Kamala Harris created the history of women’s color as First Lady and Vice President

From early in her childhood, Kamala Harris was taught that the road to racial justice was long.

She often spoke on the campaign trail of people who came before her parents, immigrants drawn to the civil rights struggle in the United States – and to ancestors who paved the way.

As she took the stage in Texas shortly before the election, Ms. Harris spoke of being eccentric in her role, but not in solitude.

“Yes, sister, sometimes we can be the only ones who see us walking in that room,” he told a largely black audience in Fort Worth. “But the thing we all know is that we never walk in those rooms alone – we’re all in that room together.”

With her arrival for the vice-presidency, Ms. Harris will become the first woman to hold that office, and the first woman of color, a milestone for a nation in turmoil, a damaging history of racial injustice. Is still struggling with a divisive election. Ms. Harris, 56, cherishes the future of a nation that is growing racially diverse, even if the person chosen for the top of the ticket is a 77-year-old white man.

That she has grown more than any woman in the leadership of the country underlines the extraordinary arc of her political life. A former San Francisco district attorney, she was elected the first black woman to serve as California’s attorney general. When she was elected United States Senator in 2016, she became only the second black woman in the Chamber’s history.

Almost immediately, he made a name for himself, overtaking his prosecution at a Senate hearing in Washington, grilling his opponents in high-tempo moments that went viral several times.

Yet what distinguished her was her personal biography: the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, she was immersed in issues of racial justice from her early years in Oakland and Berkeley, California, and recounted her recollections of mantras. Wrote in memoir. “The sea of ​​feet move” on shouts and protests. She heard Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to launch a national campaign for president, speaking at a Black Cultural Center in Berkeley in 1971 that she was known as a young girl. “Talk about strength!” She wrote.

After several years in Montreal, Ms. Harris attended Howard University, historically Black College and one of the nation’s most prestigious, then worked as a prosecutor on domestic violence and child abuse cases. She talks easily and often to her mother, a breast cancer researcher who died in 2009; Her white and Jewish husband, Douglas Ehmoff, who would first make history on her own as a second gentleman; And his stepchildren, who call him Momala.

It was a story he tried to tell on the campaign trail during the Democratic primaries with mixed success. Ms. Chisholm, killing her candidacy with tribute to Ms. Harris Attracted crowd in oakland Her advisors estimated that at over 20,000, a tremendous display of strength that established her as a front-runner in the race. But for nomination against the most diverse field of candidates in history, she failed to capture the surge of support and dropped out Any votes were cast weeks ago.

Part of her challenge, particularly with the progressive wing of the party that she tried to win, was the difficulty she had in reconciling her previous positions as California Attorney General with her party’s current Morse . She struggled to define her policy agenda, health care and even her own Joseph R. in Race. Biden Jr.’s record attacked, Perhaps the hardest attack he faced throughout the primary campaign.

“The policy needs to be relevant,” Ms. Harris said. In an interview with The New York Times In July 2019. “This is my guiding principle: is it relevant? No, ‘is this a beautiful saga?’

But it is also the lack of ideological rigor that makes him well suited to the Vice President, a role that calls for a temper of personal views regarding the person at the top. As vice-presidential candidate, Ms. Harris attempted to make it clear that she supports Mr. Biden’s positions – even if somewhat different from those she supported during the primary.

While she struggled to attract the very women and black voters that she hoped would connect to her personal story during her primary story, she continued to strive as Mr. Biden’s running mate turned to people of color. To reach, some of whom are said to have represented for the first time in national politics.

Many witnesses – and continuously – continuously Racist and sexist attacks From conservatives. President Trump has refused to pronounce his name correctly, and after the Vice President’s debate, he cited him as a “monster”.

For some of her supporters, Vitriol Ms. Harris had to endure another aspect of her experience, which she found to be trustworthy.

“I know that I was thrown on the table as the only African-American,” said Clara Faulkner, mayor of Temple of Forrest Hill, Texas, as she addresses the socially perverted crowd in Fort Harth. Waiting for Ms. Harris. “It’s just watching God move powerfully.”

While some members of the political establishment resented the outrage, Ms. Harris’ friends knew that her pragmatism enhanced her understanding of how the political world treats women of color.

Senator Corey Booker, a co-worker and friend of Ms. Harris who has known her for decades, said in some interviews that some of her guarding was a form of self-protection in a world that did not always embrace a barrier-free black woman Planted.

