This past week as we waited for the election results felt as long as a year. Amid a pandemic and a year that has felt never-ending, it’s safe to say that everyone has been exhausted. As the results came in, and Vice President Joe Biden became President-Elect, it was beautiful to see people celebrating in the streets. For many people, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have given them hope where there felt like there was none. I also know that many people have been saddened by their victory. Their President and candidate did not win, and they are angry. I hope that they will give Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the chance to do their job, and be the President for everyone not just those who voted for them.
When Joe Biden first chose Kamala Harris to be his running mate, many people were excited. A Black woman could possibly be the Vice President of the United States. I was cautious. I know the country that I call home, and I know how they feel about woman and woman of color. Even though a white man would be President, I didn’t know if they could support a Black woman being second in command. I never thought a Black man would be elected President in my lifetime, but I was proven wrong twice. And here we are four years later, and a Black woman is the Vice-President elect. I am still in a state of shock and disbelief and hope that this doesn’t lead us back to a sense of complacency.
This election had the highest rate of voter turn-out in any election. States that had been red turned blue. Young people excited for the first time to cast their ballot, made their voices heard. In a year filled with protests and marches, people wanted to make sure that our elected officials knew exactly how they felt. Regardless of who you voted for, the real work starts now. It’s easy to make a campaign promise, and to feel elated at the prospect of change and hope, but now is not the time for us to sit back and say it’s over. The issues that this country faced before are still looming in front of us regardless of who sits in the oval office. Systemic racism, income inequality, food deserts, police brutality, reproductive rights, and a slew of other issues will still be here come January 21st, 2021.
So, while I am excited to hear for the first time in this country Madam Vice President, I am cautious. And I hope every citizen gives this administration the chance to prove themselves. If they fall short, then let your voice be heard again in the mid-term elections, in the general elections, at your local municipal meetings, don’t stop. Our elected officials work for us, and if they ever forget that fact it is up to us to remind them. If we couldn’t keep our jobs if the work was unsatisfactory then the same goes for them.
For every single black and brown child but especially every single black and brown girl, I hope to see someone who looks like you in this office inspires you to dream bigger than you ever could. It has been one of our greatest failures as a society, that you are not represented positively. We still have an uphill battle, but hopefully this can be another start.