Kamala Harris has paid tribute to the women who “paved the way” for her to become the first woman vice president-elect in United States history and the first woman of color to make it to the second-highest office.
On Saturday, several media outlets projected that former vice president Joe Biden and his running mate, Harris, won the state of Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, thus earning more than 270 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.
For two decades in public life, Harris has achieved a lot of firsts: the first Black woman to serve as San Francisco’s district attorney, the first woman to be California’s attorney general, first Indian American senator, and now she will be working by Biden’s side as the highest-ranking woman ever elected in the American government.
Ahead of Biden’s victory speech Saturday night at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris, wearing an all-white pantsuit, took to the podium to show her gratitude to voters and poll workers in her first speech as vice president-elect.
She also remembered her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, an Indian American Indian biomedical scientist who left a legacy in breast cancer research that helped save lives. “When she came here from India at the age of 19 she 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 am thinking about her and the generations of women – Black women, Asian, white, Latina, natives American women – who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are too often overlooked but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.”
“All the women who have 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.”
The 56-year-old California senator also commended Biden for having the “audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists” in America and choose a woman running mate. “But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.
“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 yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”
Watch her full speech below: