For me, Kamala Harris is the hope that America will love my mixed race family
My daughter and I are dancing. We are screaming. We are full of joy. I am throwing my daughter in the air as she laughs hysterically and chants “KAMALA!!! KAMALA!!!”
My husband comes in, bemused by the scene. What in this bleak summer of pandemic panic and canceled plans could spark such a burst of joy?
When I tell him Kamala Harris has been chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate, he lets out an uncharacteristically loud “YES!!!!”
We all laugh.
This is my house. There are three of us, plus Goldie the fish. We are American. We are Jews. Two of us are Ghanaian. One of us is the son of immigrant parents.
We are proud of who we are. We celebrate it. We wear Kippahs and Kente cloth. We dance to Highlife and Paul Zim and Matisyahu.
We eat Jollof rice and Matzah ball soup, fry latkes, and bofrot. We are a home that treasures the American melting pot and believes that diversity is what makes America strong.
We are a home a lot like Kamala Harris’s home. She is the daughter of an Indian immigrant and a Black Jamaican American. Her kitchen boasts black-eyed peas with collard greens and Masala Dosas. She is the Stepmom to two Jewish kids who call her Momalah.
Just like Kamala, my daughter will grow up with multiple rich cultural identities and be encouraged to embrace all of it. Just like Kamala, my daughter will grow up Black in America.
Kamala Harris represents a hope we haven’t felt in so long. A hope that our daughter will grow up in an America that will love her as much as we do.
I don’t need my daughter to be a Senator, or an Attorney General, or a Vice Presidential nominee. But I want her to grow up in an America where she sees that she can be all those things. I want her to see that she can grow up and be anything.
That time @KamalaHarris met her Jewish in-laws. “The first time I meet my mother-in-law, she looks at me, puts my face in her hand … she looks at me and she says, ‘Oh look at you. You’re prettier than you are on television. Mike, look at her!’” pic.twitter.com/P8qJwwzSP9
— Johnny Kunza (@johnkunza) August 11, 2020
I want her to grow up in an America that voted for Kamala Harris. I want her to have a voice in a White House fighting for girls like her, that understands racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and anti-Semitism because Harris has lived it within herself and her family.
While we are proud of who we are, not everyone is happy to see us. Some people cross the street or shake their heads at us. No matter where we go, our very existence is a political statement, one that makes many Americans angry.
Our President has declared that we come from shithole countries. That we aren’t loyal Americans. These have been frightening years for those of us who don’t just fight for a multicultural America but also live it in our homes.
We’ve had a swastika drawn on our synagogue. I landed on a Neo-Nazi hit list while eight months pregnant. We watched people march against our lives, our family, our existence in Charlottesville.
We’ve heard our marriage called white genocide. I watched George Floyd cry for his mother and screamed, imagining my own child begging for mercy. We have watched hatred rage, and witnessed the President stoke fury against Black Americans, Jewish Americans, and immigrants in wanton acts of sheer political opportunism.
We love America, and yet we have never been less certain of America’s feelings about us.
When I see Kamala Harris, I see us.
When I hear Kamala talk I don’t feel afraid anymore about the future of families like mine in our own country.
Others can write about her impeccable record. Kamala Harris is the America I want to live in.
I am grateful to Joe Biden for choosing her for his running mate. If nothing else, in this endlessly dark time, it gave us the truest moment of hope.
Carly Pildis is an organizing and advocacy professional living in Washington, D.C.