This year, on August 12, 2020, history was made.
I write this letter to you to preserve this moment that has now become etched into my mind. I write this letter to you so that some day, when you are older and have children of your own, you will have a record of exactly how you reacted as a woman with a caramel skin tone like yours gave her first speech as the presumptive candidate for vice president for a major political party.
I write this letter to affirm the notion that Russell Ledet invoked in his viral photograph captioned with the phrase “We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”
You listened to every word. You smiled when she spoke of her childhood. You clapped and cheered when she finished her speech. You were excited to learn that she, too, had a sister who has stood by her side, cheering her on.
Did you fully understand the policy statements that she made in her speech? Nope. Did her partisan rhetoric sway you? Not at all. It wasn’t the words that were said that moved you.
It was what you saw on the screen that mattered: representation. You saw that a woman, who once was a little girl who looked like you, could dream big and achieve that dream. You were witnessing your ancestors’ wildest dreams come true.
The announcement of Senator Kamala Harris, as the first bi-racial female vice presidential nominee for a major political party, is cause for introspection and celebration, regardless of political affiliation.
She is not the first woman to have been nominated for this position. This list also includes Geraldine Ferraro (Democrat Party, 1984) and Sarah Palin (Republican Party, 2008). When these women were nominated, we celebrated the progress that our nation had made. The nomination of Hillary Clinton (Democrat Party, 2016) for President of the United States, was also a significant moment in history.
Please hear me when I say that the historical significance of Senator Harris’ nomination, and hopefully the many more to come, is not a sole reason to vote for a candidate.
You must do your part to fully research a candidate’s positions on issues that are close to your heart, and examine how their goals and plans for the nation align with what you believe is in the best interest of the country. You will not find a candidate who checks every box, but at least make an effort to learn enough to make an informed decision. And, no matter what, be active and vote.
But, in the meantime, celebrate the fact that with Senator Harris’ nomination, you too can aspire to be “your ancestors’ wildest dream.” Dream big, daughters.