Kamala Harris Just Broke 3 Glass Ceilings

The vice president-elect made history on Saturday
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2020 12:30 PM CST
Kamala Harris Just Made History in 3 Ways
In this Jan. 5, 2015, file photo, California Attorney General Kamala Harris is embraced by her husband, Douglas Emhoff, after taking the oath of office as state Supreme Court chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye looks on at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, Calif.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Glass ceiling, meet Kamala Harris: The California senator made history Saturday by becoming the first woman and woman of color elected vice president, NPR reports. The daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, Harris is no stranger to history: She was the first Black woman to become attorney general of California and the second to become a US senator. But now she'll have the president's ear. "It sends a message about what kind of country we are today," says Manisha Sinha, a US history professor at the University of Connecticut. "An interracial democracy that represents people, men and women, from all over the globe." For more:

  • 'Yes, sister': Harris made no secret of her role while campaigning. "Yes, sister, sometimes we may be the only one that looks like us walking in that room," she told a mostly Black audience in Fort Worth, Texas, per the New York Times. "But the thing we all know is we never walk in those rooms alone—we are all in that room together."

  • Inspirations: She acknowledged Black female pioneers such as civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, educator Mary McLeod Bethune, and Rep. Shirley Chisholm. "We're not often taught their stories," Harris said in August, per the AP. "But as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders."
  • South Asians: Harris is also the first South Asian vice president-elect, USA Today notes. "We're typically an afterthought," says Christine Chen, who helps get out the Asian American and Pacific Islander vote. "I'm really hoping that with her being there that we'll always be ... seen as part of the American fabric and part of the solution."
  • Second Gentleman: Harris' husband, entertainment lawyer Doug Emhoff, will be the first "Second Gentleman." He'll be first Jewish American to occupy the vice presidential abode, per USA Today. "So proud of you," he tweeted Saturday with a photo of him giving her a hug.
  • The Party: Harris' ascent highlights another angle: "A staggering 87 percent of Black women identify as Democrats, according to one study, and Black women have been the party's most reliable voting bloc for generations," writes Jamilah King at Mother Jones. But party platforms and candidates "haven't often reflected this," she adds.
  • Harris' Senate Seat: What happens to it now? Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint a replacement, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. California is among 36 states in which the governor picks an interim senator under these circumstances.
(More Kamala Harris 2020 stories.)

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