The results of this year’s presidential election have certified that Senator Kamala Harris will soon become the next vice president of the United States. Harris was elected as the very first female, Black and South Asian-American candidate to become vice president and it comes as a shock to a nation that has only seen men hold this position of power.
With the varying reactions of President Trump losing his re-election campaign, it was easy for most people to disregard the observation of Harris’ milestone. However, we must not ignore the major barriers that Senator Harris has broken through. Since the role of vice president was established in 1789, we have never seen a woman in the position. With women holding the majority population in the United States it is astonishing that it has taken this long for a woman to finally become elected as VP.
Although some may see Harris as any other vice president-elect, her accomplishment will forever leave an impact on diversity and representation within federal government. According to an article from the Partnership for Public Service, “Our nation is home to more than 330 million people of varying ethnic, cultural, societal, political, religious, geographic, economic and educational backgrounds and identities.” After this election, these diverse populations are now just one step closer to seeing themselves represented in their country’s leadership.
The vice president-elect also brings hope for the inclusion of diverse perspectives in our country’s next presidential cabinet. According to PwC’s 2019 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, “The majority of respondents to the 2019 director survey say it brings unique perspectives (94 percent), enhances board performance (87 percent), and improves relationships with investors (84 percent).”
It is commonly agreed that diversifying teams in a work setting is bound to create a productive and successful work environment. So, Harris will soon have the opportunity to use her position, personal experiences and knowledge to improve our next administration by reflecting the needs of diverse communities and minority populations in the United States.
Looking at Harris' personal impact on the country, vice president-elect's win normalizes BIPOC leaders within our government from local to federal levels. Atithi Multani, a freshman undeclared sciences major at LMU, expressed that "seeing a woman of color, especially another Asian, makes my voice feel heard and makes me feel seen. I think this is a big [feat] for women and women of color, especially when it comes to representation."
Additionally, Harris will forever influence the way that the next generation participates in future elections and civic engagement.
Bianca Valentin, a freshman international relations major, said, “I think her appointment will also encourage more people of color to run for office or get politically involved because again, her election to the position has made so many firsts.”
In a time where our country is experiencing large amounts of division, Harris represents a future that condemns xenophobia, racism and sexism and, most importantly, appreciates the equality of people who hold diverse backgrounds and identities. As Valentin mentioned, "diversity and inclusion are needed and, her appointment was the statement that no position is solely for a white man."
As we look forward to Harris’ future work as vice president it is extremely important that she upholds the promises she made throughout her campaign. Even though the election is over, our voices and criticism of our country’s leadership still matter. All in all, we hope that the newfound diversity in our soon-to-be leadership will reflect the needs of the many diverse communities that make up our nation.
This is the opinion of Emilia Cordova, a freshman journalism major from Hawthorne, California. Email comments to email@example.com. Follow and tweet comments to @LALoyolan on Twitter, and like the Loyolan on Facebook.