'I think she gave hope:' Kamala Harris' victory speech resonates with Montreal's women of colour

As the United States' new vice-president elect addressed the nation on Saturday evening, she made a point to address young women of colour, specifically. Kamala Harris' message of hope resonated strongly with many women in the city she once called home.

“It was very emotional,” said McGill University student Joanna Kanga. “I cried a little bit.”

Harris spent part of her teens in Montreal, when her mother was hired as a researcher and teacher at McGill. She graduated from Westmount High School in 1981, where she impressed classmates as a focused and sociable young woman, adept at leadership.

Now, after a career that included stints as both district attorney of San Francisco, attorney general of California and then four years in the United States Senate, she has become the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice-president.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said in her speech. “Because every little girl watching tonight see that this is a country of possibilities.”

“I think representation fuels the imagination. Usually the dream is easily invalidated or questioned because it has not happened yet,” said Kanga, who is hoping to go into law or public service.

Harris' mother immigrated to the United States from India while her father came from Jamaica. Chandra Vhan Singh of the India Canada Association of Montreal said her victory made her community in the city proud.

“The day her candidature was announced, we were praying for the gods she would win with (president-elect Joe) Biden,” said Singh.

“I think she gave hope,” said Jamaican Montrealer Noel Alexander. “She's giving hope to a lot of people.” 

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