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As we have all heard by now, history was made on Saturday, Nov. 7 when Democratic party leader, Joe Biden won the 2020 United States federal election. However, it was not made by President-elect Biden, but rather by his running partner and now, Vice-President-elect, Kamala Harris — the first woman, first Asian-American, and first African-American to ever be named Vice-President-elect in the history of the United States.

Now, you may ask, who exactly is Kamala Harris and why is her nomination to the White House making history? Well, ask and you shall receive. 

Kamala Harris is a United States Senator and attorney from Oakland, California. She attended Howard University where she studied political science and economics before becoming part of the UC Hastings College of the Law class of 1989.  

Harris began her career and rise to the top of the political world as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County in California in 1990. After 14 years in office, she became the District Attorney of San Francisco and then shortly after, in 2011, became the Attorney General of California. She then ran for a seat in the United States Senate after California’s junior senator, Senator Barbara Boxer, retired in 2016 and remained there for three years up until she decided to run for the Democratic party’s nomination for U.S. President in the 2020 Election. 

According to politico, Harris tied a record set by Bernie Sanders in 2016 for the most donations raised in the 24 hours following her candidacy announcement, with over 20,000 people attending her campaign launch event in Oakland, California. However, Senator Harris dropped out of the democratic nomination race on December 3, 2019, because she was short the funds required to run for the nomination. 

It was only when Joe Biden won the Democratic party’s nomination and named Senator Harris his Vice-President on August 11, 2020, that history was made. She became the third woman and first woman of colour to be picked as the vice-presidential nominee for one of the major parties’ nomination ticket — and following the Biden-Harris campaign victory, became the first woman to ever be named the Vice-President-elect. 

This was a huge moment, not only for Harris but for women and little girls everywhere. Her nomination to the White House broke down the barrier that had been holding women back from achieving one of the most politically prominent positions in the world. Before Harris became the Vice-President-elect, that position had been held exclusively by men. 

Harris has also broken down the wall that was holding many Asian-Americans, African-Americans back from being a part of the White House’s top duo. By taking on a job previously only undertaken by white men, Harris allows minority groups across the country and the world to believe they can do anything they put their minds to — regardless of who they are, they, too, can follow their dreams and achieve seemingly impossible goals. With this win, minority women in the United States finally have representation in the White House and that should be something that is celebrated by Americans and their counterparts around the globe. 

Many people have questioned whether or not Kamala Harris was suitable for the Vice-Presidential job because of some decisions she made in the early years of her political career. Accusations have emerged in recent months about her opinion on certain subjects like the war on drugs, police brutality, and privatized healthcare that has made many wary over whether or not Vice-President-elect Harris is a good fit for office. 

However, regardless of your political affiliation or your personal opinion on Senator Harris, the fact that she became the first female Vice-President-elect in United States history is a major moment in itself for minority groups in the United States and around the world. Even if you don’t agree with everything she stands for, it is crucial for people everywhere to acknowledge that she is making history and will continue to make history in the next four years. You go, girl!

Krissy is a third-year History major with a double-minor in heritage conservation and Canadian Studies at Carleton. When she's not doing school or hanging with friends and family, Krissy enjoys reading, online shopping, talking aimlessly about history and politics, and playing hockey.
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