Photo Credit: United States Senate

Vice President of the United States

SHE MATTERS: Vice President Harris Ascends to Be Our National Treasure

by Dr. Deborah L. Stroman, PhD CLU

There are certainly many interpretations of prophet Isaiah’s scripture in which he speaks to God’s new kingdom where there will be peace and rest “and a little child will lead them.” Kamala Harris, our nation’s first woman of color as an African-American and Indian-American vice president, may not have held youthful dreams of one day occupying the White House but today that reality rings true. Vice president Harris has achieved a position that inspires millions of people – young and old – across the world. This historical accomplishment has secured her place in the hearts of many disenfranchised, oppressed, working, and wealthy communities as a national treasure. Overcoming glass ceilings and trap doors, Ms. Harris provokes our belief in hope. An optimism in her brilliance and savvy to influence the tricky machinations of the federal government to help the country’s “great experiment” of a democratic republic work for all people.

Not surprisingly, vice president Harris’s journey was not predictable or planned. Her academic accomplishments are noteworthy as she attended an historically Black college, Howard University, and then the prestigious Hastings School of Law at the University of California. Using fundamental survival skills not unlike many Blacks who are “the only one” in classes, social settings, special invitation gatherings, and private political circles, Ms. Harris navigated them with purpose and grace. Building contacts, connections, and commitments of support, she launched into the California political world with passion.

Some would challenge Harris’s prosecutorial responsibilities and decisions as Oakland’s district attorney and then California attorney general as a misstep in her career to more powerful and influential governmental roles. She never apologized nor made excuses for her commitment to criminal justice reform on her own terms though. Her co-authored book, Smart on Crime, was noted as a national blueprint for criminal recidivism. She even moved away from Obama administration recommendations on a lawsuit against mortgage lenders. Ms. Harris has her own style and methods of achieving political and legal objectives. It has effectively brought her to the biggest and most pressurized stage of them all — The White House.

And again, our children shall lead us…please read these heartwarming and joyful notes in response to the triumph of vice president Harris.

Samaria Harris, age 10
“Kamala Harris impacts me because she is the FIRST Women of Color to be vice president.
What encouragement! Look out world!!!”

Saniyah Wilkerson, age 11
“I feel that she is representing all women and girls and that just because you are a different race doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goals. She didn’t let her gender or how she looks stop her from being vice president.”

Kendall Lytle, age 16
“The energy when Ms. Harris became vice president felt a lot different from when President Obama won. I feel that since she is a woman, and a woman has never held a position that high up, there was a different feeling; the feeling was incredible. Seeing someone who I can relate to not only through race, but through gender gives me a sense of hope for the future and safety in this country. It also reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to!”

Miles Charles, age 17
“Seeing a Black woman elected as vice president shows me that it is possible for a woman of color to be the most senior person in a room making decisions that affect our country. It’s also significant because I have an 8-year-old sister who watched the Inauguration and saw someone like herself reflected on stage. She saw that it is possible to dream big.”

Navia Mosley, age 18
“Having a woman of color as vice president gives me hope for what the future holds for us. A couple of years ago I would have never thought we would have one in office at this level. Having her there means that America is moving in the right direction. It lets a young woman like me know that anything is possible. It’s also going to be really important to have an education because many people already see people of color as less than. To be successful like her you have to take risks.”

Niya Fearrington, age 20
“Sometimes it feels strange that we are still uncovering ‘the first’ but celebrating the inauguration of vice president Harris was something I will never forget. Being a young Black woman, a Howard University student, a public health advocate, and a community organizer, this moment brought me hope that we can start to make strides of needed change in our communities. This was also a great moment in history to remember that ‘we the people’ have the power to elect, and ‘we the people’ have the power to hold them accountable. This nation has many wrongs to right and many “T’s” to cross. I’m optimistic to see how these next four years will unfold.”

Myles J. Robinson, age 27
“My 11-year-old niece, Malia, has a birthday this weekend. She texted me expressing that seeing Kamala Harris being sworn in is the best birthday present she’s ever received. Representation matters.”

The children are not alone. The security and now significance of vice president Harris’s ascendency propels impels many adults to raise their public voices of praise and thankfulness. I join this chorus of applause and new beginnings. I expect Ms. Harris to be “kindly bold” in her duties to further restore courtesy, decorum, and professionalism back in Washington, D.C. Indeed, it is a very special moment for the United States. Her influence in all three branches of government should make a difference in matters of justice and racial equity. Ms. Harris is not a Washington insider, so her fresh insights and perspectives should prove invaluable. Her memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, is certainly worth a deeper read for most Americans.

In addition, Ms. Harris represents the key demographic, Black women, that propelled president Biden’s success through the primary election and on to victory on November 5. We will undoubtedly continue to hear language, plans, and policy from the Oval Office that brings us closer to that more perfect union. If not, don’t bet on vice president Harris, born with an infectious smile, to be quiet. Her journey and God’s grace brought her this far for a reason. Ms. Harris acknowledges this moment and her gift. Choosing to be sworn in with the bible once belonging to former Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, vice president Harris, our national treasure, is prepared and ready to lead us forward.

+ posts

Dr. Deborah Stroman is a senior writer for CORE magazine and chairperson of the ABIS Racial Equity Research team. She is an enthusiastic entrepreneur and educator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her instructional focus and experience lie in the leadership domains of Equity, Entrepreneurship, and Sports Business. Dr. Stroman is the founder of the Center of Sport Business and Analytics. She can be reached at info@dstroman.com