The election of Kamala Harris is a representative pillar for all women. As a Black woman, seeing another Black woman born to immigrant parents in one of the highest political offices in the country returned a sense of hope and belonging that I had not realized had dissipated until last weekend.
For the past four years I have not felt like a part of this country. My sense of belonging in this place I've called home for 22 years evaporated, and my sense of hope in our government and its electorate would have been all but lost if Biden and Harris hadn’t won.
I voted for Joe Biden because I believed that he is what our country needs at this critical moment in time, but the real reason why I earnestly hoped the Democrats would win the presidency was because of Kamala Harris. As one, I think the duo has the ability to begin uniting a divided America. Now that the election is mostly over, it is surreal to say that the first female vice president of the United States will be a Black woman with immigrant parents.
Harris’ election is a culmination of what our foremothers fought and died for: the ability for women living in this time to have our voices be heard in the decision of who governs our country. Harris gave credit to the women who spent a century securing voting rights in her VP acceptance speech on Nov. 7, and honored "the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, [Indigenous] American women... who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all."
As a young girl, I truly believed that I could accomplish anything I put my mind and my heart into; however, as I grew older I realized that the color of my skin was the first thing that people saw, and consequently what was used to judge my worth. If nothing else comes out of this election, my one hope is this: young girls can look at Kamala Harris as VP and be constantly reminded throughout their lives that they can accomplish anything, even when there are so many odds against them.
Celest Ngeve, director of Rutland Academy works with girls aged 9-15 through her mentor program. Ngeve said representation is important because girls need to be able to see other women who look like them achieving the same dreams that they have. For Ngeve, Kamala Harris as Vice President-elect does just this.
“It shows them that anything can be done, and I think they’re very fortunate in being able to be alive during the time when so much progression is happening for people of color, it's an amazing time in history,” Ngeve said.
However, Kamala Harris isn't a savior. She isn't going to be able to fix all of the ingrained systematic issues that are buried deep inside the heart of this country. But the fact that she was elected gives us the possibility to begin bringing those problems to the surface. She is the manifestation of the fact that race and gender do not dictate what you can and cannot accomplish.