VP-elect Kamala Harris makes history as first Black, South Asian vice president

It was Martin Luther King Day 2019 when Sen. Kamala Harris first announced her campaign to run for president. Two years later, she is on the verge of taking one of the nation’s highest offices, becoming the country’s first Black, South Asian and female vice president.
As part of preparing to take on the role, Harris resigned her Senate seat Monday morning.
“Of course, I’m not saying goodbye. In many ways, I’m saying hello as your vice president,” Harris said in a video.
Harris’ achievement is a milestone that many in New Jersey are celebrating.
“It really couldn’t have been timed better,” says Jeannine LaRue, of Kaufman Zita Group.
LaRue is a Democratic activist and leader on women’s issues. On Inauguration Day, she’ll join a Zoom with friends including Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver – the first Black woman in that position – and 300 women statewide to celebrate the day.
“It’s so historic and so amazing. I can’t wait to see what the president-elect has put together for his program,” LaRue says. “Will I cry? I’ve been crying a lot since November. Yes, I will cry again. And I’m trying to participate in as many of these virtual celebrations. There are so many of them, occurring between today and Wednesday. It’s going to be magnificent.”
LaRue will also be celebrating Harris’ South Asian ancestry. The vice president-elect’s mother first came to the U.S. from India in 1958, six years before Harris was born.
“I’m so excited about immigration. That the daughter of an immigrant will have her right hand up in the air to be inaugurated as the vice president of the United States of America,” says LaRue.
But LaRue says that she admits that hatred – like what was on display during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 – will be focused on Harris and President-Elect Joe Biden.
“There will be a lot of people of color, women and men holding their breath like we did with Barack Obama. Holding our breath for the next four years that she is protected, that she is safe,” LaRue says. But LaRue says that she is still celebrating and thinks Harris will bring a message of an America united around the world.
"I think also with the fact that she’s the child of an immigrant, she hears people. She understands it, she’s lived this. I believe that Wednesday is going to be a calming effect all over the world,” LaRue says.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has been appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill Harris’ seat in the Senate.