Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris is no stranger to breaking ceilings, and perhaps has long been accustomed to being one of the few (if not only) Black woman in the spaces she occupies, including the United States Senate and being the first Black person, first person of Indian descent and the first woman to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination.
While speaking at the ESSENCE virtual town hall Sister to Sister on Wednesday evening, Harris shared with the audience some of the very tips that she gives the young women she mentors when, more likely than not, they end up too being the “first” or one of the “few” in any particular space.
“So many of the young women I mentor I tell them… ‘there will be many times in your life when you will be the only one that looks like you that has had your experience in the room,'” Harris said. “And what I say to them is ‘don’t you ever let anybody make you feel alone.'”
“‘Because you must remember when you walk in that room, we are all in that room with you,'” Harris continued with her empowering advice. “‘And you are carrying our voice with you. So shoulders back, chin up, because your voice matters and you will never be alone.'”
Harris acknowledged that her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, often told her that though she might be the first to make sure that she wasn’t the last. But even through “each one, pull one,” Harris emphasized, it is also about supporting one another to know that we are not alone.
Of course, Harris, who is on the ticket for the 2020 elections, couldn’t pass up a chance to also encourage people to vote, reminding us about how precious and important our vote is.
“What I will present as a question to all of the leaders on this call is this: Why do you think they don’t want us to vote? Why are they trying to stop us from voting, or turn us off from voting,” Harris said. “I think we all know the answer. It’s beause they know when we vote, things change. When we vote, we have the ability through our voice connected with our vote to say we are present, we matter, we will be seen, we will be heard and you will be accountable to us.”
“I just want to remind everybody that elections matter. This is probably one of the most important elections of our lifetime,” Harris added. “There is a clear difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. So Iurge everyone to come up with a plan to vote…and be sure to vote.”