“I will be the first Black female president of the United States,” I said at the tender age of eight, while in a beauty salon getting my hair pressed.

The year was 2000, eight years before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America and almost 30 years since Shirley Chisholm formally announced her presidential bid in 1972, making her, subsequently, the first Black major party candidate and the first woman to ever run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.  

At the time, the concept of a Black president, let alone a female president seemed unattainable. The closest I ever got to the concept of a Black president was in Chris Rock’s 2003 movie, Head of State. My grandmother died a couple of months before President Barack Obama was elected  in 2008 and did not even conceive that the White House could ever not be "so white."

After eight years of living a reality of a having a Black president, something that was predicted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, among others, I had become complacent with the idea that America was progressive and the next logical step would be the election of our first female president, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 2016.

Along with many others, I was shocked to find that was not the case and instead bigotry, injustice and hatred had won out with the election of President Donald Trump. Even as I write this, we are in the middle of the longest government shutdown ever that has forced thousands of America’s government workers to go without pay, while our country, that was built off the backs of slaves and immigrants, suffers because of President Trump’s dedication to a fortified wall separating Mexico from the United States.

As we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.' s legacy, it was refreshing to see that a Black woman, Senator Kamala Harris announced her candidacy for President with the slogan, "For the People." This is exactly what we need right now to pull us out of the turmoil that the last four years has caused to the honest working people, descendants of slaves and immigrants that just want a better life and the so-called American dream for their children.

Being "for the people" is saying one is down for the cause, down for those that have been marginalized and disenfranchised while having their voices suppressed. It is imperative that Black people have a safe space to express these frustrations since America does not certainly seem to care.

Senator Kamala Harris represents a dream that has been deferred for so long. She represents what the future of America should look like — a conglomeration of experiences and narratives that do not fit the narrative of disillusion and hate rhetoric President Donald Trump has created. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we have a candidate that helps to amplify the voices of Black populations that have been marginalized, fight for equal access and equity for healthcare, create tax cuts for the middle class, demand tuition-free education for students crippled under the burden of student loan debt and protect the legal rights of refugees and immigrants. We need a candidate that will empower those often ignored.

Senator Kamala Harris speaks to the young little Black girl in me that believed the White House could one day be home to a Black woman. Let us push forward to the future and make the White House both Black and female.

Let’s continue this conversation.

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