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'Anything is possible:' Women of colour inspired to dream big by Kamala Harris

Thousands of people on both sides of the border watched history in the making on Wednesday as Kamala Harris became the first woman of colour to be vice-president of the United States.

Women discuss what it means to have Harris as the new U.S. vice-president

Shikha and her daughter Avani Hamilton met Kamala Harris when she ran for attorney general of California in 2010. (CBC)

Thousands of people on both sides of the border watched history in the making on Wednesday as Kamala Harris became the first woman of colour to be vice-president of the United States.

Longtime supporters of Harris, Shikha Hamilton and her daughter Avani, say they've been following Harris's journey to the White House since she ran for attorney general of California in 2010.

"To see her take that oath, that moment, it was very emotional, very," Shikha said in an panel interview on CBC News Network.

"It is a momentous occasion that it's hard to hold back tears," she told CBC's Ginella Massa.

Avani considers herself as one of the many women of colour who have been inspired by Harris's accomplishments. Harris is of South Asian and Jamaican heritage.

"I met her when I was a little girl and throughout my life I've had her to look up to," Avani said. "It's exciting to know that little girls now can see themselves in her … and know that they can dream big like she did."

WATCH | Kamala Harris makes history:

Women watch as Kamala Harris makes history

The National

1 month ago
3:05
Women around the world watched Kamala Harris make history as the first woman, first Black person and first South Asian person to be sworn in as vice-president of the United States. CBC’s Ginella Massa shared that experience with several women of colour in Canada. 3:05

The Hamiltons had plans to attend the ceremony and watch Harris take her oath in person, however because of the pandemic, their tip was cancelled. Instead, like many others, Shikha and Avani watched the historic moment from their home in San Francisco.

Avani admits she didn't really comprehend who Harris was, or the importance of her past positions as attorney general and senator, when she first met her in 2010. However, she said seeing someone that looked like her gave her the motivation that "anything is possible for a strong woman of colour."

"She has definitely proven that … it doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, or that you're a woman."

Shikha and Avani said they are looking forward to the next four years with Harris as vice-president and Biden as the new president of the United States. With Harris's background as a prosecutor, both Shika and Avani would like to see the new administration take on issues of police brutality, immigration and preventing gun violence.

McGill University student Joanna Kanga said she breathed a sigh of relief as she watched President Joe Biden and Harris enter the White House on Wednesday.

WATCH | Women of colour inspired by Kamala Harris:

Women of colour inspired to dream big thanks to U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris

Canada Tonight

1 month ago
0:22
Avani Hamilton and her mom, Shikha, have been supporters of Kamala Harris since 2010. Hamilton says Harris's journey to the White House has inspired her to embrace her background and culture. 0:22

Kanga, who lives in Montreal, was part of the panel interview with the CBC on Wednesday to talk about Harris's significance to women of colour.

She said she felt a connection with the new U.S. vice-president, knowing that Harris also used to live in Montreal.

"It was almost like those tumultuous four years were finally over and we could go back to work and go back to a workplace that is more decent," she explained.

She said although there might be a lot of pressure on Harris to set the standard high for those who will follow her footsteps, it was "incredibly inspiring" to see her ambition and drive for hard work.

"She will have to prove herself and she will have to show to the world that women who look just like me and just like us ... can do it too."

McGill University student Joanna Kanga says she breathed a sigh of relief as she watched Harris enter the White House. (CBC)

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