This morning I watched Kamala be sworn in. The first woman. The first black woman they say… but she’s brown too. The first woman of south Asian descent. But what that means to me… I saw someone with my heritage. Black and brown. I felt it on a personal level. In that way it’s different than what I felt when I watched Obama take the oath.
That moment too was profound, emotional, historic in the sense that I will never forget bearing witness to it. Meaningful because of who he is as a person, and what his presidency meant with regards to the civil rights movement, because I always regarded him, and that moment, as a culmination of events that began with Dr. King and Selma, and Malcolm.
“The.VP looks like me” little black girls wearing these T-shirt’s on social media. I want one too!
I want one cause it’s true, and it’s striking to me just how meaningful that is.
Moments can be iconic.
Images of moments in history become iconic.
What makes an occurrence, or an event iconic?
Are things only iconic because of the stories we tell about them? Because of the significance we assign to them?
This moment, I think will be considered iconic because we’ve said over and over; the first woman, the first black woman, the first woman of south Asian descent … but bearing witness to the culmination of what those words truly mean, and how they exist, and come together,in this particular woman, and the fact that they also exist in so many of us, in me… that is where the depth of meaning is felt. That’s why tears came to my eyes every time I saw her today. That look in her eyes, it’s indescribable, people will say she was taking in the historical significance, but what I saw was something else… relief, gratitude to those who’ve paved the way, a nod to Rosa and other icons of the civil rights movement, and something even more personal.
A private conversation, that only the daughter of immigrants could have, and only a daughter of immigrants could understand. Tracing the footsteps of your mother, from her homeland, through the trials and tribulations of forging a new destiny for herself and for you, and even for your children, in a new land. The heartbreak of leaving her family behind, the longing for her culture and customs, for home. The sacrifices made for your education and opportunities. The opportunity to learn another language, to travel, to live free, to be anything you want to be.
That’s what I saw in Kamala’s eyes, as she Took the oath.
That’s what makes it so personal for me.
That’s the reminder, and the motivation to strive for more, to reach higher, to Become.