Vice president Kamala Harris breaks many barriers in 2020 election

by Nikita Chen

SORORITY SUPPORT:  Karen Gibbs, Kamala Harris and Valerie Pippen at Howard University Homecoming in 1986-1987. Harris gained support from the women of her sorority around the world. Courtesy of public domain.

   Four days following the election, the results were announced. On a routine morning run, Kamala Harris received the results of the election and immediately made a call to then president-elect Joe Biden expressing her joy. Harris broke barriers this election and is set to become the highest-ranking woman in the nation.

   Kamala Harris is a woman of many firsts. Winning the election in November 2020 as vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris became the first woman and the first African-American and East Asian-American to be elected vice president. Kamala Harris, born on Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland, Cal. was raised being the first generation of full integration. Her past experience in political positions included being district attorney, attorney general and senator of California. Selected to be, leading presidential candidate, Joe Biden’s running mate, Harris was poised and prepared to take on a task that would change American political history.

   “I think this election affects schools, and as a student, it will affect my education,” said freshman Emma Madia. “As a colored girl, I believe Kamala will create a better and safer environment in the United States for women and people of color.”

   Kamala Harris is a biracial woman of Caribbean and South Asian descent. Growing up in California, Harris had a direct view of the civil rights movement. Her mother, Shyamala Goplan, was born in India, and her father, Donald Harris, was born in Jamaica. Harris acknowledges her mother, an immigrant and single mother, for embracing black culture and immersing her daughters in it.

  “Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the black women who are often too often overlooked, but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy” Harris said.

TEARS OF JOY: A woman in the audience of Kamala Harris’ first speech to the nation as vice president-elect in Wilmington, Delaware on Nov. 7, 2020. People around the world took pride in Harris representing women of color in a position of power.

   Harris attended Howard University and received her law degree in economics and political science from Hastings College in 1989. Howard University is a historically black private research university, a leader in STEM fields and the top producer of African-American undergraduates earning science and engineering degrees. Her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Incorporated, is a historical sorority founded at Howard University in 1908. Kamala Harris’ sorority sisters aided her in campaigning and supported her political career saying she was born to lead.

   “We both pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority incorporated,” said English teacher Denise Dolhon. “It’s the first historically black sorority founded in 1908, and what we strive for and emphasize is leadership and service. We are really into service for all mankind.”

   After graduating, Harris began working as deputy district attorney, and rose through the ranks, becoming the first woman district attorney in San Francisco. Harris was elected attorney general of California in 2010. Being elected to the U.S. Senate, she became the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history.

   “I think her work as attorney general, as senator, and as a prosecutor shows where she wants to make sure people have a better chance and a more equitable life in this country,” Dolhon said.

    Many women and activists pushed for President Joe Biden to choose a woman of color as his running mate. Kamala Harris, who was a presidential candidate, had to leave the race due to a lack of funding for her campaign. In August of 2020, she was named running mate for Biden, the leading democratic candidate at the time. Many of Kamala’s views line up with Biden’s and having a woman of color as V.P. makes this a historical election.

    “She will provide [Biden] insight in the perspective of an African-Asian American woman,” said math teacher Lisa M. Brown.

   Harris is a woman who has broken down many barriers, both race and gender related. In this historical election, a colored woman has been named vice president. On Jan. 20, 2021, Kamala Harris will take office as the 50th vice president of the United States.

   “I think one small important thing is that people get to see that they can do what she is doing, and when you have someone in a position that no one has ever had before, like her, it gives us the opportunity to say, ‘yes we can do it’.” said Activities Director Donna Yard.