I woke up to a new day, November 7, 2020. I finished my morning devotional around 8 a.m., and walked out of my room to hear my younger sister, Ariana, yelling, “Mister Rogers is the new president!”
I knew what she meant, so I joined my family in the living room to watch as the news broke in cities like Washington, New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia. I watched Americans flood the streets in celebration, and protest.
Celebrators carried signs proclaiming the Biden-Harris victory, excited that the incumbent president Donald J. Trump would serve only one term. Conversely, angry protesters gathered to express their belief that the election was being stolen from them.
Whether fearful about the final outcome of the election or confident of victory, I witnessed the emotional camaraderie shared by different people, all Americans.
People were excited for a lot of reasons. For many, they saw the country approaching a new, progressive chapter, quite opposite to the leadership of President Trump, with Joseph R. Biden as the new president.
In addition, women and young girls were experiencing the remarkable history made by the Vice President-Elect, Senator Kamala Harris. She represents the first in many areas--the first woman, first African American, first Indian American, and first biracial Vice President of the United States of America.
While this was a victory for people of color, it was a monumental day for women and girls. Not only will Senator Harris be the first woman of color to hold this position, her winning vice president puts the presidency that much closer for a woman.
I thought about both of my biracial grandmothers, one of whom, like Harris, is of Black and Indian heritage. I thought about my aunt and our conversations about history, about how our society is affected by racism and the importance of voting. I thought about my siblings, and my friends of various races who have been inspired by Harrises’ achievements. My mom told me, in that moment she felt proud to be an American.
My eyes barely left the screen as I watched Harris deliver her speech that night in Wilmington, Delaware. I listened as if she was speaking directly to me, a sixteen-year old girl with dreams of achieving greatness. When Harris claimed, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” I was inspired. I hoped I was not the only young woman who received that speech personally.
I hope women who did not support the Biden-Harris campaign can still feel a sense of pride in Harris becoming the vice-president. Her victory paves the way for other women. I believe it even paves the way for men of color.
This is what America should look like. Our government and leadership positions should reflect the people. We still have a road to go in order to better represent women and other marginalized groups, including independent political parties, religious groups, cultural and ethnic groups, the LGBTQ community and the disabled. Still, this is a great leap for our society.
Representation boosts our spirits. It gives us assurance that we too can accomplish what seems to be impossible. It gives us pride in who we are when, at times, society can leave us feeling less than worthy. It gives us hope that life may become better for people who look like us. Knowing that there is someone with a seat at the table, motivates us to follow our dreams and write stories with new heroes. Let’s have more moments like these, America. Let’s embrace a new day.
About Analisa Anderson:
Analisa Anderson is a high school student from San Diego. She is a member of the National Honor Society and works with peers to address voting issues in the United States. She recently founded a group called Her Mind, an empowerment collective where members discuss female pioneers and social issues. In addition to history and politics, Anderson enjoys acting, tap dancing, writing songs and drawing.