Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took the stage to deliver her victory speech in a symbolic white suit.
Harris took the stage in a white pantsuit with a black mask. She appeared in front of signs that said, “The people have chosen empathy.”
Appearing in front of a series of American flags, Harris said, “Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote, ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’ What he meant is 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. 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.”
She said that “our very Democracy was on the ballot in this election with the very soul of America at stake,” and told voters, “You ushered in a new day for America.” Watch the speech here:
For his part, Joe Biden, the president-elect according to calls from news networks, said that America was seeing “an outpouring of joy, hope and renewed faith.” He said he was humbled “by the trust and confidence you placed in me. I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but to unify, who doesn’t see blue or red states but only sees the United States.”
To supporters of President Donald Trump, he said, “Let’s give each other a chance. Put away the harsh rhetoric and lower the temperature. Stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans.”
Trump has not conceded the election. He has filed a series of legal challenges and, as of November 7, was still declaring on Twitter that he had won the election.
Here’s what you need to know:
The White Suit Is Likely a Nod to Hillary Clinton & the Suffragist Movement
Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Getty)
Hillary Clinton famously donned a white pants suit at Donald Trump’s inauguration and to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2016. Clinton supporters, of course, famously wore pants suits to herald their support for the candidate on election day. The color white was deemed a nod toward the suffragist movement.
Another Magazine noted that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also donned a white pantsuit when she was sworn into Congress; the news outlet says that women are seeing “white as a form of political resistance…dating all the way back to Britain’s Suffragettes at the turn of the 20th century.” According to the site, white “was the colour chosen by the Women’s Social and Political Union – the leading force behind the Suffragette movement – for its vast rallies across the country at the beginning of the 20th century.”
According to The Guardian, “White is an official color of the women’s movement (along with green, gold and purple). Suffragettes were encouraged to attend marches wearing white in the early 1900s, and photos from the time show women wearing white dresses.”
“White has connotations in the west of purity and virtue, this idea of being the good guy,” said Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), to The Guardian. “Certainly the suffragettes were aware of that when they wore white – they were good people too, why shouldn’t they have the right to vote?”
In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro wore a white pantsuit when she became the first female vice-presidential nominee of a major party, according to The Guardian.
First lady Melania Trump also wore white suits, including during her first White House public appearance since the inauguration.
According to Us Magazine, Melania, 46, wore “a white cashmere Karl Lagerfeld pencil skirt and matching jacket.”
White, the color of the suffragist movement, has become a Melania favorite as First Lady. She also donned the color during a Florida visit with the Japanese prime minister’s wife; it’s one of her most common style choices.
Harris Praised the Sacrifice of Women, Mentioned Her Mother & Proclaimed She & Biden Are Ready
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” she said, adding, “Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not.”
She said more people were brought into the Democratic process than ever before. She said the American people “make up our beautiful country. Thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard. I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months. The grief, sorrow and pain. The worries and the struggles. But we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience, and the generosity of your spirit. For four years you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and our planet, and then, you voted. And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth.”
She called Joe Biden a “healer and uniter… a person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose.” She said he has a big heart and loves with abandon. She said he was the “father who loved Beau.” She also thanked her husband Doug.
Harris also mentioned her deceased mother, an Indian immigrant who was a breast cancer researcher. “When she came here from India at the age of 19 she probably didn’t imagine this moment, but she believed in America” that a moment like this “was possible. She mentioned the sacrifices of women of all races and called Black women the “backbone of our Democracy.”
She said that America was “ready” and she and Biden were too.
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