Kamala Harris on being the only Black woman in the Senate

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Kamala Harris waves at Las Vegas event
Top photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

This post is also available in: French

With the recent scandals and protests over police brutality and racial injustice that have shaken America, more and more people have turned their attention to Senator Kamala Harris. Why? This California member of the Democratic Party, and the only Black woman in the Senate.

An in-depth profile of Harris published recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, detailing not only the many challenges Harris had to face on her way to the top, but also the extreme loneliness of being the only voice for Black women in a seat of power. Interestingly enough, while most of the world speaks of Kamala Harris as “the only Black woman in the Senate,” that statement itself proves to be somewhat ignorant and not at all inclusive.

The SF Chronicle profile points out that although Harris is indeed the daughter of a Black, Jamaican immigrant, her mother was an Indian immigrant. But the attention to her race does disservice to her talents, taking away from her ability to be one of few colored females to break through the glass ceiling of politics.

When Harris gets asked what it’s like being the only Black woman in the House of Senate, she has developed a standard answer to make each time. It is a thoughtful one. She frequently quotes her mother as saying:

“Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.”

With the recent killing of George Floyd, and the ensuing chaos that has reigned over the US for the past month, more and more pressure has been mounting over Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden to appoint a woman of color as his Vice President. If he gets elected, that is.

Will the nomination will be hers? We will soon see who Biden picks, and who says yes.

As the San Francisco Chronicle spotlight notes, Kamala Harris has never shied away from the attention that comes with her unique position, but rather has wholeheartedly embraced it. Not only that, but over the years, she has used her position to challenge various reputable politicians (among which, Biden himself) over certain connections with white segregationists and regular discrimination faced by Blacks in America. Those are only two of the important issues of which Harris has a unique understanding, thanks to her multicultural background.

Kamala Harris has both determination and ambition, which makes her a strong force in politics, irregardless of her race and gender. That is all in spite of the blows she sustained and the personal toll working in the political arena has taken on her.

And, while there hasn’t been any official nomination at the time of this writing, Biden’s has commited to electing a female VP and Harris has declared that she would “be honored” to be nominated.

Updated November 8th,2020: Kamala Harris has been named the vice president-elect, with Biden as the president-elect. This is a historic moment.

This post is also available in: French

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