CT Residents React to Harris’ Historic Victory

No matter what side of the aisle you may sway, Kamala Harris’ victory as vice president-elect is one for the history books.

The vice president-elect is breaking barriers as the first woman, South Asian American and Black person set to hold that office.

It’s impacting a lot of people in Connecticut, including a South Windsor mom who shared how special it is for her daughters to see a woman in the White House.

“It’s never going to be a question to them that a woman can hold an office at the top of this country,” said Corie Tracey.

Her 7-year-old Anya Thompson describes what makes this so different.

“Because we never had a girl vice president before, no one biracial or multi-racial as a president,” she said with her mother’s held.

“When she brought her great nieces on stage with her, Juliete started yelling to Anya, ‘Anya they look like us’ and that was just a powerful moment for them to see themselves represented on stage,” said Tracey.

“It’s a little bit of a fantasy to tell your little girl she can be anything she wants to when there’s actually never has been a female president or vice president, so I think this is an enormous step for changing that,” said Sarah Wiliarty, Wesleyan University associate professor of government.

Wiliarty pointed to Germany, a country where it’s become more normalized to have female leadership.

She said Harris’ historic position transcends party lines and politics.

And it will do more than just inspire people to run for office but empower these now represented groups to be more politically engaged.

“It’s completely huge that the summer after the Black Lives Matter protests go so widespread, we elect a woman of color to the vice presidency. That’s incredible. I don’t think this is the end of the story. It’s the beginning of the story. Harris has the insights from that lived experience to bring to the highest office of the land,” said Wiliarty.

“People are hearing us and they’re seeing that it’s important to see representation, so just glad all of our hard work is paying off,” said Eastern Connecticut State University freshman Aaliyah Norton, who is from West Hartford.

With the pandemic and this presidential election, Eastern Connecticut students have been experiencing history firsthand.

“She’s a Black woman and she’s Jamaican too and I myself am a Black African American and I’m Jamaican,” said freshman Eliza Odum of Bristol.

“Being someone who is gender fluid and seeing a lot of different changes in gender, I think it’s a big change and a good revolutionary change for the country,” said sophomore River Seleman of Harwinton.

“Kamala Harris being elected as vice president of the United States is a tremendously big deal,” said State Senator Mae Flexer, (D) Willimantic.

Flexer is the executive director of “Emerge Connecticut,” which recruits, trains, and mentors Democratic women to run for office.

“Look politics is still a man’s business in many ways, so what we’re trying to do is give women the tools to win, but also give them the network of support that is necessary when you’re running and when you’re actually in office,” she said.

Flexer said Harris was one of the original inspirations for the national organization’s creation in California.

And she said no matter your political affiliation, Harris is helping break down barriers.

“Government positions are still dominated by a particular demographic, and women are still fighting to get their full set of seats at the table.”

“For her to be the first vice president that’s like someone like me, and a female at that, and it’s a lot and it’s inspiring,” said Odum, who said she’d have loved to seen someone who looks like her in this position when she was a kid.

So, as we watched the South Windsor sisters build a rocket ship out of a cardboard box, they shared they truly believe the sky’s the limit.

“I actually just bought shirts this morning from a Black-owned business that says, ‘My VP looks like me. Proud brown-skinned girl.’ To be able to show them someone who looks like them,” said Tracey.