In her first public address as vice president-elect, Kamala Harris thanked voters on Saturday night for “turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard” and ushering in a “new day for America.”
Speaking to supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden, Harris offered a glimpse into her and Biden’s hopeful vision for the country.
“Now is when the real work begins. The good work. The necessary work. The essential work ― to root out systemic racism in our justice system and society, to combat the climate crisis, and to unite our country and heal the soul of our nation,” she said.
Harris has made history as the first woman and person woman of color to be named vice president-elect. In her speech, she remembered her mother ― Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a scientist and immigrant from India ― and paid tribute to the “Black women, and Asian, white, Latina and Native American women, who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight.”
“I stand on their shoulders,” Harris said. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”
Biden was named the projected winner of the election earlier on Saturday after amassing 279 electoral votes.
At last count, at least 74.5 million Americans had voted for Biden and Harris — more than any presidential ticket in U.S. history.
In her victory speech, Harris spoke directly to the American people.
“I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months ... but we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit,” she said. “For four years, you marched for equality and justice for our lives and for our planet — and then you voted. And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity and decency and science and, yes, truth.”
“You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America,” Harris added to loud cheers.
Harris, who has served as senator for California since 2017 and was previously the state’s attorney general, described Biden as “a healer, a uniter, a tested and steady hand” who was up to the task of unifying a divided nation.
She described Biden as a “person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us as a nation reclaim our own sense of purpose.”