Kamala Harris inspires Michigan women on Inauguration Day

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The United States will swear in its first woman vice president, Kamala Harris, on Wednesday.

Harris is not only going to be the country’s first female vice president; she’s also the first woman of color to hold such high office. This is showing other women who identify with her that anything is possible.

“It literally brings tears to my eyes. I’m going to try to hide, fight the tears just talking about it,” said Graci Harkema, the owner of Graci LLC, an equity and inclusion consulting firm based in Grand Rapids. “It doesn’t mean the divide between Republicans and Democrats. To me, it means that there’s an opportunity.”

Harkema was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and moved to the United States at a young age.

“Seeing her parents’ journey as immigrants and me being an immigrant myself makes me realize that there’s hope, that this is just the beginning,” Harkema said. “We’re going to see more women. We’re going to see more people of color. We’re going to see more immigrants in these leadership roles and holding power instead of having power held over them.”

State Rep. Sarah Anthony, who represents parts of Lansing, is a member of the same historically Black sorority as Harris. She says this monumental moment shows others to follow their dreams.

“For so long, we have not seen Black and brown women in positions of power,” Anthony said. “To see a woman like Kamala Harris ascend to the vice presidency is just inspiring.”

These women hope this pushes more people to not give up and fight for what they believe in.

“We shouldn’t have to tell our younger generations that they can’t just because of the identities that they are born in. We should tell them that they can because that’s what their passion is fueled to do,” Harkema said.

Harkema and Anthony also say that for people to be able to govern a country, the United States needs leaders who are representative of everyone. They believe Harris taking office is a big step in the right direction.

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