As of yesterday, November 8, 2020, Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris became the 46th President and Vice President-elect of the United States of America. The victory was announced after a nail-biting week, as swing-states Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada carefully counted the mail-in ballots which would ultimately secure Biden's presidency.
In one of the most monumental races for the US Presidency in history, the fate of so many hung in the balance of this election, as seen in the overt display of voter turnout, deeming Joe Biden the President-elect with the most popular votes in history. Yesterday was a day of many firsts, including that of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who became the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first South Asian woman to be elected Vice President in history, following a long slew of exclusively white men assuming the position.
Such a historical event calls for a historical victory speech, and Harris certainly didn't fall short in delivering, just hours after she and Biden had been declared the winners of the 2020 presidential election. For Biden, this was a moment he has worked for decades to meet, but one that was always within reach, considering his political history, race, and gender identity. For Harris, this moment was perhaps not as anticipated.
Harris referenced her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who immigrated to California as a teenager, and “maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment,” she said. “But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black Women, Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all."
She spoke to Black women, who very likely pushed Biden's count over the threshold in Pennsylvania, and who she stated, "are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy," and thanked all women across the country for exercising the right they worked so hard for.
"All the women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard," she continued.
"Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision — to see what can be unburdened by what has been — I stand on their shoulders.".
While Biden's win was a deep exhale in the name of democracy, Harris' win was a triumph in the name of every person who has been overlooked and cast aside during the Trump administration. Furthermore, it was a triumph in the face of those who fired relentless, racist and sexist slurs her way throughout the entire campaign, which she weathered wearing her identity proudly and gracefully. In perhaps the most impactful moment of her brief speech, she nods to those who will come after her, "While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last".
"Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities," she continued. "And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way."
View this post on Instagram
While it's important to note that having a woman as the Vice President-elect doesn't mean that all women will inherently benefit from her position in power, and we don't mean to imply that her previous record be expunged - However, Harris' victory not only serves as hope that the future of so many marginalised groups will be somewhat more secure than it has been in the last four years, but sends a triumphant message to those who never imagined to see themselves in one of the highest positions in the American political system. A message that signals at the power of unity and fortitude in the face of corruption.