What can we learn from Kamala?
By Jeanice Stewart, Principal of Rocketship Legacy Prep, Washington DC
It was a Saturday night, but not just any Saturday night. I sat with my eyes glued to the television in a different way. And then it happened, “Please welcome the Vice President-Elect of the United States of America, Kamala Harris.” She appeared, strolling on stage to Mary J Blige’s “Work That.” An African American woman in “suffragette white.” I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – a reflection of myself.
As I take the time to reflect on what this moment in history means to me, I can’t help but think, “What has Kamala taught me?”
Kamala has taught me to be ruthless in my pursuit of success. For over a century, women have worked to secure and protect the right to vote in our country. And while America never anticipated the election of a woman as Vice President, we are now able to witness a woman ascend to the second-highest leadership role in our country. Seeing a woman in the Executive Branch gives me an overwhelming sense of hope. For so long, I have watched as women have had to work twice as hard, sacrifice family, and take the path of opposition, only to still be told, “No, not yet.” Now, I can watch in real-time as a woman of color becomes the deciding voice, the one to break the tie in the Senate. I now know that possibilities are endless and when I say, “I’m speaking,” people will listen.
Kamala has taught me the power of access and networks. As a graduate of Howard University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Kamala will represent HBCU graduates as she serves in the White House. Her presence makes HBCUs seen as models of the real world, breaking through long-existing barriers. African-Americans have the opportunity to see that you do not have to have an Ivy League education in order to break the glass ceiling.
Kamala also taught me the power of sisterhood. High scholastic and ethical standards, unity and friendship, and service to all mankind: the mission of our illustrious sisterhood, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Each day I will continue to listen, to act, and to work hard for the people, just as Kamala does. I certainly have never been more proud to be Black, Greek, and to call Vice President Harris my Soror.
Kamala has taught me to continue to not only be proud of the skin I am in, but to be my authentic self every step of the way. As a first-generation college graduate, my educational path was essential to my family and those within my sphere of influence. I always knew I wanted a career where I could be impactful and have influence on people’s lives. I will continue to be relentlessly passionate and remain grounded in the work knowing that if I continue to be true to myself, my impact will span much farther than I ever imagined.
Kamala has taught our Rocketeers that anything is possible. Rocketeers have the opportunity to see through windows and in mirrors, knowing that dreams really do come true. By continuing to be focused, intentional, and collaborative, Rocketeers have the ability to see that no matter your skin tone, zip code, or gender, you are able to change perspectives, shift mindsets, and break barriers. For little girls, Kamala shows when reaching goals there are only hurdles, not walls. For Black girls East of the River and across the country, Kamala has shown that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, that opportunities are endless, that their life and what they contribute to their family, their school and their community is paramount.
I am more than excited for all that Kamala has and will continue to represent and I know that she is here on purpose and not by happenstance. I am more confident of the infinite possibilities within Rocketship and in my life. I am ready to break through glass ceilings in a way I never even dreamed possible. As a victor in life, I will continue to be a winner and persist with a growth mindset. The barriers have been broken and there is nothing that can stop me now.
“Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others may not, simply because they haven’t seen it before.” -Vice President Kamala Harris
Published on January 21, 2021