KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, making history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket.
Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination once said, “If they don’t make room for you at the table bring a folding chair.”
Tuesday, the founder of the Kansas City organization named in her honor, Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet, reacted to news Harris was the candidate for one of the nation’s most important seats.
“She has experienced both the great things about being a black woman and the difficult things about black womanhood. To have someone with that experience and in position to possibly enact policies and legislation at the national level that could impact black women is huge,” Michele Watley said.
This fall UMKC Associate Dean and Political Science Professor Dr. Beth Vonnahme will be teaching a class called “The Road to the White House.” She says that race now starts in earnest.
Vice presidential picks don’t always move the needle, but can draw in constituents or geographical areas. She agrees Biden, who made his intents known of selecting a woman, made a smart choice for vice president in Harris.
“I think it is important that Biden chose an African American woman at this particular moment in time not only for the historic importance of it, but I think we are at a turning point for race relations and having somebody who has had the experience of dealing with it first hand and also dealing with police is a really important move on his part,” she said.
Vonnahme said as we mark 100 years of women’s suffrage, it’s appropriate there will be a woman on the ballot.
In fact, after happening only once before 2008, this will be the fourth straight Presidential election where either a woman or an African American could be elected, or in this case both.
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