BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Women of color in Bakersfield have said that Vice President Elect Kamala Harris’ potential win has shattered the glass ceiling thrice over with her being the first VP Elect in the history of the United States to be female, Black and Indian-American.
For Tahlua Nicole Goosby, local mental health therapist, Harris’ success in public office opened up a realm of possibilities before she even became Vice President Elect of the United States. At one point Goosby even wanted to go to Howard University and become a civil rights lawyer just like Harris.
“I’ve looked up to her for a long time since high school, and what I’ve learned is that it takes time,” Goosby said. “It takes time to get to where you want to be, it takes time to see policy changes and movement within our community, but if you stay the course, if you continue to work hard for the people, you’ll be in places and spaces where you can make change.”
Harris being of South Asian descent has struck a chord with local Indian-American and the first Sikh woman elected to a city council in California and Co-Founder of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, Raji Brar. She said that this was the fulfillment of her immigrant parents' dreams when they moved to this country as well as an example for her 12-year-old adopted daughter.
“For her to look at Kamala Harris and just be like, ‘if she can do it, I can do it,’ it’s so amazing,” Brar said. “I had the opportunity to meet Kamala awhile back and tell her how proud i was of her as an Indian girl. Everybody has the right to dream.”
Meanwhile SHEPower Global Ambassador, Arleana Waller says Harris' election has motivated her to continue her community work.
“I’m relentless. I’m apologetic in my boldness and my power, but i think having this moment in history has fueled me to be able to go to the table and say, ‘let’s look at what just happened. It is Black women who have won this election,” Waller said.” Yes, all of us came to the table. give us an opportunity and let us show you how powerful we are. Let us join you.”
Waller said her next step is helping women of color run for local office.
“I’ve been fighting in this city for a very long time, and it’s very hard to get some steam and some leverage,” Waller said. “You’re always the backbone, but rarely do you get ushered
to the front of the table. Kamala ushered us collectively.”
And Harris is not the only woman to set records in public office this year. The Center for American Women and politics reports that at least 135 women will be joining Congress this term. That is eight more than 2019's record-breaking number.