Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris will deliver her acceptance speech on Wednesday as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate to become the first-ever American of Indian and African descent to be nominated by a major party for the top post. Harris, 55, is the first Indian-American to be selected for the second-highest elected office of the United States after that of the president.
She is also the first-ever Black and first-ever African American to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate by a major political party. If elected in the November 3 presidential elections, Harris, whose mother is from India and father from Jamaica, would be the first-ever women vice president of the United States.
Incidentally, her acceptance speech comes a day after the United States commemorated the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment—known as the Susan B Anthony Amendment— of women securing the right to vote.
“It was a monumental victory for equality, for justice, and a monumental victory for America,” US President Donald Trump said at a White House event on this amendment,
“Hundred years ago today the 19th Amendment was ratified, but many Black women and women of colour were unable to exercise their constitutional right for decades,” Harris said in a tweet.
“I would not be the Democratic candidate for Vice President without those who fought and paved the way before me. Vote,” she said. Joe Biden, who has scripted history by nominating Harris as his running mate, said that the US nation was founded on a simple idea: All men—and women—are created equal.
“We’ve never fully lived up to it, but we won’t stop trying. As we mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, let’s make sure we don’t wait another 100 years to fulfil that founding promise,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Trump said at the White House that today, a record-breaking 131 women are serving in Congress. Nearly 70 million women vote in elections.
“Fifty-six per cent of our nation's college students are women. More than 11 million women own successful businesses. In other words, women dominate the United States,” he said.
However, unlike many developing countries like India and Sri Lanka, which gained their independence much later than the US, they elected a woman as a leader decades ago, a development that deprives the United States till date.
In the previous 2016 presidential elections, the former second lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton came within a striking distance in breaking that glass ceiling.
Harris, who has had a stellar career so far beginning as a public prosecutor in California, also from the same Democratic Party is making another shot at breaking the glass ceiling in American politics.
And before she takes the centre-stage of American politics at the virtual convention of the Democratic Party, the stage would be set by speeches of Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and none other than Barack Obama, the former president of the United States.
Four years into her first term as the US Senator from California, Harris who was born in Oakland, emerged as a strong critic of the Trump administration. Many often called her a Trump counterpuncher. The daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, she has known many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco — the first woman and first African-American elected to the position.
She was also the first female African-American to become California’s attorney general. In 2017, she became the second African-American woman to join the Senate, winning the California seat vacated by Senator Barbara Boxer.
Harris announced her presidential bid in January 2019. However, she withdrew from the race by December that year as her poll numbers plummeted. Early this year, she endorsed Biden for president. A week ago, Biden surprised many by selecting Harris as his running mate. “It has been one week since Joe Biden asked me to be his running mate and I could not be more thankful for the outpouring of love and support (husband) Douglas Emhoff and I have seen,” Harris tweeted on Tuesday.