No matter what your beliefs or political affiliation, history demands that we pause for a moment and recognize the significance of Kamala Harris’ selection as the presumptive Democratic vice presidential candidate, and the first Black woman, and first Asian American woman to run for this seat on a major party ticket.
On social media, people are reacting and connected to various aspects of her intersecting identities. The Indian-American community finds connection through her mother, the late Shyamala, Gopalan, a breast cancer researcher and civil rights activist from Tamil Nadu, India who finished her PhD at the age of 25! My Jamaican and other Caribbean Americans react to the heritage of her father, also an eminent scholar from Orange Hill in Brown’s Town, St. Ann in Jamaica.
Others in the Historically Black College and University community hail the fact that she is a proud Bison from Howard University, (side eye from the Morgan State graduate penning this piece). The point is that she represents many things to many people, and that is in essence, the significance of this moment.
For centuries, the leaders of this land have reflected a sliver of who are as a nation. Their lived experience was not mine. Their truth and perspective, no matter how open, could not encompass even a fraction of the broad realities rooted in our multi-cultural society.
For me, as a Jamaican-American lawyer, who also graduated from an HBCU, I see myself in her. That familiar Jamaican admonition “…memba weh yu cum fram” that resonated with her father Donald during his childhood in Aenon Town and Orange Hill, also echoes through my history, along with the follow up comment… “an ooh yu represent.” Even without all of these commonalities, I appreciate what she represents to all of us, a vision of what America is and should be.