On Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, making Senator Kamala Harris the first Black woman to serve as Vice President of the United States.
For generations, Black women and mothers have dreamed and envisioned a better, fairer American politics. Kamala Harris shows my daughter and son that her story is the American story, and dreams come true.
As a mother, there was a sense of relief knowing that my children will have another Black model of what is possible for them, in addition to the Obama family. It was a sweet victory that resonated for many families, children and women, especially Black, Asian, Latina, Indian, or women of mixed races, but there was no easy way to have a conversation with my children about the victory and success of Kamala Harris the world had just witnessed without addressing the systemic barriers that she and many other Black political leaders have historically faced.
My 6-year-old daughter and I read the book Superheroes Are Everywhere, a children’s book written by Kamala Harris that is part memoir and part call-to-action to recognize the superheroes in our very own lives making great changes to the world. The book takes us through Harris’ life as a little girl who loved superheroes.
Excited and empowered, my daughter Aubrey realized she too can make the world a better place by “caring for people, never giving up and always doing her homework” because we are all superheroes and good people.
However, the tone of the conversation with my 11-year-old son about our newly elected Black woman Vice President was a little more serious, as the Black Lives Matter movement, death of George Floyd, police brutality and systemic racism have previously shifted our conversations, making it difficult to explain the violence against Blacks on TV and the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters.
Just seven months ago, in June, we participated in the Freedom to March on Belle Isle, a silent demonstration aimed at recreating the Selma March from 1965 during the Civil Rights Movement.
During that march, I had to reassure my son that we would be safe marching while explaining that we were marching in silence to promote genuine peace, not realizing the emotions that would come along.
As millions marching along with us sang, “We Shall Overcome,” a gospel song and critical anthem of the civil rights movement, reality hit me. I have a Black son. I have a Black daughter. I am a Black woman. It sank in that I was marching for justice and peace 55 years after the Civil Rights movements for the same causes and striking a balance between the reality of racism while instilling confidence that change happens and starts with us — all with 11-year old by my side.
What began as a “boring topic” to my Roblox-playing son turned into an “it’s about time” conversation as he expressed his hopefulness in knowing that things will begin to change with a Black woman in office.
What does the first Black woman VP mean to my family? Harris is an inspiration, role model and a trailblazer because her story speaks to many Black and brown families in America.
Once a child, now an elected leader with the reflection of meaningful change that will make history, those that have advocated for Black women in politics — Stacey Abrams, Charisse Davis, Muriel Bowser and Keisha Lance Bottoms — know that the stakes have never been higher.
Breaking the ultimate glass ceiling, Kamala Harris has earned her seat at the most potent table while demanding change to fix our broken systems in America.
Share your thoughts
Kamala Harris is the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent to become Vice President of the United States. What does this historical seating mean to you and your kids?
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