In her biography, âThe Truths We Hold,â Kamala Harris writes about how she felt when she arrived on the Howard University campus in 1982.
She joined her orientation class at the University of Washington, DC, and was struck with emotion: âI stood in the back, looked around and thought: ” It is paradise ! There were hundreds of people and everyone looked like me. “
I also remember that feeling.
I went to Hampton University, a historically black university in Hampton, Virginia.
There is no such thing as the love that a black student feels at an HBCU – “historically black colleges and universities”.
It’s like a family reunion.
Watching Kamala Harris on stage with Joe Biden, as his running mate for vice president, I got this feeling again – there’s someone like me.
Agree or disagree with his policies – that is not the purpose of this column.
My point is personal: finally, there is someone who runs for the vice-presidency who looks like me and who could understand what my life looks like.
This is what Kamala Harris means to me and all I am: a woman of color, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, full-time writer and designer at the Palm Beach Post, part-time blogger and guardian for four generations. of my family.
RELATIBILITY: sorority ties
Harris’ appointment draws attention to the role black colleges played in training those in power. These colleges create opportunities for many, and her nomination tells little black and brunette girls, like my twin granddaughters, that one day they could be running for vice president or president!
While at Howard, Harris became a member of Alpha Alpha Sorority, Inc., (AKA), one of the nine sororities and fraternities of the Pan-Hellenic National Council, collectively referred to as the Nine Divines. Much more than Divine Nine social clubs, sororities and fraternities focus on service and social action. At Hampton University, I was introduced to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST). Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to serve in Congress and run for president, was also a member of the DST.
POSSIBILITY: Money matters
Black women are known to be the backbone not only of their immediate family, but also, in many cases, of their extended family. Financially, it can be difficult to manage.
August 13, 2020 was Equal Pay Day for Black Women. August 13 is important because this is the timeline showing that black women have to work all year 2019 and until August 13, 2020, to earn what white men have earned in 12 months. It’s also four months longer than what white women have to work to earn what a white man has earned in 12 months.
It’s very personal to me, and Biden and Harris make equal pay a priority.
HOPE: Make my “A” word “ambitious”
I also hope that our country can regain a certain sense of normality and respect – in particular, respect for people like me.
President Donald Trump has already called Harris a bad guy at least twice, and rest assured she will soon be called an angry black woman. I don’t expect her to be bothered by this, but it bothers me.
I hope that as soon as possible, a black woman with an opinion and the courage to share it will be valued just as much as her white counterparts without being labeled as aggressive or angry.
If you are looking for an “A” word to describe Harris, why not choose “ambitious”. For nearly two decades, Senator Harris’s ambition led her to be the first to achieve many things:
The first black woman to serve as a district attorney in California.
The first woman to be California Attorney General.
The first American Indian Senator.
The first black woman and the first Asian American to be chosen as vice-presidential running mate.
I hope Harris’s ambition is seen as a positive thing. And that her motto, which she says comes from her mother – âYou can be the first, but make sure you are not the lastâ – is exemplified in her actions.