California Senator Kamala Harris made history as the first African-American and South Asian woman to accept a spot on a major US party’s presidential ticket as she formally accepted her nomination as the Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential candidate on Wednesday.
Invoking powerful memories of her mother, “the most important person” in her life, Harris in her acceptance speech at the ongoing Democraic National Convention (DNC) said, “Oh how I wish she was here tonight, but I know she’s looking down on me tonight”.
Kamala Harris’ mother Shyamala Gopalan, from Tamil Nadu, India, died more than a decade ago but still remains a powerful force in the Senator’s life. Gopalan found repeated mention in one of the most important speeches of the California Senator’s political life.
Dressed in a deep burgundy coloured pantsuit, Harris made her case to a national audience on a night filled with rockstar candidates including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, incumbent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Representative Gabby Giffords.
Harris spoke about the values her mother taught her: “To walk by faith, and not by sight, and to a vision passed on through generations of Americans, one that Joe Biden shares.”
She further said her mother taught her that service to others gives life purpose and meaning.
“It is truly an honour to be speaking with you. That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me. Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all,” ABC News quoted Kamala Harris as saying.
Harris’ acceptance came two days after former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday was formally nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidate to take on President Donald Trump in the November 3 election.
On Wednesday, she also Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to condemn President Donald Trump’s profound “failure” as a leader.
Harris accused Trump of turning “our tragedies into political weapons” and urged Americans to vote for Joe Biden, “a president who will bring all of us together.”
“Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” the former California prosecutor charged in her acceptance speech.
“We’re at an inflection point.”
Shortly before Kamala Harris spoke, America’s first black president, Barack Obama, delivered his own condemnation of Trump and appeal for Biden’s election.
Obama said that on handing over the White House to Trump in 2017, he thought the Republican “might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.”
“But he never did,” Obama said.
As a result, Trump has left America’s “worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.
Trump responded by telling reporters that Obama had been “a terrible president.”
Obama spoke two days after his wife, Michelle Obama, opened the convention with a scathing takedown of Trump as the “wrong president for the country”.
The quadrennial event began on Monday and will end on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden will give his acceptance speech on Thursday night.
In an unprecedented roll call vote that took place entirely online due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all 50 states and seven territories announced their vote tallies that cemented Biden’s role as the party flag-bearer on Tuesday.
In a historic move that marked a breakthrough for Indian Americans in US politics, Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden selected Kamala Devi Harris as the nominee for vice president.
(With agency inputs)