Harris accepts V-P nomination, calls for change on historic night

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON: Senator Kamala Harris accepted her historic vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday after being introduced by three of her closest female relatives, a symbol of the central role women have played in her trailblazing life.

Known as "Momala" to her two stepchildren, the 55-year-old daughter of immigrants has embraced her status as the first woman of colour on a major party ticket and outlined a future of possibilities if she and presidential candidate Joe Biden defeat President Donald Trump.

But in the most important speech of her political life, she also turned to the women who lifted her up.

Speaking on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote, Ms Harris represents the extraordinary potential for members of a critical Democratic constituency - women of colour - who have benefited from the battles waged by those who came before.

"These women inspired us to pick up the torch and fight on," Ms Harris said in her remarks to the convention.

Ms Harris has repeatedly stressed she puts family first, and for her, the woman whose shoulders she stands on is her late mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a highly respected cancer researcher who emigrated from India.

"Oh, how I wish she were here tonight, but I know she's looking down on me from above," Ms Harris said.

When Ms Harris' mother gave birth to her in Oakland, "she probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now, speaking these words: I accept your nomination for vice-president of the United States of America."

She had some choice words for the current leadership.

"The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It's a lot," she said.

"We must elect a president... who will bring all of us together - black, white, Latino, Asian, indigenous - to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden."

Three relatives invited her to accept the nomination: Her younger sister Maya; niece Meena; and Ms Ella Emhoff, the daughter of Ms Harris'husband Douglas Emhoff, whom she married in 2014 and has just taken a sabbatical to support his wife's campaign. - AFP, REUTERS