Kamala Harris pick inspiring young women of color

ELKINS PARK, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Over dinner on Tuesday night, Tara Gupta from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania showed her two daughters, ages 7 and 8, a video of Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The importance of that moment and the selection of Harris by presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wasn't lost on Gupta, who like Harris, is the daughter of an Indian immigrant.

"Just imagining seeing a woman who looks like me in the White House both breaks my heart and makes me hopeful for my daughters," said Gupta.

Because of Harris' Black and Indian heritage, her selection as a running mate to Biden represents a sea change moment in politics and in the perceptions of what young girls of color can become.

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"Growing up I never saw women in positions of power, in control and certainly no one with brown skin," said Gupta.

Now, Harris serves as that face so many never saw reflected in the media growing up.

Harris' father was born in Jamaica and her mother was born in India.

"I was so excited when I saw the news yesterday," said Tooli Shariah, who emigrated to Philadelphia from the Middle East four years ago and became a U.S. citizen.

Gerri Bickley of West Oak Lane also celebrated the news.

"I'm glad. She looks like she's kind of tough. That's what I want. We need someone tough," said Bickley.

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Kamala Harris has represented California in the U.S. Senate since 2017. Harris served two terms as the district attorney in San Francisco and was California's attorney general, the first woman of color to hold that office.

Jessie Thornton, a graduate student from South Philadelphia, said she has concerns about Harris' positions on policing but she acknowledges the significance of this moment for girls everywhere.

"They're finally going to feel you can speak up. I do have the right to talk about politics. I do have the right to have feelings about this. I do have the right to be outspoken," said Thornton.

Gupta said she hopes Harris' public position inspires her daughters that they can be anything they dream of.

"I think for them, I want to see they can be tough, they can ask the hard questions, they can be themselves, be authentic and kick butt," said Gupta.

Many affiliated with Howard University, Harris' alma mater, are celebrating Harris as well. University president, Wayne A. I. Frederick, wrote in a Tweet, that Harris' selection "represents a milestone opportunity for our democracy to acknowledge the leadership Black women have always exhibited."

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