Kamala Harris, the first woman, the first black woman and the first woman of Indian descent to be elected US Vice President, said Saturday that it was "a new day for America" and thanked the Americans for making their voices heard. She spoke about all of this in a short speech Saturday night, hours after she and Joseph R. Biden, Jr. were declared the winners of the 2020 presidential election.
In her historical commentary, Kamala Harris recalled a mother who immigrated to California as a teenager.
“She probably didn’t imagine this moment,” Harris said of her mother, Shyamal Gopalan Harris, “but she deeply believed in America, where such a moment is possible, and therefore I think about her and generations of women - black, Asian, white, Hispanics, Native American women - who, throughout our nation's history, have paved the way for the present. These women fought for equality, freedom and justice for all and sacrificed a lot for this."
Harris referred to "all women who have worked for over a century to secure and protect the right to vote." “Today,” she said, “I reflect on their struggle, their determination, the power of their foresight - to see what can be gotten rid of, beyond what was. I stand on their shoulders."
Introducing the transcript of Ms Harris's speech.
Congressman John Lewis wrote before his death: “Democracy is not a state. This is an action."
He meant that America’s democracy is not self-evident. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it, and never to take it for granted.
And defending our democracy is a struggle. It requires self-sacrifice. It has both joy and progress.
We, the American people, have the strength to build a better future.
And when our democracy itself was on the ballot in this election, America's true soul was at stake, and the whole world was watching, you ushered in a new day for America.
Our campaign staff and volunteers, our exceptional team, thank you for bringing a record number of people to the democratic process and making victory possible.
To all polling station officials across the country who have worked tirelessly to ensure that every vote is counted: our country owes you a debt, it is grateful to you for protecting the integrity of democracy.
To the entire American people, to our entire beautiful country: thank you for doing everything in such a record number to make your voices heard.
I know these have been difficult times, especially the past few months. Grief, sorrow and pain. Anxiety and struggle.
But we saw your courage, fortitude and generosity of spirit.
For four years you have stood up for equality and justice, for our lives, for our planet.
And then you voted. And made it clear which side you are on. You have chosen hope, unity, decency, science and, yes, truth.
You have chosen Joe Biden as the next President of the United States of America.
Joe is a healer. The unifier. A proven and steady hand.
His own experiences of loss give him a sense of purpose, which will help us as a nation to rediscover our sense of purpose.
He is a man with a big heart who loves selflessly. Loves Jill, who is going to be an incredible first lady. Loves Hunter, Ashley, grandchildren and the entire Biden family.
And although I first knew Joe as a vice president, I really got to know him as a father who loved Bo, a dear friend of mine whom we remember here today.
My husband Doug, our children Cole and Ella, my sister Maya, my whole family: I cannot express how much I love you. And we are so grateful to Joe and Jill who welcomed us into their family on this incredible journey.
And to the woman who did the most for me to be here today - my mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who will forever remain in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she may not have even imagined the moment. But she deeply believed in America, where such a moment is possible.
I think of her and the generations of women - black, Asian, white, Hispanic, and Native American - who have paved the way for the present throughout our country's history.
These women have fought and sacrificed so much for equality, freedom and justice for all, including black American women who are too often undeservedly forgotten, but who so often prove that our democracy is based on them.
These women have worked for over a century to ensure and protect the right to vote: 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who voted and thus continued the struggle for the fundamental right to vote and be heard.
Today I reflect on their struggle, determination and the power of their foresight - to see what can be got rid of, after what has been. I stand on their shoulders.
Here's another manifestation of Joe's character: he had the audacity to break down one of the strongest barriers in our country and choose a woman as vice president.
And I will be the first woman in this post, but not the last. Because every little girl who looks at us today sees that this is a land of opportunity.
Children of our country, boys and girls, our country sends you a clear signal: dream about many things, go forward with confidence and see in yourself what no one sees, simply because you have never seen such a thing before. And we will welcome your every step.
To the American people: whoever you vote for, I will strive to be the kind of vice president Joe was for President Obama - loyal, honest, ready to work, and I will wake up every morning with thoughts of you and your families.
Because right now the real work begins. Hard work. Necessary work. Good job. Critical work to save lives and defeat the pandemic. To rebuild our economy so that it works for the benefit of the working people. To eradicate systemic racism in the justice system and society. To combat the climate crisis. For the unification of our country and the healing of the soul of our people.
The road ahead will not be easy.
But America is ready. And Joe and I are ready too.
We have elected a president who represents the best in us. A leader who will be respected by the whole world, whom our children will look up to. A commander-in-chief who will respect our military and protect our country.
President for all Americans.
It is my great honor to introduce the President-elect of the United States of America, Joe Biden.