Kamala Harris's Victory Speech Was a Message to Kids of All Genders: 'This Is a Country of Possibilities'
Vice President Kamala Harris made history as the first woman of color to be elected to the role—but the milestone and her inspirational message is an inclusive lesson for all of our kids.
Kamala Harris has become the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first woman of Indian heritage to be elected vice president and, of course, her post-election acceptance speech was the exact right mix of inspiration and hope to mark the momentous occasion.
"To the woman most responsible for my presence here today—my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts," Harris said in her victory speech on November 7. "When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn't quite imagine this moment. 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."
Harris acknowledged all of the women who paved the way before her, and all the women—especially Black women, as she noted in her speech—in the country today who understand just how big of a milestone her win really is.
"All the women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard," she continued. "Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision—to see what can be unburdened by what has been—I stand on their shoulders."
"But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last," Harris said. "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 yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way."
I won't lie, I cried when news broke that President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris were the projected winners of the 2020 election—and again as Harris spoke that evening in November. Sure, I'm pregnant and my hormones are causing me to tear up more frequently these days, but it wasn't lost on me just how historic the win was for Harris and for all Americans. I quickly saw women all over social media sharing the same sentiment and, of course, parents across the country did the same thing on Inauguration Day. They could feel the hope and were excited that their daughters had a new inspiration. Little girls—and especially little girls of color—could see someone who looked just like them in one of the highest offices in the country.
But, as Harris said in her speech, dreaming big and breaking barriers isn't just something that can be accomplished by those who identify as male or female. This win—and the idea that anything is possible in America—is a lesson we can teach all of our kids, regardless of gender. It's something we can celebrate and feel the weight of with our mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and our friends and family across the spectrum of gender identity. And this message—that anything is possible for all of our kids—is something she's bringing with her now that she and President Biden have been sworn into office.
As a boy mom—with one more boy on the way—I'll be teaching my sons about the resilience and impact of women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Constance Baker Motley, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Ruby Bridges. What it means to be a feminist and support gender equality. To be accepting and inclusive of people of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, religions, and abilities. And, yes, about the powerful meaning behind the white pantsuit that Harris wore while giving her acceptance speech.
My boys will grow up knowing the name Kamala Harris and that, for all of us, "this is a country of possibilities."