Four years after U.S. women gained the right to vote, Lena Springs became the first woman to have her name placed into nomination for vice president at a major political party convention.
Ninety-six years later, Sen. Kamala Harris, became only the third woman chosen as a vice presidential nominee by a major party. She made history as the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent on a major U.S. political party’s presidential ticket.
Harris’ groundbreaking nomination has stirred hope and pride, particularly among girls and women of color who serve as leaders in their communities. Her nomination advances a narrative of racial complexity, opening the door for many of us to confront our need to create one identity, one politic, one reality in how we navigate race in this country.
Born in Oakland, California, Harris is the daughter of immigrants, also civil rights activists, known for taking their young daughters to protests. As children, the Harris sisters attended a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple. Harris credits her mother with raising her and her sister to be strong, proud Black women deeply connected to their South Asian heritage. Undoubtedly Harris has forged a space for women, African-Americans, Indian Americans, and biracial people to raise their hand high and be counted.
This moment also brings us to a cultural crossroads of seeing ourselves in Harris’ presence. Regardless of our celebration, critique, or political position, Harris enables us to see ourselves in our whole selves, to consider the nuances of our political, cultural, ethnic, gendered selves, and to acknowledge the narrative of what it means to be biracial in the United States. Her national presence prompts a complexity that often eludes everyday conversations of race or gender.