Taking to Instagram to celebrate Kamala Harris’ vice president nomination, Reese Witherspoon reflected on an experience from her childhood to demonstrate why Harris’ achievement is so important for young women of colour across America.
Kamala Harris made history yesterday as she became the first woman of colour to be nominated for the vice president role. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden confirmed the news after swearing that he would announce a woman on his ticket – and it’s safe to say people were excited about his choice.
Harris – the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India – has been a favourite among Democratic voters for a while now. She started off the race as a presidential candidate but dropped out in December, saying she did not have enough funding to continue.
If she is elected, she would also claim the title of the first woman to take on the vice president role – only two other women have ever been nominated, and neither ended up on the winning ticket. The US has never had a female president, either.
But Harris’ nomination isn’t just historically significant – it’s culturally significant, too. As the first woman of colour to be nominated for a vice presidency, Harris’ presence on the campaign trail is a powerful reminder to young women across America that they too can rise to positions of power. And that’s what Reese Witherspoon perfectly articulated in her latest Instagram post.
Taking to Instagram to share a picture of herself when she was younger, Witherspoon explained how Harris’ nomination had led her to reflect on an experience she had in third grade, when the kids in her class laughed at her when she said she wanted to be the US’ first female president.
“I woke up this morning thinking about a moment from my childhood. In the 3rd grade our teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I raised my hand and said ‘I want to be the first female President of the United States of America’,” she wrote. “Some of the kids laughed, but my teacher looked me in the eye and said, ‘I will be the first person to vote for you, Reese’.
“My thoughts today are with women in our country, especially the young Black and Brown girls of our nation, who have watched their mothers hold up their families, their communities, their cities, their states.”
Witherspoon continued: “Now you know that YOU too can work hard, dedicate your life to service and show up every day to help others, and YOU can RISE to become a Vice Presidential nominee in the United States of America. Today is a truly historic day!”
As Witherspoon’s post expertly highlights, representation matters. Seeing a woman of colour rise achieve a vice presidential nomination for the first time isn’t just something people will read about in history books; Harris’ nomination is a reality which will continue to inspire young women across the world for generations, and hopefully lead to more young women pursuing a career in politics – and that’s pretty incredible.