History was made on November 7th 2020 as senator and former California attorney general, Kamala Harris became the first black woman to enter the White House as vice president of the United States of America. 56-year-old Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland California to an Afro-Jamaican father and Indian mother is the first woman of color to have been elected at such a position after running alongside Joe Biden.
Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in 1990, before being recruited to the City Attorney of San Francisco office in 2000. In 2004, she was elected the 27th district attorney of San Francisco; a role she served until 2011, after which she went on to become the Attorney general of California in 2010 and 2014.
Kamala’s parents immigrated to America in the 1960s to pursue their respective academic careers; her mother was a cancer researcher at UC Berkeley and her father, an economics professor at Stanford University. Kamala herself pursued a career in law and the criminal justice system. At 56 years old, she was seen as a leading contender to succeed Biden and was in the running to become the first female US president. Following Joe Biden’s win, she said, “This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us."
Harris’s new position represents millions of American women from various demographics, who have previously been overlooked, underrepresented and ignored by the country’s system – her win has been empowering for them. In August 2020, when she made her Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, she mentioned a number of important women of color in history, such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisolm and Constance Baker Motley, stating, “Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty and justice for all.”
In her first speech as vice president elect, Kamala Harris noted that this was a milestone in history and declared, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities, and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they've never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way," she said.