I know she's looking down on me from above. I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman, all of 5 feet tall, who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. On that day she probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now and speaking these words: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America."

Themed "A More Perfect Union," the third night of the DNC was focused on how the Democrats will build back better the country, with Harris pitching the Biden–Harris ticket's plans.

"None of us are free, until all of us are free. So, we're at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more. We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work. A president who will bring all of us together -- Black, white, Latino, Asian, Indigenous -- to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden."

"Today, that country feels distant. Donald Trump's failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods," she said. "Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose... Joe and I believe we can built that beloved community, one that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we can all see ourselves. That’s the vision that our parents and grandparents fought for. The vision that made my own life possible. The vision that makes the American promise -- for all its complexities and imperfections -- a promise worth fighting for."

Harris concluded her speech to a round of virtual applause, as well as cheers from Biden, who was on hand and joined Harris onstage -- albeit from a distance -- alongside their respective spouses, Douglas Emhoff and Dr. Jill Biden.

Kamala Harris, Joe Biden
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Harris appeared earlier in the evening to urge viewers to vote no matter the barriers. "We need to ask ourselves, why don't they want us to vote? Why is there so much effort to silence our voices?" Harris asked. "And the answer is because, when we vote, things change. When we vote, things get better."

Harris' speech at the DNC comes after her and Biden's first joint interview, in which Biden praised her "intellectual capacity, educational background, backbone and stature," and agreed that she would be the type of VP to tell him when he is wrong.

"We already have that understanding," Harris said. "I'm going to be the last one in the room -- and there to give him honest feedback. Being vice president to Joe Biden, to me, means supporting his agenda and supporting him in every way."


Election Day is Nov. 3, 2020 -- head over to Vote.org to register to vote and to get all the latest information.

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