5 Times Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris' Acceptance Speech Made Us Cry
Kamala Harris made history on Nov. 7, 2020 when she became the first woman, the first Black woman and the first South-Asian woman to be elected as the vice president of the United States of America.
The night was full of happy tears and high hopes as Harris made her acceptance speech before President-elect Joe Biden in Willington, Delaware. Harris walked on stage dressed entirely in white, which CNN reports had a special meaning. It was in honor of the early women's suffragette movement and a nod to Shirley Chisholm, who dressed in all-white when elected as the first Black woman to Congress. Everything from Harris's choice of outfit to choice of words honored and celebrated women in this historic moment. She delivered a beautiful and heartfelt speech that left millions in awe. If we're honest, the address left us in tears from start to finish, but here are five incredible moments that we can't forget.
Her Message of Hope
"And I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months—the grief, sorrow and pain, the worries and the struggles. But we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit."
It's been a challenging year for everyone in this country. Harris acknowledges and validates our pain at the beginning of her speech, but she also reminds us that we have also seen people rise to the occasion throughout the difficulties. In the last few months, we have seen an unbelievable amount of courage from nurses and doctors who risk their health to help the country to the thousands of people who took to the streets supporting Black Lives Matter. Harris notes that we have chosen "hope and unity." It inspires us to believe that a better future is possible.
Mentioning Her Mom
"And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today—my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn't quite imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible."
Kamala Harris's mom, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, moved from India to the United States when she was only 19. She was an influential cancer researcher and civil rights activist. Shyamala helped shape her daughter into the strong leader she is today. Unfortunately, Shyamala passed away on Feb. 11, 2009. However, Harris honors Shyamala for the profound impact she had and continues to have on her life. It motivated us to reflect on the strong women we have in our lives who shaped us into the best and strongest version of ourselves.
When She Shared the Moment With All Women
"And so, I'm thinking about her and about the generations of women—Black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who throughout our nation's history have paved the way for this moment tonight."
Harris emphasized that this was not just a win for her. It was also a win for every woman in this country. Women made this possible with hard work and dedication, and Harris wanted to share this historic moment. Harris noted the evolution of women's right to vote, starting with the passing of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago to the Voting Rights Act that passed 55 years ago. Sometimes we forget how hard women fought to give us the rights we have today. It's powerful to reflect on history, and it encourages us to continue forward as we strive for equality. That night women "continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard," as Harris said.
Her Shoutout to Black Women
"Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty and justice for all, including the Black women, who are often, too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy."
This was an important moment for Black women around the country. Black women are critical voters during elections. CNBC reported that Black women tend to vote at higher rates than other groups and exit polls showed 91% of Black women voted for the Democratic presidential nominees. Black women like Stacey Abrahms worked tirelessly to increase voter registration and tackled voter suppression. And Black women are not only integral to campaigns and elections, but they are also incredibly important to every aspect of our country. Often overlooked due to racism and misogyny, Harris acknowledged their sacrifices and reminded us that we owe so much of what we have to Black women.
An Inspiring Message to Children
"But 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. 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 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."
Harris shared this uplifting message to the youth of this country. She has shattered tradition and made history, but she doesn't want this to be a one-time-moment. Harris wants to create a future where every child can achieve their dreams, even if it seems impossible. We all face limitations in our lives, some more than others, making our goals feel unattainable. However, Harris changed the narrative of our country's history by becoming the first woman and woman of color to be elected as vice-president. Harris urged us to ignore the limitations placed on us by people. Never forget that you can do anything. You can even change the world.
Looking for more inspiration from strong women? Check out this list of the 35 best women-directed movies of all time.