Updated: Dec 11, 2020
The 2020 U.S. Presidential election was a historic event for a number of reasons. As the entire world watched events unfold over election week, America was able to generate historic voter turnout and reach new voters like never before. One of the key elements of the election that captured the wonder, excitement, and hope for billions of people around the world was the election of Kamala Harris as America’s Vice President-Elect (VPE). She will be the first woman, the first Asian-American, and the first Black Vice President-Elect America has seen.
As a female-led and female-run organization, EQF is excited to shine the Spotlight on Vice President-Elect Harris and what her new role represents for women and people of color.
Daughter of Immigrants
Kamala Devi Harris was thrust into a world that would have liked to brand her with one main identity for the purpose of convenience. Was she mainly black because her father was a black Jamaican man? Or was she Indian-American given her mother’s arrival to American from India as well as her distinct Sanskrit name? Kamala decided to choose for herself, and she chose American as her primary identity. This gave her the advantage of being able to explore all versions of herself and her environment. With parents who were deeply engaged with the American civil rights movement, VPE Harris also grew up around people who were determined to fight for equal rights, justice, and fairness.
Climbing the Ladder
VPE Harris was raised by a single mother of color, a very qualified scientist undertaking cancer research. As Harris recalls, growing up her mother told her and her sister Maya not to ‘sit around and complain about things, but to do something,’ which became a driving force for Harris. She completed her undergraduate degree at Howard University, and then as a law student at the University of California, Hastings. Her degrees helped her secure a position at Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. From there, she worked her way to becoming San Francisco's top prosecutor and eventually becoming California’s first female and first black attorney general. In 2017, she was elected as a junior senator for her state.
Kamala Harris - The First
VPE Harris has been a trailblazer throughout her career. She was California’s first female attorney general. California’s first black attorney general. America’s first female Vice President-Elect. America’s first black Vice President-Elect. America’s first Indian-American Vice President-Elect.
Kamala Harris is celebrated for her achievements in positions that have historically been hard to reach for women, minorities, and people of color. She serves as an inspiration for many because of her distinguished career and commitment to public service. The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg noted that ‘women belong in all places where decisions are made,’ and Kamala Harris ensured that she was prepared for the incredible weight and complexity of such decision-making.
The Road Ahead
Representation is vital for ensuring a vibrant democracy that reflects its population. By rising to one of the highest offices held by someone of her diverse background, Kamala has established a key precedent for many to follow in her footsteps. She understands the meaning and importance of her role. During her acceptance speech, the Vice President-Elect noted that “while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”
As an organization resting on the shoulders of female leaders, EQF is excited to carry out its work with dedication to achieving a more equal and fair world. While we use this optimism to fuel our commitment to issues of women, peace and security, human rights, and global development, we also acknowledge that now is not the time to get complacent. The road ahead is long and hard, with unique challenges being thrown in the direction of humankind every day. But as a collective, our experiences make us stronger than we can imagine. We at EQF are committed to working with diverse individuals and communities to advance equality, fairness, and inclusivity for all members of society.