MADAME VICE PRESIDENT: WHY REPRESENTATION MATTERS
Updated: Feb 2
8th November 2020, Saturday, 12:30 am:
As I was in the middle of one of many assignments, I decided to take a break by opening up my phone and checking Instagram. I saw the news of President-elect Joe Biden. That made me happy, but what made me happier and what I believe is the best thing to come out of the messy US elections, is that Kamala Devi Harris is the first woman, first black, first Indian-American and along with that, the first child of immigrants to become the Vice President of the United States. As I began to process that, I was filled with a sudden rush of emotions and tears started pouring down my face — before I knew it, I was crying.
To some people, this might not be a big deal, but to me, it was. You may ask, “But we have so many women who are leaders of their own countries, why not look up to them?” To them, I say, when you see someone who looks like you, about to become the most powerful woman in the world speaks volumes for me. It showed me that no matter who you are, where you come from, you too, could achieve greatness, and there is nothing that can stop you from doing so. This shows every little girl in the world that they too can achieve their dreams and goals, and not let anyone stop them from doing so. At this day and age, when so many women around the world have tried to break away from the conservative nature of society and traditions, trying to pave their own way in this world, I will always look up to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who leads her own way, by setting records, in every position that she has ever held, whether as the District Attorney of San Francisco or being the first woman of colour to represent one of largest states of the United States. She is paving the path for many women and girls, not just in the US, but around the world. She will always be seen as an example of courage and determination at a time when it seems like the world is crumbling down.
Today and for the next four years, the whole world’s eyes are going to be on Biden and Harris as they prepare to lead the United States into a new era.
Growing up, despite their achievements and education, women have only been limited to their gender and so many of us started seeing ourselves that way. I remember as a kid, how when it came to my brothers, the relatives always talked about their education and their jobs, but when it came to us, us being my sisters and me, it was always about marriage and never about our achievements. While this may not happen in all families, this is one very specific family: mine. Soon you start to believe that you are not worthy and that you are only meant for marriage. So growing up, we often look for people, in whom we can see ourselves and at the same time, look up to. This is not to say that Kamala Harris is the perfect woman, she isn’t. Certainly, she has made some decisions and taken some risks throughout her judicial term that could have cost her her career. None of us is perfect. Thus, I look at this as a lesson: learn from your mistakes.
In addition to that, this also speaks to the American Dream. Like I previously mentioned, Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, who went to the United States in the early 60s. Growing up, many of us have been told how the United States is “the” place, and every student who goes to the United States as well as an immigrant that lands in the United States of America dreams of living the American Dream, and in this day and age, it had seemed like the American Dream was lost. However, with Kamala Harris in the White House, it goes to show that the American Dream is alive and well.
To those who say that this doesn’t matter, let me tell you when you see someone who looks like you about to lead one of the largest democracies in the world, it gives you the strength, courage and the motivation to be yourself, to stand up for yourself and speak up for your principles, rights and values, thus motivating others and helping them do the same. I want my little sister and two nieces and all the women and girls around the world to see that if you have what it takes to excel in life, it does not matter where you come from, who you are and who you love, there is nothing that can stop you from getting want you want and never be ashamed of who you are.
I would like to end this with something that Vice President-elect Harris said in her speech which I hope gives you a boost of motivation: “Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before.”
Cover Image: Tom Williams/Getty Images