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The moment she became Joe Biden's vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris made history. Harris is the first Black woman and the first Asian American to be nominated as vice president for a major political party. And she's well prepared to tackle the issues that matter most, should the Biden and Harris ticket win the presidential election in November: During both her time as attorney general and Senator in California, she's advocated for securing rights and protections for DREAMERs, has challenged rampant racism head-on, worked to safeguard a woman's right to choose, and so much more (learn more about where she stands on specific issues, including education, (opens in new tab)immigration, (opens in new tab) gun control, (opens in new tab) and healthcare (opens in new tab)). Though there are many to choose from, ahead we rounded up our top 12 inspiring quotes spoken (or in some cases, tweeted!) by Senator Kamala Harris.
On Fighting Injustice
I've fought for children, and survivors of sexual assault. I've fought against transnational gangs. I took on the biggest banks, and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges. I know a predator when I see one. —VP Acceptance Speech, DNC, August 20, 2020. (opens in new tab)
This virus has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other—and how we treat each other. And let's be clear—there is no vaccine for racism. We've gotta do the work. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. For the lives of too many others to name. For our children. For all of us. —VP Acceptance Speech, DNC, August 20, 2020. (opens in new tab)
We cannot tolerate a perspective that is about going backward and not understanding women have agency. Women have value. Women have authority to make decisions about their own lives and their own bodies. —MSNBC Town Hall, May 28, 2019 (opens in new tab)
So yes, we have good people on both sides of the aisle. And I say we must measure up to our words and fight for our ideals because the critical hour is upon us. –Maiden speech on the Senate floor, February 16, 2017 (opens in new tab)
On Race and Racism
On the issue of race I couldn’t agree more that this is an issue that is still not being talked about truthfully and honestly. There is not a black man I know, be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who has not been the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination. Growing up my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents said couldn’t play with us because we were Black.
–The first Democratic debate, June 27, 2019 (opens in new tab)
Let’s speak the truth: People are protesting because Black people have been treated as less than human in America. Because our country has never fully addressed the systemic racism that has plagued our country since its earliest days. It is the duty of every American to fix. No longer can some wait on the sidelines, hoping for incremental change. In times like this, silence is complicity.
—Cosmopolitan.com, June 4, 2020 (opens in new tab)
On Using Your Voice
What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful and your voice matters. You're going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you've had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on. Cheering your voice. And just so proud of you. So you use that voice and be strong. —Marie Claire, February 21, 2019 (opens in new tab)
On Empowering Women
Here’s the truth people need to understand: To tackle the challenges of the twenty-first century, we must empower women and families. If we do not lift up women and families, everyone will fall short. —National Partnership for Women and Families Gala, June 15, 2017 (opens in new tab)
On Advice From Her Mother
My mother used to have a saying, and she would say to me: Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last.—CNN Town Hall, January 28, 2019 (opens in new tab)
Our unity is our strength, and our diversity is our power. We reject the myth of “us” vs. “them.” We are in this together. —Twitter, June 21, 2016 (opens in new tab)
A patriot is not someone who condones the conduct of our country whatever it does. It is someone who fights every day for the ideals of the country, whatever it takes. ― In her book The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, published January 8, 2019 (opens in new tab)
On What Gives Her Hope
Communities—and in particular the black community—have been shouting and crying, mothers over their dead children’s bodies, been crying in deep pain about these things. But people turned a blind eye or they didn’t believe it or they didn’t want to believe it. But now, because of the smartphone, America and the world are seeing in vivid detail the brutality that communities have known for generations.
You can’t deny. You can’t look away. It’s there. I do believe people are seeing the injustice of it all and are prepared to take action in a way that we’ve not seen before. And that gives me hope. —New York Times Interview, June 10, 2020 (opens in new tab)
Megan DiTrolio is the editor of features and special projects at Marie Claire, where she oversees all career coverage and writes and edits stories on women’s issues, politics, cultural trends, and more. In addition to editing feature stories, she programs Marie Claire’s annual Power Trip conference and Marie Claire’s Getting Down To Business Instagram Live franchise.
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