How Southern can learn from VP Kamala Harris

Sierra Witzman

While it is quite obvious, or should be, that Kamala Harris being voted in as Vice President is a historic moment, it is also an important moment for social change. Not only is Harris a woman, but she is of African American and Asian heritage. 

I have seen some posts on social media saying that some people will not have their children look up to Harris as a positive influence. Why would one not want their child to look up to someone accomplishing something so significant? I understand not agreeing with her policies or agreeing with her political stance but can we for a minute put that aside and reflect on what a momentous occasion this is? 

In all of American history we have had one prior president of color and absolutely zero women in either the vice presidency or presidency of our country. Not to mention, it took years and so much effort for women to be able to get into the House and Senate where women and people of color are still underrepresented. 

Harris represents a large population of people and gives those who may have less hope for their future hope that they too can reach their goals and do more than what society says they can. The American people’s voices deserve to be heard; voices from all people of all backgrounds, and Harris is a step forward in that. 

Women’s voices deserve to be heard, black voices deserve to be heard, each person deserves a chance to have someone who looks like them, has come from similar backgrounds as them, someone who they believe in as a person in power. 

Harris being the Vice President is a huge step forward. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done, especially in local areas where there is still underrepresentation. 

For example, just here at Missouri Southern we have a Board of Governors that is predominantly white with only one person of color. Even in our administration we have no or limited people of color to represent our student population. 

Throughout my time here at Southern I have only had one professor that is a person of color, and I am a graduating senior. Granted, my experience is not everyone else’s and I know we do have faculty and staff of color, but there are far fewer people of color that educate us. 

Change won’t just happen overnight. If we want to be represented and we want to see change in our communities, we have to fight for it. We have to want it.