Im Speaking: Kamala Harris
Senator Kamala Harris was recently selected as former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate on August 11, 2020. Before her nomination, she served as a senator for California representing since 2016 serving on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget. Harris also was also the state’s attorney general twice significantly reforming the criminal justice system.
On October 7, 2020, the night of the vice-presidential debate, that took place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Harris made history as the first woman of color to come so close to holding a seat of power serving as an inspiration for so many girls of color. The debate was far less controversial than the Presidential Debate held the previous Tuesday. However, there were a few interruptions and an exchange that has resonated with viewers, in particular women. When Vice President Mike Pence interrupted Harris during a segment focused on the coronavirus response, Harris turned to Pence and said “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.” Although he continued to speak over her, she politely turned, smiled, and stated “I’m speaking.”
Harris' exchange went viral being shared on various platforms. Women were able to recall so many interactions where they were interrupted and not heard from their male counterparts. Not only were women able to look back on interactions, but women were able to see themselves in Harris who was daring in asserting that she was entitled to her time and she too needed to be heard. Pence’s behavior was recognized as misogyny, something that women have experienced in board meetings, the classroom, interviews, and some even in the bedroom. Harris’ declaration resonated the most with black women. She was strong in her statement, uncompromising, and failed to be the next image of an “angry black woman.” Harris rose to the occasion and met every expectation set.
Just as Kamala stood her ground many other black girls are now going to do the same. We will not be silent, rather heard. We are speaking, this is our space, and you will be held accountable for disrespecting the time that is being controlled.