Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in on Wednesday as the nation’s first female, black, and South Asian American vice president.
She took her oath before Joe Biden was to be sworn in as the nation’s 46th President.
Sonia Sotomayor, America’s first female judge on the Latina Supreme Court, took the Vice President’s oath to Harris.
Harris and Biden inherit on inauguration day a country facing the Covid crisis, economic downturn and demands for racial justice.
Harris is a daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and has made history throughout her career.
As the U.S. Senator for California, Harris, 56, was the second black woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the upper chamber. Prior to her tenure in the Senate, Harris was the first female black South Asian American attorney general in California. Harris also served as the San Francisco District Attorney.
Harris ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary before joining Biden’s ticket. Her record as a prosecutor has at times sparked criticism from progressive advocates of criminal justice reform, although Harris said she sought reform within those roles. Harris clashed with Biden during the first Democratic debate, criticizing his track record on racial justice issues.
Harris is a graduate of Howard University and a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. He is also the first vice president to graduate from historically black college and is a member of a historically black Greek letter organization.
Upon her own inauguration, Harris will swear three senators to break the barrier in her new role as Upper Chamber President.
Alex Padilla, named to succeed Harris by California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, will become the state’s first Latino senator. After a competitive runoff in January, Rev. Raphael Warnock will be the first black Senator from Georgia and Jon Ossoff will be the first Jewish Senator from Peach State.
The new Democratic Senators will create a 50:50 split between the two Senate conventions and give the Democrats a slim majority with Harris as a tie.
During the campaign, Harris often recalled a message her mother Shyamala Gopalan told her: “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.”