VP-Elect Harris, History-Maker


Courtesy joebiden.com

In pre-pandemic times, then Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden shared a light moment with then Sen. Kamala Harris. Mr. Biden is being sworn as U.S. President today, with Ms. Harris as Vice President.

Yohangil Nolasco, Op-Ed Editor

Many disturbing events have occurred over the past year leading up to now — a runaway pandemic, deaths of Black civilians at the hands of police, the baseless challenge against our Presidential election results, and, surprisingly, an attack by domestic terrorists on our U.S. Capitol. Many Americans probably feel the way that I do:  ashamed of, infuriated at, and concerned with the lack of leadership during these challenging times. However, we have found a light at the end of this long journey.

The former Democratic U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who many of you may view as a strong, assertive, and determined woman, will make history in our nation alongside President- elect Joe Biden as the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history. This is an historical moment, in 243 years of America’s Independence the U.S. has never had a woman as Vice President. On Wednesday, Inauguration Day, Ms. Harris will be sworn into office as the Vice President of the United States of America. In addition, Ms. Harris will not only be the first female Vice President but the first Black and Asian American Vice President. We all will have the good fortune to say we witnessed this remarkable milestone.

Though her accomplishment gladdens me and many others, I believe that it is long overdue. Ms. Harris is a woman who has acknowledged the need for law enforcement reforms, pledged to offer a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States, and has not been afraid to be the change America needs. Her accomplishments, as a U.S. Senator and California’s Attorney General, and even in her televised debate with Republican Vice President Mike Pence, are astonishing. Ms. Harris has reached a peak that many women have been told they cannot and will not achieve. Ms. Harris has proven the naysayers wrong. 

As a young woman who has elevated goals, I am given great hope and encouragement by this signature event to continue to pursue my dreams. 1/20/21 will not only be the day the first woman achieved the position as Vice President but also, the day in which young girls will watch her inauguration and think: That will be me. It is and will continue to be a date in which we as women will rejoice in the accomplishment of another hard-working and determined woman. While I was too young to vote in this past election, I will be supporting Ms. Harris with my Chucks and pearls.  

In light of this auspicious occasion, I asked some highly accomplished, high-ranking  women at St. Benedict’s Prep to express their emotions on this glorious moment in history. 

Here are their thoughts:

Ms. Michelle Tuorto, Associate Headmaster for Academics: “Some men resented our presence in their enclaves, like in the sciences and engineering, and made it well known. As for women in leadership, I know you’ve heard the same things as me – we’re too emotional, hysterical, and illogical to be in charge, and why have a woman in leadership if she’s just going to go off and have kids anyway?” She continued by explaining, “I say all this to juxtapose what we will witness (Wednesday)  – a Black and South Asian woman installed in the second highest office of the land. She has experienced all of the sexist — and racist, for those women of color– nonsense we’ve experienced. Someone that looks like us has made it.”

Ms. Analisa Branco, Dean of the Girls Prep Division:For every single one of us women who have ever been told we couldn’t do something because we were women, this moment defines us.  Kamala represents all little girls and women of different cultural backgrounds as the first African-Indian American woman to sit as Vice-President.  She represents diversity!  She represents empowerment!  She represents strength! She represents the U.S.!” This all adds up, Ms. Branco added, to one important idea: “Hope for the future – hope that one day a woman will hold the power to sit in the Oval Office and lead our nation.”

Sr. Ann Marie Gass, SSJ, Dean of the Elementary Division: “(Ms. Harris) brings to the table a deeper and broader sense of not just talking about but sharing from an experience so often missed/neglected in our present day situation. Her expertise, intelligence, work ethic, empathy and desire to understand the needs of all people, places her in a position of strength to represent everyone and not just a select few.”