By: Heather Brimmer
Vice President Kamala Harris inspires UF students and faculty
Many months after the hotly debated and long-awaited election season began, Kamala Harris made United States history. Harris has officially broken racial and gender barriers that have been in place for more than 200 years. As the first woman vice president, the first black Vice President, and the first South Asian vice president, Harris has inspired many, including some students at the University of Findlay.
Olivia Hyatt, an education major at UF, is very interested in politics and sees Harris’s accomplishments as something to strive for. She believes that this election marks a historic change and will motivate young girls to continue reaching toward new heights.
“She was not one of my favorite people in politics, she’s still not. However, as a woman it’s definitely made a huge impact on my life,” Hyatt said. “I think a lot of younger girls are going to look up to her as a great role model.”
Hyatt thinks this will help open doors for women and minority groups. She believes that through the barriers Harris has overcome as vice president, more people will be inspired to participate in politics and share their opinion, especially women and minority groups.
Looking to the future, she sees the U.S. as a place where women can attain positions that were not previously available to them.
“I definitely think that there’s a great possibility that we will see our first woman president and it gave me chills to say that,” Hyatt said.
The president of Student Government Association, Olunife Akinmolayan, also reflected on this historic event. Akinmolayan is well known around campus for encouraging his peers to get involved in the UF community and beyond. He believes that social media has played a big role in sparking political conversation about politics around campus.
“Thanks to social media I think people have an outlet for expression,” Akinmolayan said. “It’s been nice to see other people’s perspectives and learn from one another.”
Akinmolayan went on to say that Harris’s historic election can be something to aspire to as students. He hopes that student leaders can see similar accomplishments in themselves and promote self-growth.
“Her breaking barriers obviously opens more doors and lets people see more possibilities for what they could be,” Akinmolayan said, “I definitely think it’s changed me in the respect that it lets me know that I also have the opportunity to get there.”
Akinmolayan hopes students keep looking for ways to be involved with their community whether it’s through student leadership, or beyond the UF Arch. He thinks change starts small and students should continue seeking opportunities and learning.
“I think people have to keep that drive going,” Akinmolayan explained, “Continuously promoting political involvement is important because politics starts out local.”
Professor Susan Brooks, Assistant Professor in Teaching in Education for UF, also thinks the racial and gender barriers broken by Vice President Harris can impact students in the classroom. Professor Brooks explained that seeing any type of barrier broken can inspire students to push forward and that Harris could be a great role model. She went on to explain how this election impacts her and her family personally.
“My three-year-old granddaughter is biracial,” Professor Brooks said, “So, when I saw that Kamala Harris had been elected, one of the first things I thought of was ‘she has a role model now’. Now she has this person that is like her and has accomplished this.”
Professor Brooks explained that Harris brings new representation into the White House and can show her granddaughter that she can be anything she wants to be. She says Harris’ accomplishment goes beyond political affiliations or opinions.
“I did celebrate,” Professor Brooks said, “Whether I agree or disagree politically, it was just that idea of what she represented for my granddaughter.”
“I did celebrate. Whether I agree or disagree politically, it was just the idea of what she represented for my granddaughter.”