Kamala Harris Makes History as Vice President-Elect
By John Boone
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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Win 2020 Presidential Election
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"Black women and women of color have long been underrepresented in elected office and in November we have an opportunity to change that. Let's get to work," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted in August, in response to a news story about a record number of women of color running for the House and Senate this year.
Even ahead of November's election, Harris made history multiple times over: the third-ever female VP nominee, second Black candidate and first Black woman in history on a major party presidential ticket. On Saturday, four days after Election Day, Biden was projected to win the presidency, making Harris the first-ever woman elected to one of the top two offices of the executive branch.
Harris follows Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin's VP runs in 1984 and 2008, respectively. Of course, the first Black candidate to get a major party's nomination was former President Barack Obama. (Candidates such as Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson and Harris herself previously ran but failed to become the major party nominee.)
In terms of being both Black and a woman, Harris is singular, and her election comes amid our national reckoning on race.
The daughter of immigrants -- her mother from India and her father from Jamaica -- Harris was born in Oakland, California, and has in the past defined herself as simply "an American." (She also makes history as the first Asian American woman on a major party ticket.)
Rep. Val Demings, who had also been shortlisted for the VP position, said in a statement, "To see a Black woman nominated for the first time reaffirms my faith that in America, there is a place for every person to succeed no matter who they are or where they come from."
In announcing Harris as his running mate, Biden called her "a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants." Former President Obama, meanwhile, said Biden "nailed this decision."
"Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in: a story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love, there's a place for you here," Obama wrote. "It's a fundamentally American perspective, one that's led us out of the hardest of times before."
I’ve known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing. pic.twitter.com/duJhFhWp6g
In a victory speech on Saturday, Harris promised the nation, "While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities."
"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 yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they've never seen it before," she added.
The historic win had fans celebrating throughout the day. "For all the women who think you can’t make it, this is for you, for all the Black and Brown girls who feel ignored, this is for you, for all Americans that stand for democracy, this is for you," Loni Love tweeted.
For all the women who think you can’t make it, this is for you, for all the Black and Brown girls who feel ignored, this is for you, for all Americans that stand for democracy, this is for you... pic.twitter.com/06rKo5ifma
. @JoeBiden@KamalaHarris and the American people, you just gave the world one of the greatest acts of kindness and bravery humanity has ever seen. ❤️ 🙌🙌 nothing but love for our new Commander in Chief and the 1ST female VP elected to the White House. Also, way to go PA 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/uXiMTWs6Hk
I’m so inspired and truly astonished to look and see a black woman in this position. I say BLACK because representation MATTERS! In America I have searched over and over again as a black girl for people in positions of power that look like me!
This win means more than just who won but what direction AMERICA is ready 2 go in! For me @KamalaHarris’s win represents more acknowledgment 4 the marginalized, more validity & more value that we all knew had been there. Thank you for forcing the world to see by being a FORCE! https://t.co/sZ9rJVmCwh
Not a crier but I lowkey shed a tear, we won’t let hate win! When we show up for each other we win! There’s SO much work to be done but I believe we are willing to show up for each other! Let’s keep being loud & strong. Now the real work begins! Big congrats to @KamalaHarris 😭💥