The Significance of Vice President Kamala Harris

Barbara Lee, Founder and President, The Barbara Lee Family Foundation

As someone who has been working for more than twenty years to send a woman to the White House, this was a life-changing and history-making election. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and countless organizers, volunteers, and supporters pulled off a victory in the midst of a tumultuous year. As the first woman—and first woman of color—ever elected Vice President, Senator Harris’s victory has been hundreds of years in the making, and politics in our country will never be the same!

It is so fitting that this monumental election took place in 2020, during the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, when women got the right to vote. Senator Harris helped bring us across the finish line, but before her thousands of women who were brave pioneers laid the groundwork for this moment.

Vice President Kamala Harris will literally change the face of leadership, continue to challenge long-held stereotypes, and inspire countless women and girls. She will show the world what a strong woman leader looks like, and what is possible for our country. As the title of her inspiring children’s book says “Superheroes are Everywhere,” and Kamala is one of them!

Amanda Hunter, Research and Communications Director, The Barbara Lee Family Foundation

For so many years, voters have had a stubborn “imagination barrier” when it came to seeing women in the roles of President and Vice President, because for hundreds of years presidential politics has been dominated by older white men. Kamala Harris can break down the stereotypes in voters’ minds that women are not qualified, strong, or confident enough to serve at the highest levels in executive office. On the international stage, she will show our allies and our adversaries alike that Americans believe women—and Black women— are strong leaders capable of serving at the highest levels.

Senator Harris is what we call at 360-degree leader. She brings the whole of her lived experience to her work. As a Black woman and a daughter of immigrants, she will bring a unique perspective when making policy decisions, setting Administration priorities, and navigating the COVID-19, economic, and racial justice crises currently plaguing our country. Women take a broader view in a crisis because by nature women are multitaskers and dot connectors. As a Black woman, Senator Harris has spent decades successfully navigating gender and racial bias. We know from our research that she will likely continue to be held to a different and higher standard than her male predecessors, but we also know she is uniquely positioned to succeed under such pressure. She already has.

 

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