Indian origin Kamala Harris made history on Saturday as the first woman, first black and the first South Asian who will be elected as the Vice-President of the United States. Harris and President-elect Joe Biden addressed their supporters in Wilmington, Delaware after media projections showed them winning the widely-watched election.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” she said to cheers and honks from the crowd gathered in socially distanced cars. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” Harris vowed to fight to “root out systematic racism” but, like Biden, made a broad appeal to unity, saying that Americans “have elected a president who represents the best in us.”
Kamala Devi Harris, a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is set to become the highest-ranking woman in the nation’s 244-year existence, as well as a high-profile representation of the country’s increasingly diverse composition. Harris’s victory comes 55 years after the Voting Rights Act abolished laws that disenfranchised Black Americans, 36 years after the first woman ran on a presidential ticket and four years after Democrats were devastated by the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the only woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party. She emerged in all white, a nod to the uniform of the suffragists who fought to enfranchise women 100 years ago, an embodiment of what was once just a dream for so many.
Harris also paid tribute to her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who emigrated from India when she was 19 and died in 2009. “Maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment,” Harris said. “But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black Women, Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight.”