Kamala Harris breaks several barriers for women, people of color

Posted at 10:59 PM, Nov 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 03:43:52-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This week, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris broke several glass ceilings.

100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, Harris will be the first woman to serve as Vice President.

“It’s symbolic that it’s the 100th anniversary, but also symbolic in the fact that it really traces the participation of women in politics as voters," said Dianne Bystrom, President of Nebraska's League of Women Voters.

1920 is often regarded as the year women received the right to vote, but it was not until nearly half a century later in 1965 that a woman of color like Harris could cast a ballot.

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“You can’t divorce our racial identity and our gender identity," explained Ashlei Spivey, Founder of I Be Black Girl. "So we are not women over here, we’re not Black over here. We are Black women, we are Black fems, we are Black girls.”

Spivey says those who fall in this intersection of race and gender are not a group to be ignored.

“Black women have been leading the charge in social movements for as long as they’ve been around," Spivey said. "From traditional civil rights movements to climate change to thinking about maternal health - all of these movements around creating stronger well-being - not only for Black women but community.”

In Omaha, a Black woman will be casting the electoral vote for district two. Precious McKessen has been selected to cast that ballot on December 14.

On a national level, Symone Sanders, an Omaha native, has been in the spotlight, serving as Joe Biden’s senior advisor.

There are some Americans who don’t agree with all of Harris’ policies, but Bystrom believes the move will serve as inspiration for many women in this country whether or not they voted for her.

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“This role modeling effect cuts across party lines, so someone like Kamala Harris will be a source of inspiration to young women in this country," Bystrom said. "To women and young women of a variety of political persuasions, because she will, I think, exemplify what young women can accomplish.”

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