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Kamala Harris is officially the next vice president of the United States, cementing her place as the first woman, the first Black woman, the first Indian-American, South Asian, and Asian-American person to hold the position.
While this moment is particularly historic, Harris is used to blazing her own trail: In her career, she was the first Black person and the first woman to become California’s attorney general. In 2016, she ran to represent California in the U.S. Senate and became the state’s first Black senator, the country’s first South Asian-American senator, and only the second Black woman to be in the Senate. She also used to be Biden’s competition, one of a record number of Democratic women who ran for president in 2020.
During her speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, where she accepted the nomination for vice president, Harris spoke about her place in politics. She said, “That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me—women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.”
Biden and Harris will officially be sworn in on January 20, 2021, marking the end of the Donald Trump and Mike Pence administration and a start of a true sea change in the executive branch. In her recent cover story with ELLE, Harris reflected on when Trump won the election in 2016, the same year she was elected to the Senate. “I had one way, in my mind, I thought the evening would go,” she said. “And then there was the way it turned out. And so by the time I took the stage, I had ripped up my notes, and all I had was [my godson] Alexander in my heart. And I took the podium and I said, ‘I intend to fight. I intend to fight.'”
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