15 Kamala Harris Quotes That'll Inspire You to Take Charge
Vice President Kamala Harris has never been afraid to speak her mind—and we're all the better for it.
First as San Francisco's District Attorney and California's Attorney General, then as her home state's senator, and now as the Biden administration's second in command, Harris has made her case on the biggest challenges facing our country ("There is no vaccine for racism," she said during her speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention), the most pressing legislative issues (including immigration, voting, and maternal health care), the importance of having women in leadership positions (she credits her mom with raising her and her sister to be strong black women), the beauty of her blended family, (she is the stepmom—or "momala"—to her husband's two kids), and the right way to make potato curry. Not to mention how to correctly pronounce her name (it's comma-la, for the record).
As the history-making politician—she's the first Black woman and first Asian American vice president-elect—crosses the country on the campaign trail, we've rounded up some of her most notable, thought-provoking, and inspiring quotes.
On Breaking Barriers
"My mother would look at me and she’d say, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last,'" Harris said during a lecture at Spelman College, recalling the motto that's guided her life. "That’s why breaking those barriers is worth it. As much as anything else, it is also to create that path for those who will come after us."
"Imperfect though we may be, I believe we are a great country," Harris—the daughter of two immigrant parents—said during her first speech on the Senate floor. "And part of what makes us great are our democratic institutions that protect our fundamental ideals—freedom of religion and the rule of law, protection from discrimination based on national origin, freedom of the press, and a 200 year history as a nation built by immigrants."
"To everyone keeping up the fight, you are doing something," Harris said in her first speech as the Democratic nominee for vice president. "You are the reason I know we are going to bring our country closer to realizing its great promise. But to do it, we'll need to work, organize, and vote like never before, because we need more than a victory on November 3rd. We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be."
"Anyone who claims to be a leader must speak like a leader. That means speaking with integrity and truth," Harris said in an Instagram post.
On Fighting Injustice
"At every step of the way, I've been guided by the words I spoke from the first time I stood in a courtroom: Kamala Harris, For the People," she said during her vice-presidential acceptance speech at the DNC. "I've fought for children, and survivors of sexual assault. I've fought against transnational gangs. I took on the biggest banks, and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges. I know a predator when I see one."
On Race and Racism
"Let's speak the truth: People are protesting because Black people have been treated as less than human in America. Because our country has never fully addressed the systemic racism that has plagued our country since its earliest days. It is the duty of every American to fix. No longer can some wait on the sidelines, hoping for incremental change. In times like this, silence is complicity," she wrote in an op-ed for Cosmopolitan.
On Her Parents' Influence
"My parents would bring me to protests strapped tightly in my stroller, and my mother, Shyamala, raised my sister, Maya, and me to believe that it was up to us and every generation of Americans to keep on marching," Harris said during her first campaign appearance as the Democratic nominee for vice president. "She'd tell us 'Don't sit around and complain about things; do something.' So I did something. I devoted my life to making real the words carved in the United States Supreme Court: Equal justice under law."
On the Black Maternal Health Crisis
"Every day, pregnant women walk into their doctor's office for checkups, advice and treatment; but that experience is very different for Black women," she wrote in a column for Essence. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes and twice as likely to suffer from life-threatening pregnancy-related complications."
"There will be people who say to you, 'You are out of your lane,'" Harris said during the 2020 Black Girls Lead conference. "They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don't you let that burden you."
On Dating Her Husband, Douglas Emhoff
"As a single, professional woman in my forties, and very much in the public eye, dating wasn't easy," Harris, who is now married to Douglas Emhoff, wrote in her 2019 memoir The Truths We Hold. "I knew that if I brought a man with me to an event, people would immediately start to speculate about our relationship. I also knew that single women in politics are viewed differently than single men. We don't get the same latitude when it comes to our social lives."
On Making Tough Decisions
"I'm a career prosecutor," Harris told The New York Times. "I have been trained, and my experience over decades, is to make decisions after a review of the evidence and the facts. And not to jump up with grand gestures before I've done that. Some might interpret that as being cautious. I would tell you that’s just responsible."
On Speaking Up
"What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful and your voice matters," Harris told Marie Claire. "You're going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you've had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on. Cheering your voice. And just so proud of you. So you use that voice and be strong."
On Attending a HBCU
"I became an adult at Howard University," Harris told The Washington Post. "Howard very directly influenced and reinforced—equally important—my sense of being and meaning and reasons for being."
On Being 'Momala'
"I've had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly 'vice president' will be great. But 'Momala' will always be the one that means the most," Harris said after being named the Democratic nominee for vice president.
On America's Racial Reckoning
"But now, because of the smartphone, America and the world are seeing in vivid detail the brutality that communities have known for generations," Harris said in an interview with The New York Times. "You can't deny. You can't look away. It's there. I do believe people are seeing the injustice of it all and are prepared to take action in a way that we've not seen before. And that gives me hope."
View the original story on OprahMag.com: 15 Kamala Harris Quotes That'll Inspire You to Take Charge .