-DID YOU KNOW?-
By Tara Yilmaz
Women across the United States have been fighting for equal rights for themselves and others since the dawn of this country’s creation. Undoubtedly, progress has been made but progress is a slow and steady process and women’s fight for equality may continue into the 22nd century.
If the thought of the continuous pursuit of equality exhausts you, then find strength in the pioneering women’s stories we will share throughout Women’s History Month. In this issue, we will highlight the achievements of Vice President Kamala Harris.
→ Did you know Kamala Devi Harris is the first female, person of color, African American,
South Asian, and highest-ranking female official in U.S. history?
According to a Whitehouse.gov quote from 2019, Harris said, “My mother would look at me and she’d say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.’” Harris broke the glass ceiling of women’s achievements, but women like Shirley Chisholm helped to open these doors.
→ Did you know Shirley Anne Chisholm was the second African American in the New York State legislature in 1964? Afterward, Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968, representing New York’s 12th Congressional District. Chisholm then fought against great odds by campaigning to be the first African American to run for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1972.
→ Did you know Vice President Harris’s parents were activists? From a young age, her parents instilled in her a strong sense of justice. Harris’s parents included her in civil rights demonstrations and encouraged her to aspire toward Black role models, such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to become a federal judge.
It was Motley who motivated Harris to become a prosecutor and serve as Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017.
→ Did you know from 2004 to 2010, Harris served as the first person of color elected District Attorney in San Francisco?
In a bitter campaign, Harris defeated two-term District Attorney Terence Hallinan. Harris was a prosecutor for two years in Hallinan’s office, but she defeated her former boss, 56-44 percent.
After having a successful career as a prosecutor and attorney general, Harris pursued a seat in the U.S. Senate. From 2017 to 2021 then Sen. Harris represented California.
In 2020, she ran alongside former Vice President Joe Biden, and Harris was inaugurated.
A century after women fought for the right to vote, there is still work to be done on gender equality.
Women still struggle with navigating careers, the gender pay gap, being respected in the workplace, and still being expected to bear the brunt of the work in raising a family.
Women still must fight on issues around reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence and access to equal opportunities. Many women nationwide continue to honor, protect and defend the rights of women. Vice President Kamala Harris's political success and achievements signal hope for women, particularly women of color, in 2022 and beyond.