Indian African American senator adds another first to string of historic feats.
Kamala Harris scripted history yet again as she became the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with a trio of party’s stars projecting them as their best hope to end the divisive presidency of Donald Trump.
The first Black woman and the first South Asian American to appear on a major-party ticket, Harris accepted the nomination virtually on the third night of the virtual Democratic National convention Wednesday.
“We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work,” said the daughter of an Indian cancer researcher mother and Jamaican economic professor speaking from Wilmington, Delaware.
“A president who will bring all of us together — Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want,” she said focusing on the theme of inclusivity after four years of Trump’s divisive politics.
Biden joined Harris on the stage after she accepted the nomination.
Introducing herself to the nation, Harris portrayed her story, as the daughter of immigrants from two worlds far apart who can resonate with all Americans.
Under Trump’s presidency, many Americans feel adrift in the “constant chaos,” alone because of the President’s “callousness” and afraid of “the incompetence,” Harris said.
Three generations of women — Harris’ sister Maya Harris, her niece Meena Harris, and her stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff — officially nominated her virtually.
“I love you, I admire you, I am so proud of you. Even though mommy is not here to see her first daughter step into history, the entire nation will see in your strength, your integrity, your intelligence, and your optimism the values that she raised us with,” Maya said.
“We love you, mamala. We are so proud of you, auntie. You mean the world to us, Kamala. And we could not be more excited to share you with the world. As the next vice president of the United States,” the women said together.
“To me, Kamala Harris restores hope that the ‘American Dream’ that my grandparents immigrated here for can be achieved by an Asian American woman,” said Bianca Shah, a delegate from Maryland at the Democratic National Convention. “To see her nominated for one of the highest levels of office reminds me that even if it is not every day I see representation of my identity and culture in politics, news, and media — it is possible and a change is coming to elevate the voices of Asian Americans.
Shah , an Indian American, said Harris “serves as an inspiration and role model for me and so many others, and motivates me everyday to continue working my hardest to get the Biden/Harris ticket elected.”
Earlier, Harris made a surprise cameo appearance at the opening of the convention to stoke excitement about the historic moment that was to come hours later and stress the importance of voting in the midst of an assault on mail-in-voting by Trump.
The third night’s star studded line up of speakers included America’s first Black president, Barack Obama, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In a blistering indictment of his successor, Obama argued that Trump has shown no interest in “finding common ground,” or “using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends.”
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” Obama said.
Urging voters not to take Trump’s political standing for granted this year, Clinton warned that November cannot be a “woulda coulda shoulda” election.
“Don’t forget: Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take it from me,” Clinton said. “We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”
Describing Trump as ill-equipped to be President, Clinton also said that Kamala Harris would face the same “slings and arrows” she did as a woman running, but that Harris “can handle them all.”
Pelosi argued that Trump’s rhetoric and personal behavior are inextricable from the Republican political agenda.
A historical figure in her own right, Pelosi also touted the increasingly diverse makeup of the House Democratic majority and the record number of women in this Congress’ ranks.
“This month, as America marks the centennial of women finally winning the right to vote, we do so with 105 women in the House,” she said. “Proudly, 90 are Democrats.”
Harris is no stranger to making history. She was the first Black and Indian American woman to represent California in the US Senate.
She became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco’s District Attorney in 2004. Six years later, Harris became the first Black woman to be elected California Attorney General.
AAPI rejoices: The nation’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Black communities celebrated the ground-breaking nomination of Harris.
“Kamala Harris is a groundbreaker in so many ways, but it is her place in history as the first African American and AAPI candidate to reach such political heights that resonates deeply in our hearts,” said Bel Leong-Hong, chair of the DNC’s AAPI Caucus, in a statement. “I’ve long said—including to Kamala herself—that in all these years of organizing and engagement, my dream was to see an AAPI on the Presidential ticket in my lifetime. Tonight is a night of celebration, for me and for AAPIs everywhere—confirming, once and for all, our place at the tables where our collective fortunes are determined.”
“Our AAPI community is excited to elect Kamala Harris as Vice President and Joe Biden as the next President of the United States,” said a statement issued by the group Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Biden. “Over the last decade, there has been a surge in AAPI political leadership and participation. We are excited to continue to engage AAPIs from across the country in order to elect the Biden-Harris ticket. Tonight’s historic nomination of Kamala Harris to be Vice President of the United States makes her the first-ever Asian American to be selected for that role.”