Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

The Cultural Significance of Kamala Harris, First Woman to Become Vice President

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Image credit: Office of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Senator Kamala Harris is making history as the first woman, first black person, first South Asian American, and the first daughter of immigrants to be elected vice president of the United States.

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After four days of counting and contention, this weekend, former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. His running mate Senator Kamala Harris made history as the first woman, first black person, first South Asian American, and the first daughter of immigrants to be elected vice president of the United States.

During her speech Saturday night, Harris talked about her own mother, and what this moment signifies to the millions of mothers, daughters, women and girls across the nation. Stephen Henderson speaks with two women who have thoughts on what this moment means culturally, socially and politically. 

Listen: Reflecting On What A VP Win For Harris Means For Women Everywhere


Olivia Lewis is a reporter and editor for Bridge Detroit. From the perspective of a reporter, Lewis says that “last week was actually emotionally exhausting… It was also really incredible to see such a high turnout and to see so many people come out to support this election… to make sure democracy prevailed.”

As far as the local pushback from some Republican voters at the TCF Center, Lewis says that “when you have a room full of Black people trying to do the work and stopped by another group of people who aren’t even from this area… They didn’t show up in Ann Arbor, they didn’t show up in Lansing, they didn’t show up in Grand Rapids.” On the incident, she adds that ”the people they were yelling at were so many Black and Brown people in Detroit who were doing their jobs, they were doing what they were supposed to be doing… It’s a whole other level of voter intimidation than I’ve ever seen in person.”

dream hampton is a filmmaker, writer and native Detroiter. “Like the majority of Americans, I feel relieved… I’m looking forward to just dull competence, things just running the way they were. Of course, things running the way they were isn’t good enough,” says hampton, who notes that she is looking ”forward to being able to call this administration to the mat. “What we have now is an administration that couldn’t care less.” 

As far as looking at this national political moment through a local lens, she adds that ”I thought about the Detroit suburbs… Harris is very reflective of some of our northern suburbs. My grandfather was a Jamaican immigrant. I think about so much when I think of Kamala Harris.”

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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This post is a part of 2020 Voter Information Center.

2020's federal, state and local elections are unprecedented in many ways, most significantly the expected surge in absentee voting in Michigan due to the coronavirus pandemic. 101.9 WDET is committed to offering trusted, accurate information on voting, ballot access and key issues. 

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