First female VP empowers women everywhere

Kamala Harris changes narrative for women of color

Enjelica Sangster, Staff Writer

Most young girls of color go through stages where they feel like they cannot accomplish their dreams because of their skin tone–making it harder to achieve their goals. However Kamala Harris, the first black vice presidential candidate, is slowly changing this narrative and empowering young women all across the country.

Harris was born to immigrant parents Donald and Shyamala Harris. Throughout her youth, she and her parents were seen as inferior due to the color of their skin, being half black and half Asian.  Harris grew up in Berkeley, California—the hotspot for the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. She often attended civil rights rallies with her family. 

The rallies and demonstrations not only made her more aware of the racial issues in society, but also inspired her to make changes for the future. By doing so, she has built a foundation for women–but more specifically women of color. All across the nation, women of color are now slowly being heard and represented through politics.

Harris was a very hardworking student, and as a result pursued a career in law. As time went on she became the first female African American District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. While serving as District Attorney, Harris started a program in 2005 called “Back on Track.”

As stated by the U.S Department of Justice, “Back on Track, or better known as BOT, is a reentry initiative aimed at reducing recidivism among low-level drug-trafficking defendants. Combining strict accountability with real opportunities for self improvement, BOT reports that less than 10 percent of its graduates reoffend—a success achieved, moreover, at a fraction of the cost of traditional prosecution and jail time.”

As time went on, she moved her way up the political ladder and continued to better the community. As a result, Harris was elected as Attorney General in 2010 and later re-elected in 2014. During the year of 2016, Kamala won the election for Senator of California. This is a significant step for women of color all around the states as Harris became the second African American woman, and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate.

Not many women of color hold positions in the government. According to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University (CAWP), “In 2019 alone, women of color only make up 37 percent of the women in Congress, 19 percent of the women serving as statewide elected officials, 25 percent of state legislation, and 37 percent of mayors around the country.” 

These low percentages hold a great deal of power over women of color nationwide. However,  Harris being able to achieve the rank of a senator in California, reverses the mindset for women of color and provides them with the visual rendition they need to see–their representation in the government.

“Honestly, it makes me feel excited for what the future holds,” said freshman Kyndoll Jones. “More African American women being represented in the government makes me feel like things are actually getting better in the United States.”

In the year of 2020, Kamala Harris was the first black woman and the first of Indian descent to be Vice President of the United States. By this historical event, she has provided the necessary representation women of color all across the nation need. 

“A wonderful idea that they are finally giving women a leadership role,” said AICE English teacher Ms. Dell. “For so long women have been put on the back burner, now the more women that come up, the more progress the nation develops.”

Harris’ candidacy as well as her victory is a huge step in U.S history. For a long time, black women specifically have been, and continue to be, disregarded and silenced. Since they are not always able to be represented through politics, Harris’ political status is giving a voice to many black Americans who feel diminished and voiceless. 

 “If elected we will have someone to work on, and actually represent these issues,” said Rogette Harris, the chairwoman of Dauphin County Democrats. “Harris knows those issues personally by being a woman of color herself.”

Harris is such an inspiration to so many women across the country. She has proven her worth and what she is capable of. Despite the media trying to belittle her with articles written to downplay her programs and success, Harris does not let this faze her. She has worked and fought for every position that she has. 

“The fact that it actually happened is really inspiring,” said sophomore Seyda Elsammani. “It shows that even though there are so many struggles like being a black woman in America, she still got a high rank in the executive branch.”

Kamala Harris has been and will continue to give women the confidence and voice that they need to ensure they are represented through the political agenda. Even through much adversity, she has still risen to the top and shown the public how capable she is despite the color of her skin. Harris has left a legacy behind her and has made history for the better. 

“What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful and your voice matters,” said Kamala Harris on her Twitter account. “You’re going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you’ve had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on.”