“I may be the first woman to hold this office. But I won’t be the last”
Following the statement made by Kamala during her speech as Vice President elect, I would dare to say that not only the girls in the United States are watching, what was achieved by her, after Americans chose a misogynistic and xenophobic president four years ago. This shows the necessity to generate another type of politicians, at least that´s the message that was sent in the country of the stars and bars.
Opal Lee, a former professor and activist from Fort Worth, Texas, was able to celebrate in 2008 the swearing in ceremony of president Barack Obama; in 2020, despite the health risk posed by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic we’re going through, Lee, 94, doesn´t want to miss the opportunity to see Kamala Harris: “I want to be able to tell my great-grandchildren how it felt to see a woman Vice President, I just have to go”, she told the New York Times.
It’s not every day you see an African American woman of Indo-Jamaican descent becoming the Vice President of the most powerful country in the world.
Kamala Harris was born and raised in Oakland, California. The fight for civil rights was never foreign to her history. Her mother and father met in a protest demanding these rights, and both her and her sister Maya were part of many of these demonstrations. Their closeness to the reality of the country undoubtedly defined their way.
In 2016, Kamala Harris became the second black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. It is worth mentioning that the U.S. Congress was created in 1788, making it clear why Harris’ career is relevant.
She got a B.A. from Howard College and a J.D. from Hasting College’s Law School. She served as Prosecutor of Alameda County and was posteriorly elected District Attorney in San Francisco to then take on the duty as Attorney General of California. She was the first African American woman to assume the role. In 2016, Kamala Harris became the second black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. It is worth mentioning that the U.S. Congress was created in 1788, making it clear why Harris’ career is relevant.
”Mr. Vice President, I´m speaking”
The electoral campaign was filled with outbursts, misinformation and debates couldn´t be absent. After the first presidential debate, from which not much was able to be constructed , it was the turn of Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. This debate was marked by two occurrences, the fly on Pence’s head and the reiterated ”Mr. Vice President, I‘m speaking” from Harris; a phrase with which many women can identify with, because in the workplace it’s quite frequent to be interrupted by our male colleagues, either to disqualify what we’re saying or to “explain things to us” we already know: the infamous mansplaining.
The fact is that, dear readers, being a woman in a world used to see through the male gaze is quite the challenge. Surely some may think that we may be guilty of exaggerating these situations, but give yourselves a chance to ask the women close to you about how many times they’ve been interrupted in a work meeting or how many times things have been “explained” to them and you might see we´re not exaggerating. Kamala Harris bolstered in this debate the feelings of thousands of women. Social media showed comments such as “I’m buying a shirt with the phrase ‘I’m speaking’ to wear to my work meetings”.
Kamala Harris’ biggest challenges
To break glass ceilings doesn’t only mean for women to fight against the current, it means having to demonstrate twofold or threefold why we’re in the place we’re at. Kamala Harris carries, besides being a woman, her ethnic origin, and this is no small feat in a country that has been fighting racism for centuries.
The expectation of what she must do from the Vice Presidency is large, we cannot forget George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police and the #BlackLivesMatter movement that was refueled after this outrageous incident. We can’t deny the inequality imposed to the African American population, and how this was also exacerbated during the pandemic, where Covid-19 deaths, compared to white people, were significantly more.
The expectation of what she must do from the Vice Presidency is large, we cannot forget George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police and the #BlackLivesMatter movement that was refueled after this outrageous incident.
But it is not just the African American population that has their eyes set on the new Vice President, likewise the Latino population with topics such as migration, Latino businesses, keeping healthcare coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are all topics that were promoted during the campaign and that should be vindicated during her term.
Finally, in conjunction with the topics dealt with previously, in the agenda of the Vice President, there is: education, mainly the wages of teachers; equal pay; criminal justice; and climate change.
It is commonplace to ask if Biden’s Vice President will become his successor, and well, it’s inevitable to think of that possibility due to Biden’s age, 78 years old when taking office.
Kamala Harris for President 2024-2028?
It is commonplace to ask if Biden’s Vice President will become his successor, and well, it’s inevitable to think of that possibility due to Biden’s age, 78 years old when taking office. Moreover, during the presidential campaign, people close to him hinted that he could be a transition president, this to make Kamala Harris a stronger candidate for 2024.
Surely we could discuss various choices Harris made during her political career with which we wouldn’t necessarily agree. There’s no perfection in public service, yet she was able to break down all stereotypes in which women have been pigeonholed: first woman Attorney General in California, second African American woman elected to Congress, she’ll be the first woman Vice President, so, can we picture her as the first female President of the United States? Why not? One can dare to dream.
Surely we could discuss various choices Harris made during her political career with which we wouldn’t necessarily agree, there’s no perfection in public service, yet she was able to break down all stereotypes in which women have been pigeonholed.
Is a Bolivian-Mexican; feminist, mother of a teenager, music lover, lover of concerts and soccer. Ethnologist from the National School of Anthropology and History with master’s studies in Human Development at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, Argentina. A human rights defender, she has worked mainly on women’s rights and cultural rights in different spaces, from civil society and public service.