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What Kamala Harris Running for President Means to Me

On January 21, 2019 on “Good Morning, America”, Senator Kamala Harris declared her run for President of the United States in the upcoming 2020 election. Kamala Harris currently serves as United States Senator for California. She also worked as the District Attorney of San Francisco prior. Harris is following the legacy of Shirley Chisolm, who was the first woman and African American to run for President back in 1972. Chisolm laid the blueprint for folks like Jesse Jackson and Kamala Harris to run, and even for former President Barack Obama to be elected as POTUS. Chisolm said, “I just want to show it can be done.” And she did just that. Representation is critical to marginalized communities because those individuals need to know and feel that they can work to achieve anything. The Black community makes up 13% of the population in the U.S., and that 13% may not be reflected in every industry, which creates a need. This representation isn’t just desired among black communities; those who represent us in the white house and other institutions should reflect the citizens of this country.

For me as a Black woman, seeing another black woman run for president in my lifetime is outstanding. I honestly never thought I’d see a black woman run for president. When Obama ran it was an inspiring time, and to see him run respectfully with no mudslinging and secure the Presidential seat was incredibly inspiring. Not only inspiring for me, but for my family has well. My grandmother, who lived through the Civil Rights Movement, was able to witness this. Obama’s Inauguration was a historical moment in American history, and was the ultimate example as to why representation matters so much. So now, eleven years later, to see a black woman running for the same seat is so exciting. I think that on the heels of the Trump administration, this next election will be one with very diverse candidates. There was a time when Black Americans were not able to vote at all. Then, after the 15th amendment was passed in 1870, it gave black men the right to vote. After this legislation, there were strategies in place such as literacy tests and grandfather clauses put in place to keep Black men from voting. Then, later in 1920, the 19th amendment was passed which granted women the right to vote. Therefore, seeing Black candidates run for office means so much to me. We couldn’t even vote for who was on the ballot let alone be a candidate on said ballot. Therefore, our representation matters for generations to come 

I feel that fair representation will open doors that lead our country to a more equitable democracy. Women can use their voices now more than ever in politics, and I believe this stems from Hillary Clinton initially running for president in 2008. Since then, I’ve seen an increase in women from all backgrounds and issues using their platforms to increase political participation. Seeing more women in male dominated industries makes me feel that we can, and will, continue to break barriers until we no longer have to say “the first woman to…”

 

I am a Junior studying Fashion Merchandising at UNT. I enjoy binge watching Netflix and Hulu. I look forward to covering current trends and new designer collections.
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