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Hours after being sworn in as the country’s first female, Black, and South Asian-American vice president, Kamala Harris made an appearance during the evening’s Celebrating America television special. Appearing in front of the National Mall, Harris addressed the nation and spoke about the historic nature of this new administration. “In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation,” she said. “It demonstrates who we are. Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be.”
Read her full speech, here:
Good evening. It is my honor to be here, to stand on the shoulders of those who came before, to speak tonight as your vice president. In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are. Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless, and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration. In the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln saw a better future and built it with land grant colleges and the transcontinental railroad. In the middle of the civil rights movement, Dr. King fought for racial justice and economic justice. American aspiration is what drove the women of this nation throughout history to demand equal rights, and the authors of the Bill of Rights to claim freedoms that had rarely been written down before. A great experiment takes great determination, the will to do the work and then the wisdom to keep refining, keep tinkering, keep perfecting. The same determination is being realized in America today. I see it in the scientists who are transforming the future. I see it in the parents who are nurturing generations to come, in the innovators and the educators, in everyone everywhere who is building a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. This, too, is American aspiration. This is what President Joe Biden has called upon us to summon now: The courage to see beyond crisis, to do what is hard, to do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together. Thank you, and may god bless America.
You can also watch the full event, including her speech, here:
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Earlier in the day in Washington D.C., Harris and now-President Joe Biden took their oaths of office surrounded by their families. Harris was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the court, and used two important Bibles, one that belonged to her “second mom” Regina Shelton and one that belonged to her personal hero, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the court.
Back in November, Harris gave her first speech as vice president-elect and reflected on her monumental win. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities, and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction. And see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”
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