Kamala Harris extols mother Shyamala Gopalan for her success

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addresses supporters at party headquarters at the Chase Center on Saturday night in Wilmington, Del. She spoke to the crowd then introduced President-elect Joe Biden. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Toni L. Sandys

In a powerful and emotional victory speech, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris thanked black women in America for being the backbone of democracy and credited her Indian mother for bringing her where she is – the first woman, first black woman, first Indian-American, and first daughter of immigrants to be elected vice president.

In her speech introducing President-elect Joe Biden, she thanked him for having the “audacity” to choose her as his running mate, and for making her and her husband, Second Gentleman-elect Douglas Emhoff, a part of his family.

“We are so grateful to Joe and Jill for welcoming our family into theirs on this incredible journey, and to the woman most responsible for my presence here today … My mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts.”

Kamala Harris, left, with mother Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris, and sister Maya Photo Facebook post March 31, 2014, with the words, “On the last day of #WomensHistoryMonth, I honor the two great women in my life. My mother always told my sister @mayaharris_ and me, “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.”

“When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment, but she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible,” Harris said.

Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Harris in a tweet, saying, “Heartiest congratulations@KamalaHarris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans. I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership.”

Harris in her speech said she was thinking about her mother, “and about the generations of women, Black women. Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight,” Harris said.

Harris credited Black women in particular, because they “are often, too often, overlooked but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”

Democracy, Harris said, was not guaranteed, but rather has to be fought for and protected.

“And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America,” she said.

She thanked voters for coming out in the largest numbers ever in history to vote, “And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth.”

She described Biden as “a healer, a uniter, a tested and steady hand.”

“… while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said, “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities …”

“And to the American people, no matter who you voted for, I will strive to be a vice president like Joe was to president Obama. Loyal, honest and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your family, because now is when the real work begins, the hard work, the necessary work, the good work,” Harris said, listing as priorities, the need to “beat this epidemic. To rebuild our economy so it works for working people. To root out systemic racism in our justice system and society. To combat the climate crisis. To unite our country and heal the soul of our nation.”

 

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