Ambitious Women Make History
For many people across the country, Kamala Devi Harris has become a household name only within the last year. She went from being known as a US Senator, to a Presidential Candidate, to the Vice Presidential Nominee in the short span of a year and a half. However, living in San Francisco, Harris, a Bay Area native, has always been on my radar. And whether voters are all-in or on a teetering scale, she is much more than Joe Biden’s VP choice.
Harris was born in Oakland on Oct. 20, 1964, and raised in Berkeley, Calif. She was quite literally surrounded by the Civil Rights movement in which her parents were both dedicated activists. Her godmother, Mary Lewis, was the co-founder of the Black studies department at San Francisco State University, and baby Kamala knew she wanted “fweedom” since being pushed around marches in a stroller. But that is just her childhood.
”As a glass ceiling-shattering woman that’s not afraid to tell a man not to interrupt her while she’s speaking, she has constantly had to defend her firmness and tone as a woman, especially as a Black woman.
Today, Harris is a stepmom, a Chuck Taylors collector, and apparently a really awesome cook. She’s been friends with Barack Obama for over 15 years and has always known what she’s wanted to do for her career. Fighting for the rights of others has been ingrained in Harris. In every step of her career, she has made history simply by being who she is. Harris was the first Black woman to be elected California’s district attorney, the first woman to be California’s attorney general, the first Indian-American senator, and now, the first Black woman and first Asian-American to be picked as a Vice Presidential running mate on a major-party ticket.
As a glass ceiling-shattering woman that’s not afraid to tell a man not to interrupt her while she’s speaking, she has constantly had to defend her firmness and tone as a woman, especially as a Black woman. The difference in how she’s treated in comparison to her white male counterparts is apparent, from being called “Aunt Jemima” by the mayor of Luray, Virginia to being called “a monster” by President Trump. She handles it all with class but unapologetically sticks up for herself and doesn’t just sit back letting it happen. Kamala pushes the narrative of normalizing women of color in high places. And not just for the diversity points, but because we deserve it.
“There will be a resistance to your ambition. There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,’” Harris said during the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference. “They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t you let that burden you,” she said. “I want you to be ambitious.”
Hearing these words from a potential Vice President of the United States is what young girls, especially young Black girls need to hear. This will motivate more women to amplify their voices just as she does — and that’s what’s important.
”To be able to continue listening and learning to better yourself and the fight for causes you believe is essential.
Those who are iffy about Harris may have her time as an attorney in mind. I admit, I was on the fence about her in the beginning as well. During her first three years as district attorney, San Francisco’s conviction rate jumped from 52 to 67 percent. As attorney general, her views on the death penalty seemed to be quite inconsistent. But at a certain point, we have to accept that people (yes, even politicians) can change. 2020 has helped millions of people wake up the injustices that Black people and other POCs face on a daily basis — proof that more knowledge can lead to changed opinions.
She’s mentioned often that it’s a good thing to evolve. To be able to continue listening and learning to better yourself and the fight for causes you believe is essential. Would we prefer a Vice President who refuses to acknowledge systematic racism (especially after the year we’ve had) or have someone who fights to end it?
Harris’ slogan is “For the People,” and she’s been fighting the good fight since ‘64.
Celebrate Senator Harris
To celebrate Senator Harris’ birthday, make sure to vote! Check out the early voting options in your state to make sure you stay ahead of the game.
Amanda Davis, Content Creator