Kamala Harris, the American Dream Renewed
The nomination of Kamala Harris is more than just about Trump, Biden, or our current political landscape. The candidacy of Harris is the mark of the beginning of a new era, of a healing America.
It’s not about politics, it’s about what she represents; the firsts of many. The first woman to be Vice President. The first Black woman to be Vice President, the first woman of South Asian descent to be Vice President.
Kamala Harris is the daughter of immigrants. Just like me.
When the daughter of Shyamala Goplan and Donald Harris stepped onto the stage at the Chase Center, on November 7, in Wilmington, Delaware, wearing an all white pantsuit. This is an outfit that was previously the icon of only white women in their fight for suffrage in the early 20th century, the significance of the moment became more than just about Harris.
As the entire country watched, Harris shared on stage that when her late mother arrived at 19 from India to California, she would have never imagined this moment for her daughter. That her daughter would eventually become the owner of so many firsts and make world history.
That one day, her daughter would be one of the nation’s top leaders. But she believed in this country enough to believe a moment like this would eventually be possible. As the daughter of Shahida and Mohammad Alam, I know my parents share the same sentiment.
Children of immigrants are taught by the majority that our personal history is confined to the country where their parents are originally from. Regardless if you are second, third, or even fourth generation, your history only exists in India, China, or Mexico. As if there is no evidence of other cultures and ethnicities aside from European ones that make up American history.
This is why Vice President Elect Kamala Harris’ new role must be celebrated. She represents so many hopes and dreams, finally fulfilled.
On her winning night at the Chase Center, Harris shared, “while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last - because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” is proof that her significance reaches across all political identities.
Her nomination should not be confined as a win for Democrats or a loss for Republicans.
Harris symbolically represents that by belonging, generations of other marginalized people are also just as American as anyone else. Harris is proof that I exist. That I matter. That my Indian identity does in fact coexist with my American nationality. She is proof that diversity is celebrated in America.
Harris’ election reinforces the idea that leadership can change, and as minorities we have more of a role to play than just being advocates or supporters. We are meant to be leaders.
And that is exactly why I will start holding her and President Elect Joe Biden accountable today.
Her identity will by no means place her on a pedestal within any minority group.
The nomination of someone who is finally a representative of other marginalized communities does not mean that our fight is over. As Americans, we have an obligation to make sure the ones who we elect make the best choices they can in order to make this country the best it can be.
And that's why it’s not over yet. We will continue to fight for Black Lives Matter and the restructuring of our criminal justice system. We will hold them accountable in their promise to fight this pandemic. We will continue to fight for climate change, equal pay and social justice. We will continue to strive for the intersectionality for policy, gender and race.
And I, the daughter of an immigrant will hold her to her word.