This has been an incredibly difficult year, and we still have very tough times ahead. However, as we head into this season of thanks-giving, we owe it to ourselves to take a moment to give thanks, and to celebrate the triumph of Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris.
We also owe it to Kamala, who dared to dream big – who didn’t have the privilege others enjoy and worked twice as hard to get where she is.
We owe it to our parents and grandparents, to all the women and men who came before us that dared to challenge a society that denied Black people their rights, their franchise, their humanity.
But most of all, we owe it to our children, to the next generation of little Black girls and boys, and children of all backgrounds, who deserve to live in a nation that delivers on the promises enshrined in its founding documents.
Kamala spoke to those children directly in her electrifying acceptance speech: “Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.”
That’s the message our little ones – and, frankly, grown-ups – need to take from this moment.
To a former little Black girl like me, who grew up amid the poverty and violence of the projects, the election of Kamala Harris as Vice-President isn’t just an abstract “crack in the glass ceiling.” It’s so much more than that.
It is a vindication of the hard work, tenacity and sacrifice of countless Black women – and many others, but especially Black women – who would not take “No” for an answer. Who would not be boxed in. Who demanded to be seen. Who demanded to be heard.
That is who my friend and mentor Kamala Harris is, and that is what she has accomplished.
By now the Vice-President-Elect’s many “firsts” are well-known: first Black, first female District Attorney of San Francisco; first Black, first female Attorney General of California; first California Senator of mixed-race; first Black, first South Asian, first woman to be elected Vice-President.
But it’s worth reminding ourselves why these firsts are so significant, and why we still have such a long way to go.
When Kamala was elected to the United States Senate, she became just the 10th Black senator in our nation’s history. Only one African American woman – Carol Mosely Braun – had served in that office before Kamala. And now that she’s moving on to the White House, the U.S. Senate is in danger of going down to only two African Americans and ZERO Black Women.
Two percent is not good enough. Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do.
But Kamala Harris has proved that by dreaming big, leading with conviction, and working your tail off, it can be done. We can win these battles. We can change the world.
And that, my friends, is truly cause for celebration, and for giving thanks.
London N. Breed is the 45th Mayor of San Francisco. She is the first African American woman to serve as the City’s Mayor.