Inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris holds significant meaning for Pittsburgh girls
On Jan. 20, there was a historic passage in American history – the first woman to be inaugurated to federal office, as well as the first African American and South Asian American Vice President. That moment meant a lot to women across the United States.
“I witnessed my mom cry on Inauguration Day,” says Marcia Hill of Penn Hills, “because she used to talk about her grandparents would tell her stories about growing up segregated.”
Hill is a high school sophomore who’s African American, and she says she is learning the significance of Kamala Harris’s election as Vice President of the United States. She and Antara Cleetus, who’s Indian American and a high school senior from Upper St. Clair, say it makes a difference to see someone who looks like you in leadership.
Cleetus says it gives her, “The smallest shimmer of hope, where you’re kind of like, that could be me someday.”
Nine-year-old Caitlynn Covington says, “I think it is really cool because it means girls can do anything.”
Her mom, Heather Hopson, feels Harris’s position will make a big difference for future generations.
“Representation matters so much because we’re actually seeing a turn of the tide, seeing more equity and just for the future for my daughter,“ she says.
Representation does matter because it’s the voice in the room.
“A lot of these guys making decisions about women’s bodies, women’s health care, but kind of having an actual woman in office, the power that I feel (Harris) holds (is significant),” Cleetus says.
Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation headquartered in Pittsburgh, says, “It’s not just about feeling represented. It’s about being represented. And that (Vice President Harris) can bring that life experience to the table.”
The Women and Girls Foundation takes girls to Washington, D.C. to learn about government. Arnet thinks Harris’s election will spur more women and women of color into public office and leadership.
Her own great grandmother fought for women just to have the right to vote.
“I think it’s exciting that we are taking a moment to actually realize how historic this moment is. It’s a long time coming,” Arnet says.
The girls I talked to say they believe they’ll see the first female president of the United State in the near future.