Publisher’s Note: We asked some of our writing team to describe what the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris meant to them. Here’s what they said:
From Nehemiah D. Frank, Founder & Editor-in-Chief
It was a cold Tuesday morning on January 20th, 2009, when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the presidential oath to, then, Sen. President-elect Barack Obama. I cried.
Yesterday, when then Sen. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was administered the oath of office by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the highest court of the land, I cried again.
I believe the tears streaming down my face were not my own but those of Emma Tassin-Frank, my grandmother, of Gertrude Clark-Cherry, Samara Turk-Jones, Edna Evans-Frank, Lou Ethel-Hill Tassin, my great-grandmothers, and to…Louisa Bontemps, my third-great grandmother who walked from the broken chains of institutional slavery.
I know that yesterday, these resilient women, whose DNA I embody, felt every second of Kamala Harris’ and our Nation’s historic moment.
And like the swearing-in of our first Black President, I’ll never forget the day I witnessed Kamala Harris make history.
I chose to hyphenate my ancestors’ names with the understanding that in doing so, I offer a punch to the face of patriarchy decades and a century and a half late.
Truthfully, I have too many emotional adjectives and phrases to offer regarding the swearing-in of our Nation’s first woman Vice President for this collective editorial.
I am proud that the majority of Americans said, once again, that our collectiveness and ethnic representation in powerful spaces are the nuts and bolts that hold this great country together and are the engine driving us toward our greatest potential.
President Joe Biden’s palliative speech concerning the need to end systemic racism in America soothed my soul. However, I remain aware that 71 million citizens awoke mad as hell this morning. I know it will take lots of love to persuade them into believing that love and empathy for all humankind are what’s best for America and the world. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic but vigilant that protecting democracy for ALL is an endless fight we must never give up.
From Autumn Brown, Managing Editor
When I was 5-years-old my classmate, Jacob Fox, told me that he couldn’t play with me–I had to play with “my kind.” Seeing Kamala Harris sworn in as our nation’s next Vice President signals that “my kind” has arrived.
Though we are the country’s most educated group of people, Black women are often discounted. But all of that changes on January 20, 2020, deemed Kamala Harris Day by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
At her acceptance speech as Vice President-elect Harris, Vice President Harris said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
As I watched Harris sworn in as Madam Vice President, it proves what I knew all along that Black women are extraordinary.
Black women in leadership must be protected at all costs because they dare to keep dreaming, even after the immediacy of a perpetual nightmare like Donald Trump.
Though representation is not everything, it is absolutely something.
Kamala Harris, sworn in as our country’s next Vice-President, is a moment of gratification and recognition and also serves as a symbol of what’s to come and what always has been.
Now, you can find us in the White House; you can find us everywhere.
And you’ll continue to find us everywhere.
From Erika Stone-Burnett, Senior Staff Writer
The 46th inauguration means a new era: the first woman Vice President and person of color to hold such a powerful position.
We now see representation that’s racially reflective of our collective citizenry. This moment was only possible because of Black women—their months and years of civic engagement and organizing, particularly within their own communities.
New voices will have opportunities to speak and be heard, and generations will see role models in government and politics.
Now, we will have time to criticize vapid things, like Joe Biden’s preternaturally white teeth.
The Secretary of State from Georgia and his attorney won’t be front-page news.
This inauguration means that for the first time, a Black woman Vice President will live in the Naval Observatory residence, along with her husband, who is Jewish; their marriage and blended family elevates the modern American family. And while progress may not be as rapid nor as far-reaching as some of us want, Black leadership and Black citizens helped us move the needle forward.
The country has a First Lady who proudly owns her doctorate credential and encourages all women to honor their achievements.
Reverend Rob Lee, the antiracist activist who publicly fights for the removal and destruction of Confederate statues that honor his 4th great uncle, General Robert E. Lee, will provide spiritual counsel to the First family.
Citizens can now exhale or even celebrate for a moment before the work begins again in earnest.
And for me personally, the inauguration means I will have the chance to see my parents for the first time since November 2019.
From Mike Creef, Senior Staff Writer
This inauguration to me is the culmination of living through what has felt like four years of constant nightmares. It feels like we’ve made it to the point in the tunnel where we can see a light source far ahead.
These last four years have cost me more relationships than I ever imagined.
The previous administration summoned all the snakes that were in the grass to show themselves and it created a divide in our nation reminiscent of the Civil War era.
With Biden and Harris stepping into office, I am clinging to the hope that they will do the hard labor necessary to mend that divide. This new administration will not get a free pass. They will be held accountable for their actions as well as their words, just as so many tried to hold the last administration accountable.
Lastly, to see a younger African-American woman hold the second-highest position of power in the world is a long time overdue; nevertheless, I am privileged to have seen it in my lifetime.
This breaks the concrete barrier for my younger sisters, who are all women of color, and shows them that anything is possible. Representation truly matters, and I feel more at ease with the new administration that was sworn in, knowing that they will represent all of us — here at home and to the rest of the World.