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Despite Complicated Feels, Kamala Harris is Making History

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She would be the first woman to serve as vice president. She would be the first Black person and Indian American in that role. She would be the second California-born vice president, and definitely the first hailing from the Bay Area.

In one fell swoop, Sen. Kamala Harris would break countless barriers if she’s elected alongside Joe Biden to lead this country.

Tuesday’s long-awaited announcement surprised many around the country, less so here in the Bay Area where Harris cut her teeth on what would become a long and wildly successful legal and political career. In the 55 years since she was born at the Oakland Kaiser, she has been an Alameda County prosecutor, the San Francisco district attorney, the California attorney general, a former presidential candidate and currently serves in the Senate, in the seat once occupied by Barbara Boxer.

Group of young supporters pose for picture at Kamala Harris presidential campaign kickoff in Oakland, Calif. Jan. 27, 2019. Photo by Nik Wojcik

Now she’s knocking at the White House door, ready to take her seat at the table.

There have been other women to run for president and vice president, but no female candidate has made it past election night. That could all change this time around.

It’s easy for locals who know her name and reputation well to miss the enormity of this moment. The history between Harris and California is, well…it’s complicated. We touched on some of those complexities when she launched her presidential bid from Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall. 

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

As we go forward in the campaign, we won’t downplay how people feel about her truancy law or myriad of prosecutorial decisions that have soured many, but we also want to take a step back and breathe in a truly remarkable moment in this nation’s history. 

Her nomination and very possible entry into the White House as the second in command is something little girls everywhere will remember for the rest of their lives. In a society that still struggles to achieve gender equality, when goals are kept just a little, and sometimes a lot, further from reach for women, this is a moment to celebrate. 

For Asian Americans, for the Black community, for women, this is huge no matter how you spin it or feel about Harris in general. Representation means something, period. Having a living example of someone who has for all intents and purposes broken barriers and ceilings all the way from the Bay to D.C. is inspiring, even if we don’t agree with every step she took to get there.

Man holds sign protesting Kamala Harris’s decision not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin at presidential campaign kickoff in Oakland, Calif. Jan. 27, 2019. Photo by Nik Wojcik

She’s being billed by the GOP as the “most liberal” in the Senate, a super left progressive just itching to make the country socialist. We here know that couldn’t be further from the truth, but then again, the GOP is not famous for relying on facts as of late. Still, she has flexed some progressive muscle with her commitment to not seeking the death penalty as a prosecutor and in the Senate, she has taken on Donald Trump and his enablers with an incredible ability to grill witnesses. 

It’s no secret that progressives are disappointed in the ticket, especially after the incredibly bold and diverse field of candidates during the primary season. But this is where we are and the centrist lifeline is the only one we’ve been thrown. It’s Biden and Harris, or it’s Trump and Pence. That’s it.

There is still cause to celebrate. A woman in the White House, even a law dog, is still a woman in the White House. A Black woman, an Indian American woman, a woman from the Bay Area paves the way for other women, and that in itself is amazing. If she makes it through the election, if she becomes the first, we’ll have a better chance of there being another. 

Kamala Harris takes oath of office as U.S. Senator by former Vice President Joe Biden in January 2017. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Senate)

Yes, there are complicated feels about Kamala Harris, and rightfully so. It may be hard for some to cast that vote in November, but the consequences of losing this election are unimaginable, even in 2020 terms. 

So, this time, let’s vote in this first woman so that there will be more, so that we live to fight another day. In that light, we wish Joe Biden and Kamala Harris all the luck and strength they’ll need to pull this off. 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.

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