My eyes brim with tears and my tiny Puerto Rican flag waves aggressively in my home as I watch Justice Sonia Sotomayor swear in Vice President Kamala Harris. Vice President Harris makes history as the first-ever Black South Asian woman to be elected to this office, and to be sworn in by the first Latina Supreme Court Justice is a level of history I could never dare to think that I would witness. I still remember the day Justice Sotomayor took the oath of office and the pride that not only I had, but the pride my mother had. My mother, who is a reverend, preached for years that good things can come out of the Bronx and she preached this out of a church in Hunts Point, with one of the poorest communities in the entire borough.
To watch these two women break barriers that were once believed to be unbreakable, as corny as it may sound, is a moment that goes beyond words, beyond an accurate description of how momentous it is. It goes without saying that Vice President Harris is an imperfect person and she will go forward in her position and make mistakes, as all humans will. We will disagree with her, we will critique her actions, we will question her support of President Biden’s policies. But in this brief moment on this one day, it feels important to focus on the history being made and the potential for change that lay before this country. The pride of this moment is compounded by the fact that the photographer who captured the moment of Vice President Harris’s swearing-in, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, is also Latino.
In the same way that my mother talked repeatedly to myself and to her congregation about Justice Sotomayor’s historic swearing-in, I imagine I will speak just as highly about today when a Black South Asian woman rose to power after a white supremacist was voted out of office and she did it with a brief assist from a Latina. What I will leave out from the conversation with my children is the embarrassing performance of Jennifer Lopez, who really chose the most inopportune time to attempt to sing a refrain from “Let’s Get Loud.”