Population Media Center is, at its core, a women’s rights organization dedicated to enhancing the well-being and status of women and girls around the world. Families, communities, and nations benefit when women have the ability to pursue their talents. Empowering women and girls is also, of course, directly tied to the world’s population and the sustainability of our planet.
The election of Kamala Harris to the second-highest office in the United States is a win for women’s empowerment and another huge crack in the glass ceiling women work tirelessly to break through.
After the 2020 election, PMC staff were asked to share their thoughts on Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as the first woman, first Black person, first Indian American, and the first Asian American elected as Vice President of the United States.
As we prepare for the upcoming inauguration, we share a selection of the thoughts from PMCers:
Erica Goldberg, Program Manager
Representation in our national, federal and local government matters and Kamala Harris’s appointment as the first female, Black and Indian American Vice President is long overdue. Our government must reflect all constituents – not just a few – and across facets; inclusive of race, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, gender and sexual orientation. I am overjoyed to celebrate this milestone in having a Vice President elected that represents power for women, Black Americans, and Indian Americans. Especially critical when our political leaders have refused to denounce institutionalized and systemic racism and further exacerbate white nationalism, it’s truly about time!
As an Indian American, it is difficult to articulate how much it means to have the first woman as U.S. Vice President be a proud Indian-Black American from California. As an immigrant growing up in Southern California it would’ve meant so much to see someone who looked like me in the highest office of the land – and it’s incredible to know that little brown and black girls will grow up in a time where it will be normalized to see Madam Vice President in power. Kamala is unapologetically a leader, entering an inter-racial marriage at 49, she broke the mold, remained hard at work, resilient and dreamed big even when people said “you’re out of your lane.” In selecting Kamala as his running mate, Joe Biden demonstrated his commitment to women’s rights, racial justice, and progress. As Kamala often says, she may be the first but she won’t be the last. It is my hope that this election ignites a spark in the many men who hold leadership roles across the U.S. to become better allies by physically breaking down the ceilings and barriers for other women of color.
Three hundred years is a very long wait for American democracy, but it’s over now with a woman in the White House. The world has been closely watching America and its policies and the examples it sets on equality, human rights, and democratic principles. Kamala Harris’s appointment as the Vice President will energize everyone who has been fighting for equal voice and recognition. There are remaining challenges to translate this accomplishment into equal representation in the Senate, Congress, and local governmental bodies. I hope the new administration, with the assistance of Kamala, will be able to show the world how a state makes every citizen feel equal and empowered.
Kamala Harris is a needed, welcome, and inspirational antidote to the inhumane ugliness of the Trump era. She is a living manifestation of the hopeful possibilities and type of societal change that PMC aspires to catalyze. By overcoming long-entrenched social norms that limited opportunities for those who are not white males, she is a role model who is setting a new example and hopefully new norms that drive the evolution of American culture and society – that in turn will have a positive knock-on effect around the world.
The impact Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will have on women and girls is sure to echo through our nation’s history forever. I am reminded of the phrase, “Empowered women empower women,” which so simply depicts the importance of women leading the way and inspiring other women around them. She will prove women are just as qualified as men to hold any position of power and will certainly not be the last to do so.
It has been my experience that most of the leaders who are inciting change and building a better tomorrow are women, and many of them are Black, brown, or Indigenous. They are community organizers. They are activists. People in elected positions have important roles, and I have seen that how they grow as people during their time of service is often based on which constituents (and corporations are people, after all) they are listening to. I am glad to see a person in the role of the Vice President who looks more like the inspiring leaders I learn from every day, and I hope our new Vice President will look to make change alongside them.
The election of Kamala Harris as Vice President is important on several levels. Having a qualified woman of color in high office will raise the aspirations of young girls of color who will see that they can achieve their dreams in life. For communities of color that have suffered from poverty, violence and discrimination, there will be a leader in government who understands their situation from her own experience. And, for those who voted against her election based on race and/or gender, they will learn over time that their fears are unfounded and will come to see such elections as normal.
Featured image credit: REUTERS / JIM BOURG – stock.adobe.com
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