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Monday, November 30, 2020

In historic speech as VP-elect, Harris honours women who paved the way for her victory

Kamala Harris — who is set to serve as the country's first female, black, and Asian American vice president — also hailed former Vice President Joe Biden for having the “audacity” to choose her as his running mate.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 8, 2020 5:07:32 pm
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaking, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

In her first public address as Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris paid tribute to the women who paved the way for her historic win — the suffragettes who fought to secure and protect the right to vote, black women who are “often overlooked but so often proved they are the backbone of our democracy”, and her late mother, cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan Harris .

“Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been. And I stand on their shoulders,” she told thousands of cheering supporters at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware.

Harris — who is set to serve as the country’s first female, black, and Asian American vice president — also hailed former Vice President Joe Biden for having the “audacity” to choose her as his running mate. “But while I will be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she stressed.

The California senator walked on stage to Mary J Blige’s song ‘Work That’ — her unofficial theme song during the campaign — dressed in a pristine white suit. The striking and unusual choice of colour was specifically selected to honour the women’s suffrage movement of the 20th century that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 and gave women the right to vote.

Just last year, several women from the Democratic Party showed up at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address wearing coordinated suffragette-white outfits. They were making more than a fashion statement. “Wearing suffragette white is a respectful message of solidarity with women across the country, and a declaration that we will not go back on our hard-earned right,” Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel explained to CNN.

In 2017, too, the House Democratic Women’s Working Group urged women members to wear white at a presidential address to show support for women’s issues.

Harris and Biden were projected to be the next Vice President and President of the United States after their apparent win in the state of Pennsylvania, where they were able to clinch 20 crucial electoral votes. With this, they crossed the threshold of 270 electoral votes that they needed to clinch the presidential race, CNN reported.

“You chose hope and unity, decency, science, and yes, truth!” Harris told the audience on Friday, before introducing President-elect Biden. “Joe is a healer, a uniter, a tested and steady hand. A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us as a nation reclaim our own sense of purpose. And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon.”

Soon after her acceptance speech, Harris tweeted, “Now the real work begins.” She said that the road ahead would not be easy, but “America is ready”.

With this monumental win, Harris will become the highest-ranking woman to ever serve in the US government, four years after Donald Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After Biden-Harris were projected as the winners of the race, she shared a video of her calling to congratulate Joe Biden. In the telephonic conversation, she is heard saying, “We did it Joe! You’re going to be the next president of The United States.”

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