BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Wednesday’s swearing in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris broke down barriers and marked the first time a woman holds the office of Vice President of the country.
Harris, born to a Black father and Indian mother, broke multiple racial barriers being of African-American and Asian-American descent. Harris’ breaking of many glass ceilings gives hope to girls, African and Asian Americans nationwide.
Along with the traditional pomp and circumstance and peaceful transition from one administration to another, this year’s inauguration ceremonies meant more for women and minorities in the United States.
Linda Foster, president of the Bloomington-Normal N.A.A.C.P., said African-Americans have come a long way in the history of this nation.
“I have always believed (in) the possible and the impossible and today is the possible,” Foster said.
Wednesday morning, Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office becoming the first African-American woman, Asian-American woman and woman of any race to hold the office.
First Vice President of the Bloomington-Normal N.A.A.C.P. Dr. Carla Campbell-Jackson said Harris has overcome many obstacles and worked hard to obtain her position of power.
“She has a blended family, was raised by a single-mom, but yet she was able to defy the odds and do great things,” Campbell-Jackson said.
Campbell-Jackson said Harris’ position of power gives girls and boys of all races someone to look up to despite their different backgrounds.
“The fact that she has risen to this powerful role, sends the message that every child can achieve greatness and we have to be willing to lean in and accept and embrace differences,” Campbell-Jackson said.
Wednesday’s ceremonies come just two weeks after pro-Trump domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress confirmed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ victory over former President Donald Trump and former VP Mike Pence.
Dr. Kyle Ciana, an associate professor of history at Illinois State University, said she still can’t believe what she saw unfold. She said both will be talked about in history books for generations to come.
“Today was very powerful. I think that it shows us the peaceful transition of power works in a democracy,” Ciani said.
Foster said for young people and those who feel their time hasn’t come yet, to not give up and always believe anything is possible.
“Continue to strive and forge ahead because you do have support and you do have people who believe in you,” Foster said.
Both Foster and Campbell-Jackson said if it wasn’t for COVID-19, they would have been in Washington for the historic day.
They said while it is a “momentous” day, the country’s fight against systemic racism is just beginning.