Finally, Madame Vice President Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris breaks through three barriers to make history.

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Vice President Kamala Harris waves from her car during her departure from the U.S. Capitol after reviewing the troops and taking her Oath of Office on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Rod Lamkey/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

When Vice President Kamala Harris raised her right hand to take the oath of office, it not only shattered barriers, it raised the hopes of ambitious Black and Brown women everywhere. Harris, the first female, first Black woman and first South Asian woman to serve as vice president boldly brings the White House the style and sass that too many gifted Black women hide, fearing they will be misunderstood.

As Harris made history for being the first, President Joe Biden, 78, made history for being the oldest person elected to the presidential office.

Harris’ journey from the top prosecutor in California to the U.S. Senate and now to the vice presidency likely taught her lessons that will serve her well as the nation’s second-in-command. Because unlike many past vice presidents, Harris is likely to be called upon to work closely with Biden.

But while the presidential office is about the president’s agenda, Harris’ influence on the nation’s culture, particularly women, can’t be overstated.

After all, how cool is it that she met Doug Emhoff, now the “Second Gentleman,” on a blind date (she Googled him first). The couple could co-parent his two children to the degree that they call her “Momala,” Harris revealed in an interview.

Harris’ breakthrough on the political front is an inspiration for young Black and Brown girls. Still, the example she is setting for young Black and Brown women struggling to parent stepchildren under challenging situations is incredible.

Maybe it is the shame of the insurrection attempt of two weeks ago that still hangs over the nation’s capital, but this presidential inauguration struck an emotional chord. Unlike the historic inauguration of Obama in 2009, there were no celebrations or large parades. But there were poignant moments that gave us a glimpse of Harris and Biden’s vulnerability.

For Biden, it was his wife, Dr. Jill Biden’s, comforting hands on his shoulders when he took his seat after giving his impassioned inaugural speech. And for Harris, it was when she and her husband descended the long flight of stairs leading out of the Capitol, when Harris stumbled but quickly recovered and walked confidently into the history books.

There was also that moment when she appeared to shed a single tear during country singer Garth Brooks’ rendition of “Amazing Grace.” It was a reminder that Harris is entering a place that has always been inhabited by white men, except for former President Obama’s historic election in 2008.

Harris will need our prayers and our goodwill.

Harris’ presence was felt as Amanda Gorman, the youngest person to read their poetry at a presidential inauguration, captured the country’s hopes and dreams and those of the Biden-Harris Administration. And when Howard University’s marching band (Harris’ alma mater) led the way for her family to march in the inaugural parade, it honored the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It was a tangible demonstration of the administration’s commitment to inclusiveness.

Just as Biden is now considered the most powerful man globally, Harris, who was unknown to most Americans only four years ago, is the most powerful woman. They are now joined at the hip.

It was comforting to see them together.

They model what we need to see: people from different races, different backgrounds, different generations and different genders — joining forces to take on the challenges this nation is facing.

And while it was Biden’s day, it was Harris who really made us proud.

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