Michaela Stone Cross
January 20, 2021
Pronounce her name how you will, Kamala Devi Harris is now the first woman — not to mention, the first woman of color — to occupy the seat of vice president in American history. Vice President Harris entered the Capitol escorted by the hero from the January 6 insurrection, Eugene Goodman, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff. To the disappointment of some Hindus, Harris swore on two Bibles, one owned by civil rights lawyer and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, another by her “second mom” Regina Shelfton. Harris didn’t even blink as the first Latina member of the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, mispronounced her name (it’s KA-ma-lah).
The inauguration felt like a repudiation of the past administration. Goodman, the Black police officer who diverted the white mob from the nearly defenseless senators, was a prominent figure, and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman wowed the audience, insisting that America was “not broken but simply unfinished.” President Joe Biden, in a speech written by Director of Speechwriting Vinay Reddy, called out the rise of “white supremacy,” “domestic terrorism,” and “nativism,” and demanded an end to the “uncivil war.” The sun came out from behind the clouds just as J Lo was singing a mashup of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful;” near the end, she cried out “Una nación, bajo Dios, indivisible, con libertad y justicia para todos!”