Colorado Springs, Colorado 2020-11-07 11:59:26 –
By Kathleen Ronine, Associated Press
Kamala Harris made history on Saturday as the first black woman to be elected Vice President of the United States, breaking down the barriers that have set men (almost all white) in the highest levels of American politics for over two centuries. I did.
The 56-year-old California Senator, who was also the first person of South Asian descent to be elected Vice President, represents the multiculturalism that defines America, but is rarely present in Washington’s power centers. Her black identity allowed her to speak in personal language in a year considering police atrocities and organized racism. As the highest-ranked woman ever elected by the US government, her victory gives hope to a woman devastated by the defeat of Hillary Clinton four years ago.
Harris has been a rising star in democratic politics for the past two decades, serving as a district attorney in San Francisco and an attorney general in California before becoming a US Senator. Joe Biden tapped her as a running mate after Harris finished the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign. They will be president and vice president on January 20th.
Biden’s running spouse selection adds even more importance as he is the oldest president to date at the age of 78 and has not promised to seek a second term in 2024. I did.
Harris is often the legacy of pioneering black women (often underestimated) who came before her, including educator Mary McLeod Bethoon, civil rights activist Fanny Luhammer, and Congressman Shirley Chisholm, the first black candidate to seek a major political party. Assembled the candidacy as part of). Nomination of president in 1972.
“We can’t tell much about them,” Harris said when he accepted her party’s vice presidential nomination in August. “But as Americans, we are all on their shoulders.”
Its history was in the minds of Sarah Twyman, who recently saw Harris’s campaign in Las Vegas and wore a sweatshirt with the Senator’s name on it with Chisholm.
“It’s time for women to reach the highest levels of our government,” said Twyman, a black man at the age of 35.
Despite the excitement surrounding Harris, she and Biden have become more racially tense in the United States as a result of a pandemic and a series of black-American police killings that have caused disproportionate damage to people of color. , Facing serious challenges. Harris’ past work as a prosecutor is skeptical among progressives and young voters who expect her to support radical institutional reforms over gradual reforms such as police and drug policy. Caused.
Jessica Bird, head of the Black Lives Election Justice Project and the Frontline Movement, a multi-ethnic coalition effort to revitalize voters, needs to push Harris and Biden towards more progressive policies. He said he would engage in rigorous organizing work.
“Even if all our politics are not in agreement, I deeply believe in the leadership power of black women,” Bird said. “I want you to commit to the idea that the expression is exciting and worth celebrating, and that there are millions of black women who deserve a fair shot,” he said.
Harris is the second black woman to be elected to the Senate. Senator Cory Booker, her colleague and also black, said her presence itself made the facility “more accessible to more people” and achieved the same thing as the Vice President. Proposed that.
Harris was born in 1964 to two parents working in the civil rights movement. Shamara Goparan of India and Donald Harris of Jamaica met at the University of California, Berkeley, which was a hotbed of activity in the 1960s. They divorced Harris and her sister when she was a girl, and was raised by her deceased mother, who she considers to have the most important influence in her life.
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Kamala is the Sanskrit word for “lotus flower,” and Harris nods to Indian heritage, including calling for the Tamil word “chit this” for his maternal aunt in his first speech as Biden’s running mate throughout the campaign. I did. When Georgia Senator David Perdue ridiculed her name at a rally in October, the hashtag #MyNameIs was picked up on Twitter and South Asians shared the meaning behind the name.
The ridicule of her name by Republicans, including Trump, was just one of the attacks Harris faced. Trump and his allies sought to brand her as a radical and socialist, despite her more centrist record. This is an effort aimed at offending people about the outlook for black women in leadership. She was the target of disinformation online, a mix of racism and sexism about her eligibility to serve as president.
Congressman Pramila Jayapal of Washington said Harris’s power came not only from her life experience, but also from the people she already represented. California is one of the most populous and most diverse states in the United States. Almost 40% are Latino and 15% are Asian. In Congress, Harris and Jayapal worked together on a bill to secure a legal representative for Muslims subject to Trump’s 2017 travel ban and extend their rights to domestic workers.
“It’s the kind of policy that happens when a voice like us is at the table,” said Jayapal, the first South Asian woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives in 2016. That same year, Harris won the Senate election.
Harris’s mother raised her daughter with the understanding that the world would consider them black women, Harris said, and that’s how she describes herself today.
She attended Howard University, one of the historic black colleges in the United States, and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation’s first soloity created by and for black women. She regularly campaigned at HBCU to address the concerns of young black men and women who are eager for a strong effort to dismantle systematic racism.
Her victory could lead more black women and people of color to politics.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who sees Harris as a mentor, sees Harris’ success through a lens of her own identity as the granddaughter of a peasant.
“African Americans are not far from the fear of slavery and racism in this country. We are about how we are treated and what is happening around this racial uprising. I still feel the impact of this, “she said. Harris’s candidacy “instills a lot of pride, hope and excitement in the possibilities.”
Harris is married to the Jewish Doug Emhoff, and the children of the previous marriage call her “Momala.” The excitement about her candidacy extends to women of all races.
Friends Saralane and Kelly Hodge, each with three daughters, took all six girls to the Haris Rally in Phoenix on the closing day of the race. “This car is full of little girls with big dreams. Go to Kamala!” Read the sign on the trunk of the car.
Lane, a 41-year-old lawyer with Hispanic and Asian heritage, volunteered for Biden and Harris. She participated in the political movement for the first time. Asked why she had her 6, 9 and 11 year old daughter meet Harris, she replied, “I want girls to see what women can do.”
Detroit Associated Press writer Kat Stafford contributed to this report.
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