Kamala Harris makes history as Biden begins transition

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

Crusader Staff Report

Blacks across the country are celebrating President-elect Biden’s victory and the historic achievement of Kamala Harris as the first woman to be elected as U.S. vice president.

As a Howard University graduate, Harris’s ascension has boosted pride and renewed interest in HBCU schools and the Black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, whose headquarters is in Chicago on Stony Island in Woodlawn.

Some HBCU alumni showed up Saturday in Wilmington, Delaware to hear Harris give her speech on a massive stage in the parking lot of a shopping center.

In her 10-minute speech, Harris mentioned the late Congressman John Lewis when talking about American Democracy.

“I know times have been challenging in the past several months. The grief, the pain, the worries, and the struggles. But we’ve also witnessed your courage, your resilience, and the generosity of your spirit.”

Harris talked about her mother from India, Shyamala Gopalan, a biomedical scientist who died in 2009.

“She believed so deeply in America, where a moment like this is possible. And so I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, native American women who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight.

“And what a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and select a woman as his vice president. But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

Harris’ journey to the White House began when Black voters saved Biden’s failing presidential campaign in February, turning out in droves to support his failing campaign during the Democratic Primary in South Carolina.

This week, NBC reported after mail-in ballots were counted in large Black cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, Trump’s lead in their respective states began to shrink.

Biden has vowed to create a diverse Cabinet that reflects America today. This week, he tapped Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith to serve as co-chair on his newly formed COVID-19 advisory board.

Nunez-Smith is an Associate Professor at the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Deputy Director for Health Equity Research and Workforce Development for the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, Core Faculty in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and Research Faculty at Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute. She earned a BA from Swarthmore College, an MD from Jefferson Medical College, and an MHS from Yale.

There are reports that Ariel Investments executive Mellody Hobson from Chicago is a contender to become Biden’s Secretary of Commerce or Secretary of Treasury. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and California Congresswoman Karen Bass are in the running to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Susan Rice, who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush is a contender for the same role under Biden.

Questions remain what role prominent South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn will have under Biden’s administration. So far, nothing has been said, months after Clyburn gave a key endorsement that helped bring thousands of Black voters to polls to put Biden over the top.

During his victory speech November 7, Biden did not mention Clyburn’s name, but he did acknowledge the impact of Black voter support throughout his campaign for the White House.

“When this campaign was at its lowest end, the African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back and I’ll have yours,” he said.

With racial tensions and political divisions across the nation, Biden said “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify, who doesn’t see red states or blue states but only the United States.”

Biden continues to move forward in transitioning to his role as president-elect.

President Donald Trump still has not conceded since news outlets called the race November 7. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly support Trump’s defiance and U.S. Attorney General William Barr has authorized federal prosecutors to investigate voter fraud claims despite the lack of evidence.

With 77 million ballots, Biden captured more votes than any presidential candidate in U.S. history.

He flipped Georgia and Pennsylvania in defeating Trump with 290 electoral votes. Trump has vowed to fight the results in court, but legal analysts say his chances of winning are very slim. States face a deadline to certify results and the deadline for the Electoral College to cast its final votes is December 14.

In the race to control the U.S. Senate, the Republicans gained another point Tuesday when Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham conceded to incumbent Senator Thom Tillis. That gave the Republicans a 49-48, advantage. The control of the Senate will be determined by two Senate runoff races in Georgia on January 5.

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