Not every superhero wears a cape and mask or jumps off a skyscraper to help people. The new superhero we call SuperShero has broken the glass ceiling to reach the White House’s highest position. Our SuperShero, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, looks just like us, and she wears a white suit. In her book “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” she narrates superheroes’ qualities in very simple words and debunks the myth that a superhero is a man. Superheroes can be a girl also. She tells children that superheroes protect you, make you feel special and make a difference in the world. They are brave and kind, and they look just like you. She says that superheroes are not fictional characters, and you all have superpowers within you.
Kendall Johnson, 4, once told her mother Kai Johnson, “I can’t be a president because I am a girl.” To that Kai told Kendall, “You can be the president if you want to be.” Kai watched VP-Elect Kamala Harris’ victory speech with her daughters Kendall and Lia, and the young girls jumped with joy and said, “Mommy, she looks like me. I can be a president.” It is a monumental moment in the history of American democracy, and it has already given hope to many young girls and will keep inspiring for years to come. Having a role model that looks like them is critical in building confidence in young girls. If you can see it, you can be it.
Nina Jain, age 19, voted for the first time in this election, and she is ecstatic to see her candidate win. Jain is a third-generation Indian American, and she is glad that a woman will have a prominent voice in policies related to women and young people. Harris’ story resonates with every diverse person regardless of race, gender, ethnicity and religion. It is about breaking the barriers and etching the path for others as a trailblazer.
Harris often talks about her mother, Shyamala Harris, an Indian immigrant. Her mother was a world-renowned breast cancer research scientist but underappreciated and underpaid for being a person of color. Harris says, “When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment, but she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible.” That is the most profound message of hope. Many immigrants come to our country to give their children a better life and make many sacrifices themselves. Shyamala Harris’ courage, perseverance and values have deeply influenced VP-Elect Harris, and she refers to her mother as her first superhero in the book. Her mother told her, “You can be anything if you put your heart in it and try hard.” Harris hugely credits her mother for inspiration and influence in her career and personal life. I have a deep sense of respect for Shyamala, VP-Elect Harris’ very first superhero, for raise her daughters to be proud of their heritage and embrace their multiracial ethnicity.
As we write a new chapter in the history of American democracy, we want to empower, encourage and enable Kendall, Lia and Nina to be ready to take the baton from Harris and be our SuperSheroes.
Check out the video of Kamala Harris reading the book “Superheroes Are Everywhere” or check out the book from your local library.
Rupal Thanawala is managing director at Trident Systems leading business and technology consulting practice, and tech editor for Indianapolis Recorder. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.