Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has announced that she will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the country's first Latina Justice, and will use two Bibles from people who helped shape her life: Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and her childhood mentor Regina Shelton, according to ABC News.
The historic ceremony will make Harris the first Black person, first Asian person and the first woman to serve as vice president; as such, the former California senator wanted to mark the occasion by calling back to important figures in her life.
Harris has spoken at length about how she was inspired to join the legal profession because of Marshall's legacy as a civil rights attorney and the first Black Supreme Court Justice. He was also a Howard University alum like Harris.
In a Twitter post in July, Harris wrote that Marshall was her "childhood hero and inspiration."
"Our nation is stronger because of his powerful voice for civil rights and social justice," she wrote.
My childhood hero and inspiration, Thurgood Marshall, was born on this day in 1908. Our nation is stronger because of his powerful voice for civil rights and social justice. pic.twitter.com/mPvcEOn6S9
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 2, 2020
In her memoir, Harris mentioned Marshall as well, calling him one of her greatest heroes.
"Some of my greatest heroes were lawyers: Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston, Constance Baker Motley—giants of the Civil Rights Movement. I cared a lot about fairness, and I saw the law as a tool that can help make things fair," she wrote.
"I wanted to get off on the right foot. And what better place to do that, I thought, than at Thurgood Marshall's alma mater?" Harris added about her decision to attend Howard University.
In addition to using Marshall's Bible, Harris will also use a Bible from Shelton, who she called a "second mother." Harris and her sister, Maya used to go to Shelton's home after school while their mother worked, and she often credits Shelton with helping to raise her.
In a piece for Bustle in 2019, Harris wrote that Shelton was "a warm and eloquent woman, originally from Louisiana" who "became a second mother to us."
"She was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, and she lived by the belief that you always lend a hand to those in need. The Sheltons devoted themselves to ensuring that neighborhood kids got off to the best possible start in life. Their daycare center was small but welcoming, with posters of leaders like Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman on the wall," she wrote.
"Mrs. Shelton would bring her Bible to church every Sunday. Sitting alongside her, I was introduced to the teachings of that Bible. My earliest memories were of a loving God, a God who asked us to 'speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves' and to 'defend the rights of the poor and needy.' This is where I learned that 'faith' is a verb, something we must live and demonstrate through our actions," she added.
She used Shelton's Bible when she was sworn in as attorney general of California and when she was sworn in as the state's senator.
Harris and President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in on Wednesday.