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‘Representation is powerful’: Students react to Kamala Harris’ historic vice presidential win

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to be elected to the nation's second-highest office. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to be elected to the nation’s second-highest office. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

Vice president-elect Kamala Harris won a historic victory on Saturday becoming the first woman, the first Black American and the first Indian American to be elected to the second-highest office in the nation. 

Harris acknowledged the women, specifically women of color, that have preceded her in an address Saturday evening.

She paid tribute to the women that have allowed her to shatter the glass ceilings that have kept predominantly white men in power in the United States’ highest political positions throughout the nation’s history.

“I am thinking about (my mother) and the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women who, throughout our nation’s history, have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often too often overlooked,” Harris said. 

For several UH students, Harris’s election is a historic moment and a breakthrough in representation for women of color. 

Student Government Association President Jasmine Khademakbari thinks that Harris’s election normalizes women of color in powerful political positions. 

“Vice president-elect Harris is normalizing women and women of color holding positions of power,” Khademakbari said. “And while that does not inherently protect human rights for those groups, it does inspire little girls who have never seen a woman who looks like them in power.” 

“Representation is powerful. Representation shows women of color that we can succeed, we can hold positions of power and we can represent the United States,” Khademakbari added. 

Political science senior Isaiah Martin also underscores Harris as an inspiring figure for people of color, especially youth.  

“Kamala Harris’s story is a true representation of the American dream,” Martin said. “From serving as an attorney general to becoming one of the most recognizable U.S. senators to now becoming the first woman to attain the office of vice president, Kamala Harris is a true inspiration to all POC.” 

“Millions of little Black girls will wake up tomorrow with the confidence that they too can become vice president,” Martin continued. 

Acting freshman Sean Burns believes Harris election is a result of national unity. 

“This is what happens when America comes together as one, justice prevails,” Burns said. “Seeing a POC in the White House brings joy to my heart; seeing a woman of color makes it all the more better. This is the best news the American people have gotten in this hell of a year called 2020.” 

In her post-election address, Harris also emphasized that “while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last” and called on the nation’s children to “dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before.” 

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