On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn into office, marking a historic and momentous event. As the first woman, first person of South Asian descent and first Black person to be sworn as Vice President of the United States, her accomplishment is not only a win for the Biden administration but for Americans of diverse backgrounds.
Reflecting upon the historic nature of Harris’ inauguration, the past struggles and barriers women and people of color have faced in the United States come into focus. History is fraught with discrimination, and accessibility to public office, representation and civil liberties have been denied to many Americans. Only 101 years ago, women did not have the right to vote and the immense progress our country has made is reflected by Vice President Kamala Harris.
People of color have been barred from voting or holding office for most of American history, and it would be unthinkable to someone who lived 100 years ago to believe that a person of color would hold the office of Vice President. Historically, this moment will mark an important change in politics as more women and people of color are being elected to public office to represent an increasingly diverse population.
For people of color, especially the South Asian and Black communities, Harris’ victory offers hope in a political climate marked with violence and racial discrimination. After the Trump administration’s lack of protections for people of color and the Black Lives Matter protests, Harris’ inauguration is a moment of victory and a long-awaited representation.
Although it is undeniable that there is a lot of progress still to be made to heal racial injustice and scars inflicted by history, representation in the highest levels of politics moves towards a more equitable future. Representation ensures that individuals have their voices heard and is also vital to creating policies that address issues within specific communities.
As a woman of color, Harris’ inauguration gives me hope for the future of politics because it creates a path in which more women and people of color can enter to implement new ideas and promote equality. I hope to see positive and far-reaching changes through Harris’ work and dedication.
It’s inspiring to see someone who has had similar experiences overcome racial and gender norms to reach the highest level in politics. It sends a message that barriers can be broken. Personally, I know the impact that seeing yourself represented holds for creating motivation and passion. For countless girls and boys, having someone who looks like them as a role model carries hope that they one day could aspire to reach their goals or change the world. It is vital for our future that it be diverse and intersectional, and this starts with representation in politics.
Kamala Harris often quotes her mother’s words, “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.” These words are inspiring and hold an important message for the future of the United States. Harris’ historic victory is ushering in a brighter future for women and people of color and is not only an exciting first.