Kamala Harris made history at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) as the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president of the United States.
Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States.
Harris is now the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in American government.
Harris has shattered the barrier that has kept women from the highest rungs of power in the US for more than 200 years. She was sworn in Wednesday by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court. Moments before Harris’ swearing in, Lady Gaga sang the national anthem accompanied by the US Marine Corps band. Harris’ oath-taking ceremony was bookended by a performance from Jennifer Lopez, reported IANS.
Dressed in a deep purple dress and coat crafted by Black designers, Harris placed her left hand on two Bibles with deep meaning in her life and political rise as she raised her right hand to swear the oath of office. One of the Bibles belongs to Regina Shelton, a Black woman who was an emotional anchor during Harris’ early years in California. The other Bible belongs to the late civil rights icon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, in a nod to his role in Harris’ choice of Howard University for her graduation and in shaping her thinking to see law as a tool to bring equity.
Marshall also graduated from Howard, a legendary school among historically black universities.
After taking the oath of office, a beaming Harris hugged her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and gave President Biden a fist bump.
ACCORDING to Harris’ official White House website bio, “she was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.”
It states: “Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. She graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
“Vice President Harris and her sister, Maya Harris, were primarily raised and inspired by their mother, Shyamala Gopalan. Gopalan, a breast cancer scientist and pioneer in her own right, received her doctorate the same year Vice President Harris was born.
“Her parents were activists, instilling Vice President Harris with a strong sense of justice. They brought her to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models—ranging from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley—whose work motivated her to become a prosecutor.
“Growing up, Vice President Harris was surrounded by a diverse community and extended family. In 2014, she married Doug Emhoff. They have a large blended family that includes their children, Ella and Cole.
“Throughout her career, the Vice President has been guided by the words she spoke the first time she stood up in court: Kamala Harris, for the people.
“In 1990, Vice President Harris joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. She then served as a managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later was chief of the Division on Children and Families for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.
“She was elected District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In that role, Vice President Harris created a ground-breaking program to provide first-time drug offenders with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find employment. The program was designated as a national model of innovation for law enforcement by the United States Department of Justice.
“In 2010, Vice President Harris was elected California’s Attorney General and oversaw the largest state justice department in the United States. She established the state’s first Bureau of Children’s Justice and instituted several first-of-their-kind reforms that ensured greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.
“As Attorney General, Vice President Harris won a $20 billion settlement for Californians whose homes had been foreclosed on, as well as a $1.1 billion settlement for students and veterans who were taken advantage of by a for-profit education company. She defended the Affordable Care Act in court, enforced environmental law, and was a national leader in the movement for marriage equality.
“In 2017, Vice President Harris was sworn into the United States Senate. In her first speech, she spoke out on behalf of immigrants and refugees who were then under attack. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, she fought for better protections for DREAMers and called for better oversight of substandard conditions at immigrant detention facilities.
“On the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she worked with members of both parties to keep the American people safe from foreign threats and crafted bipartisan legislation to assist in securing American elections. She visited Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan to meet with servicemembers and assess the situation on the ground. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her tenure on the committee, she participated in hearings for two Supreme Court nominees.
“As Senator, Vice President Harris championed legislation to reform cash bail, combat hunger, provide rent relief, improve maternal health care, and address the climate crisis as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Her bipartisan anti-lynching bill passed the Senate in 2018. Her legislation to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities was signed into law, as was her effort to infuse much-needed capital into low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On August 11, 2020, Vice President Harris accepted President Joe Biden’s invitation to become his running mate and help unite the nation. She is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, as was the case with other offices she has held. She is, however, determined not to be the last.”