Kamala D. Harris is the vice president-elect of the United States of America.
That sentence brings unspeakable euphoria and jubilation to my heart.
After I exhale, I see tears journeying down every face in our African American and South Asian family’s home. A family that has more in common with Harris than we ever have with any politician.
Finally, we are ready for a new chapter devoid of daily Twitter tirades from our commander in chief, stark racism, sexism and xenophobia. Finally, we know that hate has not won again.
And at last, my daughter — and all of our children — will get to see themselves in one of the highest offices in the land.
Today, history has been made.
This is the kind of representation we know is powerful. It shapes how we see the world, ourselves and what we believe we can achieve. And today, for the first time in the United States’s 244-year history, Harris — the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants — reached a level of government no woman has before.
Harris’s family’s story is one that speaks to many Black and brown families like ours. Her story speaks to our ability — and more importantly my daughter’s ability — to reach the highest echelons of American government.
For my daughter, Harris is an inspiration. She loves dressing up like her — mimicking her poses and noting to anyone who will listen that they are the same — Black and South Asian. At the age of 6, she already says that she wants to be the president of the United States of America when she grows up. It may seem like a normal childhood dream for some, but it was never something I considered or believed I could achieve as a child.
Harris’s very existence puts on display brown and Black families like ours in a way we haven’t seen. She — just like my family — is a piece of the America we know, the America we are part of and the diversity that makes our country great.
This is the America that my husband’s parents emigrated from India for in the 1970s. My father-in-law moved to the U.S. alone with just dollars in hand. He knew very little English and had no choice but to leave his new bride in India. Yet, he was emboldened by the potential he saw in the American Dream. He didn’t shy away from hard work or any of the jobs he was offered when he arrived in New York City and later, Detroit. Instead, he worked to attain his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at the same time. Later, he became the chief executive of his own company.
This is the America that my African American father served in as a Marine. And that my African American parents worked tirelessly in so they could leave low-income housing in Chicago and eventually build their first home. They sought a better future for their children. I watched them as a child and young adult work full-time jobs and go to college. My father eventually graduated with a doctorate in theology and my mother graduated with her bachelor’s degree in her 40s.
Our family no longer has to digest fear. We can believe in the America that my ancestors built, bled and died for. We can believe in the America that my husband’s parents immigrated to from India for a better life.
Today, this story — my family’s story — has been written into the second-highest office in the country.