Kamala Harris made history not only as the first woman elected Vice President, she’s also the first Black person and the first Indian-American person to hold the country’s second-highest office. Her story is inspiring young girls across the country, including here in Louisville.
WFPL spoke with two sixth-grade girls and their mothers about what Harris’ election means to them.
Newburg Middle School sixth-grade student Anvita Reddy sees part of her family’s own story in Harris’s.
“I was born here, but my parents were born in India,” said 11 year old Anvita.
Harris’ mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris was born in south India, in the same region as Anvita’s mother, Aneesha Reddy. Harris’ father, Donald Harris, is from Jamaica.
“We were so proud because her parents were immigrants,” Anvita said.
Harris has become an important role model for Anvita, said Aneesha, Anvita’s mother.
Anvita has wanted to become an attorney since she was in third grade.
“She was so much impressed that she was a lawyer… and also a senator from California and also a first lady vice president. So I think that really inspired her a lot,” Aneesha said.
On Saturday, Anvita and her parents watched as Harris gave her victory speech.
“When I was watching the news she said that, ‘I may be the first woman in the office, but I will not be the last because every little girl who is watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.’ And that was really inspirational for me,” Anvita said.
Anvita also said she believes that Harris will do a better job tackling the coronavirus and racial inequity. It’s good to have a mixed-race person in the vice presidency, Aneesha said.
“I think that will help the country too, because there are a lot of mixed people,” she said.
“She’s letting people know that they can follow their dreams,” Anvita said. “She’s letting other people know that they can do what they want to do. And not just to little girls, to everyone.”
Harris’ election has also inspired another Newburg Middle School sixth-grader, 11-year-old Kassidy Thompson. Kassidy, who is Black, said she’s very excited to see a Black woman as vice president.
“It’ll show that all the hard work that all Black, African-American women have put in, like all the effort they’ve put in, it has paid off already,” Kassidy said.
She also sees this moment as an opportunity for change. Kassidy has been paying close attention to the movement for racial justice in Louisville that followed the death of Breonna Taylor.
“I was very excited because there’s now a chance that we could improve what’s going on right now,” she said. “It’s a little out of control, especially with police and them having guns and pepper spraying people for no reason.”
Kassidy is hopeful that Harris will make addressing police brutality a priority.
“She is a Black woman, so she might have been through what’s going on right now in the past…So she knows how it feels, and so she could put an end to it,” she said.
Kassidy’s mother, Angela Thompson, said Kamala Harris’ election means a lot to her as a mother of a Black daughter.
“For me it’s just another moment for me to be able to boost her up to be able to say, ‘Look Kassidy, here’s a woman…she worked her way up. Nothing was handed to her but she worked hard, and now she’s the Vice President-elect of the United States,” Thompson said.
Both mothers, Angela and Aneesha, say it’s powerful for their daughters to have a Vice President-elect who looks like them.