Kamala Harris’ 1st speech as VP-elect was poised and powerful, as she celebrated the power of democracy and women who ‘fought for the right to vote 100 years ago.’
Kamala Harris just made history. The California senator, 48, has been elected the first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice president in United States history. Harris celebrated her triumphant victory with her running mate, Joe Biden, at a rally on November 7 in Wilmington, Delaware, shortly after news broke that they were heading to the White House, and Donald Trump had lost the 2020 election. Walking out to Mary J. Blige‘s “Work That,” Kamala wore an all-white suit as a nod to the Suffrage Movement over 100 years ago.
Kamala Harris praises "women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women how are often, too often, overlooked—but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy." https://t.co/eJ4LLajSB6 pic.twitter.com/uC1L2rnOp3
— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2020
“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,” Kamala said during her speech, which was incredibly inspiring. “To the children of this country: our country has taught you a clear message…lead with conviction. See yourself in ways others may not. But know we we will applaud you every step of the way,” she said, addressing young Americans who are not yet legal to vote.
VP-Elect Kamala Harris pays tribute to the women of color who “have paved the way for this moment tonight — women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often — too often overlooked.” https://t.co/eJ4LLajSB6 pic.twitter.com/G5fCJd56iu
— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2020
Kamala’s speech was historic in more ways than one — and the first-ever woman elected to the White House paid homage to the Suffrage Movement and the 100 year anniversary of women being able to vote. “All the women who fought for the right to vote over 100 years ago…and now with a new generation of women who cast their vote and fought for their fundamental right to vote and be heard. Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination,” she said, dubbing Black women as “the backbone of our democracy.”
— Chris Witherspoon (@WitherspoonC) November 8, 2020
She also thanked her husband and family during the 11-minute speech. “To my husband Doug, and our children Cole and Ella, our sister Maya, I love you more than I can ever express,” she said on-stage as supporters honked and cheered. “We are so grateful for Joe and Jill for welcoming our family into theirs. And to my mother — Shamala — who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t imagine this moment…I am thinking of our women, Black, white, asian and latina…women who fought for justice and equality,” she also expressed.
Harris, a former lawyer and former Attorney General of California, started the 2020 election season as a presidential candidate running against Biden. The two candidates clashed at the first Democratic primary debate in June 2019, but she didn’t hesitate to endorse him when she dropped out of the race that December. Biden announced her as his running mate in August 2020, just days before the Democratic National Convention.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”
— Michael Kaye (@MichaelKayePR) November 8, 2020
In their first joint appearance as Democratic running mates, Harris opened up about what made her support Biden so strongly: his late son, Beau Biden. Harris and Biden were attorneys general of California and Delaware, respectively, at the same time. She teared up as she remembered the younger Biden, who died at the age of 46 in 2015 from brain cancer. “Ever since I received Joe’s call, I’ve been thinking about the first Biden that I really came to know, and that, of course, is Joe’s beloved son, Beau,” Harris said.
During the Great Recession, she and Beau spoke on the phone “multiple times a day.” She continued, “I learned quickly that Beau Biden was the kind of guy who inspired people to be a better version of themselves. He really was the best of us. And I would ask him, ‘where’d you get that? Where’d this come from?’ He’d always talk about his dad. And I will tell you the love that they shared was incredible. It was the most beautiful display of the love between a father and a son.”
Biden broke the news that he was nominating Harris as his running mate on Twitter shortly after telling her himself. He wrote: “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate. Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
Harris then tweeted, “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”
Harris becomes the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to run for national office for a major party. She is only the fourth woman to run for national office for a major party, following Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin, and Hillary Clinton — and the first to win.