It is always tough to be the first. To be the trailblazer. To scale the mountaintop. To be the first to open the door. To shatter the glass ceiling. But for Senator Kamala Devi Harris of California, like so many amazing Black and brown women before her — Sojourner, Harriet, Ida, Rosa, Shirley, and Barbara — has been doing it her entire life.
When she announced her run for the Presidency in January 2019, she drew the largest crowd of all her rivals yet she did not have the backing of her own state’s senior senator, a woman she admires, Senator Dianne Feinstein. She was told time and time again in her life, “wait your turn.” Or “it’s not yet your time.” Or “you can’t win.” Yet, like her forebears, she persisted. When she reached for that highest glass ceiling, her sexual past as a young woman with a once revered mentor was splattered about. Her record as a prosecutor questioned. Her loyalty to the Black community questioned. People had doubts about this very attractive, very smart, very capable woman who married late in life, is now a stepmother of two, with no biological children of her own. Like me, and literally legions of professional Black women she is a “PANK”—Professional Aunt No Kids. Like many of us, she sacrificed a lot to get where she is.
Despite it all, she persisted, she kept her head up, and she remained steadfastly resilient as a senator standing up for social justice, economic justice, and equal justice. For families facing evictions and joblessness due to the Covid 19 crisis. For justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless other Black lives lost at the hands of overzealous, seemingly racially biased law enforcement, usually with little or no consequence.