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Harris celebrates 'new day for America' in first speech as vice president-elect

Harris celebrates 'new day for America' in first speech as vice president-elect
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Biden can rebuild trust in our justice system by prioritizing prosecutorial reform Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence MORE (D-Calif.) on Saturday delivered an emotional victory speech as the vice president-elect, touching on her personal journey and applauding Americans for ushering in a "new day" by voting for her and President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE.

Harris, who spoke before a jubilant crowd in Wilmington, Del., before introducing the former vice president, began her speech invoking the late civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains Biden must look to executive action to fulfill vow to Black Americans The purposeful is political: Gen Z bowls over their doubters MORE (D-Ga.), saying “Democracy is not a state, it’s an act.”

She went on to praise those who had voted in the election, which had been called for her and Biden earlier on Saturday after days of vote counting.

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"When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America," she said.

“You have protected the integrity of our democracy, and to the American people who make up our beautiful country,” Harris added later. “Thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard.”

Harris, like Biden, was greeted by a cacophony of cheers and car horns from the socially distanced crowd.

“You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America,” Harris said.

The vice-president-to-be described Biden, 77, as a “healer,” who would be able to bring the deeply divided country together.

The historical significance of Harris being elected vice president is multifaceted. The California senator is the first woman to be elected vice president as well as the first Black, Indian and Caribbean American woman to serve in the country’s second-highest office.

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Her victory comes in an election cycle that was record-shattering, including more Black women running for Congress than ever before. Also record-shattering was voter turnout, with more than 100 million Americans casting their ballots before Election Day, through voting early either in person or by mail.

Black women, like in the 2016 election, were Democrats’ most stalwart voting bloc, as 91 percent of them voted for Biden and Harris, according to New York Times exit polls.

Harris gave a number of shout outs, including to her husband Doug Emhoff and her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris.

“I’m thinking of [my mother] and the generations of Black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who throughout our nation's history have paved the way to this night,” Harris said.

“Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often too often overlooked, but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last — because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities," Harris continued.

Earlier in the day, Harris captured the moment in a tweet, simply saying: “We did it, @JoeBiden."

The rise of women of color has been a steady upturn. The current session of Congress, of which Harris is a part, saw more women of color serve than ever before. The coming Congress will see at least 134 women serve — a new record.

More than 74 million Americans voted for the Democratic ticket.