VP Kamala Harris' historic rise inspires local communities of color

Jan 21, 2021

Credit Associated Press

The American public is saying it more and more: Representation is important. For many, a prime example lies in the 2021 Presidential Inauguration as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage. For 14-year-old Taniya Patel in West Michigan, the moment was “relieving.”

“Things that happened this year is just crazy during Black Lives Matter and stuff, and it’s just nice to have a person that’s colored be in the White House and having some type of charge in it and having some type of opinion," Patel said.

The eighth grader is of Indian descent and said she's no stranger to issues minorities face in the United States. While Patel is proud to have two immigrant parents, she said there’s a "confusion" that comes with being a second-generation American.

“It’s honestly very confusing, because my parents wanted me to be connected to my roots and be more Indian, and then I have my friends and they’re mostly White people and they’re like, 'you should do this, you should do that'…It’s just so hard because you have to be in both," she said.

Patel says seeing Vice President Harris, a woman whose parents immigrated from Jamaica and India, shatter the glass ceiling is a moment of pride and inspiration during a difficult past year.

“It makes me proud I guess in a way…to know that she comes from the same background and the same roots as we do,” Patel said, adding that people on both sides of the aisle should be encouraged by the historic moment, "I feel like both parties should be proud of that. No matter what you guys believe in, it’s still amazing to know that there’s a person, a female representing other females."

Patel said she doesn’t have interest in a political career of her own but added that this election cycle marked a time of realization in her beliefs and her own power.

"If I need to prove myself, I’m going to prove myself like honestly if someone’s doubting me, I’m going to do the complete opposite of what they’re doing," she said, adding Harris' power is "so inspiring."