Kamala Harris' Most Empowering Quotes Will Give You Hope When You Need It Most
The first woman in U.S. history to take the vice presidency has plenty of wisdom to share
"I was raised by a mother who said to me all the time, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things — make sure you're not the last.' "
— on her mother's advice, during an interview with Good Morning America
"Congressman John Lewis, before his passing wrote, 'Democracy is not a state. It is an act.' And what he meant was that America's democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. To guard it and never take it for granted. And protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. But there is joy in it. And there is progress. Because we, the people, have the power to build a better future."
— during Harris' vice president victory speech
"Many cultures have naming ceremonies. It is a gift that is an incredible, familial gift. The family gives the child a name and so I come at it from that: not about myself, but for everyone ... Respect the names that people are given and use those names with respect."
— on Georgia Sen. David Perdue, Fox News' Tucker Carlson and others mocking mispronunciations of her name
"Mental health care, the way I think about it is that we have to understand health care. You can't just think that the body starts from the neck down. We also need health care for the neck up."
— on mental heath in a conversation with Selena Gomez
"Imperfect though we may be, I believe we are a great country. ... And part of what makes us great are our democratic institutions that protect our fundamental ideals — freedom of religion and the rule of law, protection from discrimination based on national origin, freedom of the press, and a 200 year history as a nation built by immigrants."
— on immigration during her 2017 maiden speech on the Senate floor
"We’re at a moment where we’re being confronted by multiple crises that have converged — a public health crisis, an economic crisis, a long overdue reckoning on racial injustice, and a climate crisis. We have a lot we need to handle in the days ahead but I know together we can get it done."
— on Instagram, after being named TIME's Person of the Year with President-Elect Joe Biden
"My mother and father, they came from opposite sides of the world to arrive in America: One from India and the other from Jamaica in search of a world-class education. But what brought them together was the civil rights movement of the 1960s. And that's how they met as students in the streets of Oakland marching and shouting for this thing called justice in a struggle that continues today. And I was part of it. My mother, Shyamala, raised my sister Maya and me to believe it was up to us, and every generation of Americans, to keep on marching."
— on her upbringing, during Harris' first joint campaign event with Joe Biden
"Anyone who claims to be a leader must speak like a leader. That means speaking with integrity and truth."
"Your vote is your voice, and your voice is your power. Don’t let anyone take away your power. Now is the time to stand up. Now is the time to speak out. And now is the time to VOTE."
"It will take each of us to confront the injustices that continue to perpetuate a broken system that has taken countless Black Americans’ lives. It will take people of every race, creed, and gender identity to speak up and to act. Now is the time to have those uncomfortable conversations about racism with family, friends, and neighbors. It’s time to have honest discussions about our country’s dark history of discrimination and confront the fact that structural racism lives on in our policies and everyday life. And it’s time for all of us — not just some — to speak out against racism."
"When I look at young girls and boys, and they look at me, they see themselves, and what they can be. That's the weight that I carry, and the joy of the weight."
— on Instagram
"We can’t let up the fight to address maternal mortality in America — especially right now. When we address both the systematic disparities and implicit bias in both our society and our health care system, we can get to the point where being Black and pregnant is full of joy and free from fear of preventable death."
"What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful and your voice matters. You're going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you've had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on. Cheering your voice. And just so proud of you. So you use that voice and be strong."
"Family means everything to me. I’ve had many titles throughout my career, but Momala will always be the one that means the most to me."
— on being mom to stepchildren Cole and Ella Emhoff