“He still has this grace where it’s almost as if these things don’t affect his feeling,” Mr. Booker said. “She has accomplished this for her entire career and she does not license people to enter her heart.”

After days of waiting for results, Democrats rejoiced in a victory that offered a bright spot in an election that damaged many of their candidates, including several high-profile women.

California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee, who was involved in politics through Ms. Barrol’s presidential campaign, said she always believed she would see the first black woman on the White House stairs.

“Now you have this remarkable, brilliant, poised African-American woman, South Asian woman, ready to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of Shirley Chisholm, and many women of color,” she said. “It is exciting and ultimately a success that many of us have been waiting for. And it was not easy. “

The Democrats’ down-ballot slightly dampened the festive mood, as was a sense among some activists and leaders that it historically leaves women in second place – more than ever for the Oval Office, sure Is, but not in it.

A presidential run that prompted waves of women’s opposition, sparked by many politically for the first time, has retained the “highest, toughest glass ceiling”. Democratic primary voters, which included a significant number of women, ran behind Mr. Biden, avoiding women and people of color in the race because he believed Mr. Biden would be the most capable of defeating Mr. Trump . Hurt by the defeat of Hillary Clinton four years ago, many believed that the country was not ready to elect a woman commander.

Ms. Harris’s presence on the ticket will always be clearly linked to Mr. Biden’s Promise to choose a female mobile partner Recognizing that the future of the party is probably not like his.

Ms. Harris now finds herself the most conspicuously positioned heir in the White House. Perhaps more than any other vice president in recent memory, he will be carefully scrutinized for his ambitions, a level of attention that is probably unavoidable for No. 2 of history’s oldest incoming No.1.

Mr. Biden understands this, Mr. Booker said: “He is really bringing us to the next election.”

The Allies say that Ms. Harris is deeply aware of her place in history. She sees her work as both civil rights leaders who came before her – “ancestors”, as she calls them – and the generations she hopes to empower.

Representative Pramila Jaipal, Washington’s Democratic representative, said Ms. Harris’s ascension to the party’s leftist party was a deep source of pride among South Asians, imagining how high they could climb in American public life. Huh. Ms. Jaipal has written proudly about her own connection to the new vice president Op-ed article in Los Angeles Times His family history in South India was narrated in August.

“She understands what it means to be a child of immigrants – what it means to be a person of color to get racial justice,” she said, adding that Ms. Harris’ work for domestic workers and helping Muslim immigrants reach legal counsel Pointing to do. . “There is just that you don’t have to explain to a Vice President Harris and I believe he will fight on many issues that are important to our South Asian community.”

The small plight of black women in federal politics also sees Ms. Harris as a mentor and ally, praising her issues such as black maternal mortality and anti-incumbency laws, which are usually a high Wattage could not get the spotlight that followed the political. Brand.

When Representative Lauren Underwood was rising in her first race for Congress, Ms. Harris reached out for coffee while trying to become the first black woman to win the predominantly white suburban Chicago district.

“There’s not that many Black women who have been at the highest level of politics in this country. Not so many black women who have run very competitive races, ”said Ms. Underwood, who became the youngest black woman to be elected to Congress in 2018. The chance to learn from this, lawyer is something that I find incredibly valuable. “

Kimberley Crenshaw, a prominent black progressive scholar, welcomed Ms. Harris’s ascent to the Vice Presidency and positioned her “well to withstand the storms that will surely come now that she has broken through the glass ceiling.”

But amid a sense of joy and empowerment in seeing a woman of color as the nation’s second-largest elected official, she also warned that history-making moments should not distract from progress to advance her agenda .

“It’s still the Biden administration – what Kamala Harris thinks or recognized as being part of that administration,” she said. “So we cannot let the metal slow the pedal in any way because we are celebrating the fact that we have this moment of success.”

For others, that moment is too long to come.

When 94-year-old Opel Lee first voted to vote, he chose between choosing his ballot for a Democratic candidate or buying food for his four young children. Decades later, Ms. Lee, a former teacher and activist from Fort Worth, Texas, celebrated the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Despite the health risks from the coronovirus epidemic, Ms. Lee has no intention of recalling the inauguration of Mr. Biden in Washington this January – Ms. Harris.

“I want to be able to tell my great-grandchildren how a woman felt to be the vice-president,” she said. “I just want to go.”

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