Representation Matters: When not being the last is just as important as being the first

From Shawntal M. Mallory, Esq., Inclusive Communities Board Member and LeadDIVERSITY Advocate
“While I might be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.”- Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris
No matter your political affiliation, we all can agree on the historical significance of a Vice President-elect who provides much-needed and long-overdue representation for so many marginalized and underrepresented identities and demographics.

 

First woman Vice President.

 

First African American Vice President.

 

First Indian American Vice President.

 

First biracial Vice President.

 

First Vice President proudly educated through a historically Black university.

 

First member of a Divine Nine Black Greek letter organization serving in the Vice President position.

 

First Second Gentleman (in her Jewish husband).

 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the epitome of intersectionality. Young, aspiring girls have the unprecedented opportunity to see themselves and their self-image in the highest levels of our country’s leadership and government. As a Black woman attorney myself, I cannot explain how proud I was to see my personally held and beloved identities on display. It is also hard to describe how Kamala Harris’ achievement boosted my own confidence and silenced my own ugly, periodic battle with imposter syndrome. Yes, even with my achievements, I experience imposter syndrome as well.
Mindfully, our duty is to follow her lead and make room for others with marginalized and underrepresented identities while we climb in the ranks. We must create representation where there isn’t any or where only the bare minimum has been established. We must ensure that the inspiration and hope we provide to others who look like us and share our lived experiences is just as important as our individual achievement. Representation matters.
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