• Eden Geddes

The Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

On January 20th, 2021 Joe Biden was sworn into office as President followed by his Vice President Kamala Harris. This is a historic moment for more than just ushering in a new president, as not only is Harris the first female vice president, she is also the first African American and Asian American to be elected in such a high ranking position. 100 years after women gained the right to vote, Harris was elected into office by the people. She has quickly become a symbol of what women can do. Furthermore, she is an inspiration for all young girls who want to pursue a career in politics but have been deterred due to the lack of representation. Finally, it is like a reward for all of the black women across America that have maintained the position of being loyal to the democratic party in recent years.

This was the 59th public inauguration, and the very first to be swearing a woman into office. Harris has reported to have commented on this by saying, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” She is setting the stage for all the generations of women to come, having taken the first steps and making it truly possible for women to be in office. While it was always technically able to happen, it is like the door has officially been opened. Furthermore, Harris being inaugurated is bringing a different perspective into office, which was stated by the U.S. News: “As a Black woman, Harris is expected to bring an important perspective to the national reckoning and civil unrest over systemic racism that swept the country last year, as well as to the Biden administration's plan to eradicate COVID-19 – a pandemic that's disproportionately impacted Black communities.” This made the inauguration not only an important moment in women’s history, but also an important moment in black history.

On a different note, the colors worn by the Vice President and other women in attendance at the inauguration held more significance than one might initially expect. Harris, and others, were wearing purple. This is a direct nod to bipartisanship as shown through the mixture of the two colors, red and blue, that represent the two dominant political parties. Notably also wearing purple on the day of inauguration was Michelle Obama, in respect to the two parties. Additionally, Jill Biden wore the color the day before when she arrived at the Capitol, The designer of her outfit confirming the message by posting “Red + Blue = Purple. This moment is about unity. Not red vs. blue, but all of us coming together as a Nation” on his Instagram story. It has also been seen as a nod to Shirly Chisholm, who was the first black woman to run for president. Chishold used the campaign colors of purple and yellow, making Harris’ continued use of the color purple even more significant as she represents those that came before her.

In other words, this past inauguration was historic in more ways than one. Following an election that held record voting numbers, it was proven that this moment meant a great deal to the American people. Kamala Harris will go down in history as the one to break the glass ceiling for all women to come after her. She is also a prime example that all the work that women and people of color have done before her finally paid off. 100 years after the Women’s Suffrage movement, a woman has finally broken down the walls that have been up for centuries and opened the doors for all of the women to come in the future.

Works Cited

  1. Camera, Lauren. “Kamala Harris Makes History as First Female Vice President.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/news/elections/articles/2021-01-20/kamala-harris-becomes-first-female-vice-president.

  2. Srikanth, Anagha. “Why Did so Many Women Wear Purple to Biden's Inauguration Today?” TheHill, 21 Jan. 2021, thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/arts-culture/535096-why-did-so-many-women-wear-purple-to-bidens.

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