'I will not be the last': Trailblazer Kamala Harris gives inspiring speech at Joe Biden victory rally

Ms Harris will become not only the first woman to serve as Vice President but the first African American and South Asian American to hold the role.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks at a Joe Biden victory rally.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks at a Joe Biden victory rally. Source: AP

Kamala Harris, the trailblazing Vice President-elect of the United States, delivered an inspirational message in her first speech since Joe Biden was declared the country's incoming president. 

Ms Harris will become not only the first woman to serve as Vice President but the first African American and South Asian American to hold the role.

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"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last," Ms Harris said in her speech.

"Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message. Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction," she said. 

Ms Harris took the stage in Wilmington, Delaware in a white suit in honour of the women's suffragist movement to the sounds of Mary J. Blige.

She opened immediately by hailing John Lewis, the civil rights icon turned congressman who died in July - and whose state of Georgia startled pundits with its sharp swing in Tuesday's election toward their Democratic Party.



"When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America," she said.

Ms Harris dedicated the victory to her deceased mother, who came to the US from India at the age of 19.

"Maybe she didn't quite imagine this moment," Ms Harris said.

"But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. 

"So I'm thinking about her and about the generations of women - Black Women, Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation's history who have paved the way for this moment tonight."



Ms Harris has previously spoken publicly about the bond she shared with her late mother - who was born in Chennai in India and moved to the US to start a doctoral program at UC Berkeley when she was 19. 

"My mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was the greatest source of inspiration in my life," Ms Harris said in a video posted on Twitter earlier this year. 

"She taught my sister Maya and me the importance of hard work and to believe in our power to right what is wrong."

Ms Harris vowed to fight to "root out systematic racism" but, like Mr Biden, made a broad appeal to unity, saying that Americans "have elected a president who represents the best in us."

The California senator's speech was in itself a sign of the prominent role that she has been given by Mr Biden, with newly elected presidents historically keeping the spotlight on themselves rather than sharing the podium with their number twos.

Ms Harris was the first black female attorney-general of California, then the first woman of South Asian heritage elected to the US Senate. 

Former first lady Michelle Obama said she was “beyond thrilled” that Mr Biden and Ms Harris “are headed to restore some dignity, competence, and heart at the White House”. 

“The voters have spoken,” said 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “It's a history-making ticket, a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America.”

Additional reporting by AFP.


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3 min read
Published 8 November 2020 at 1:12pm
By SBS News
Source: SBS

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