Wednesday’s inauguration is packed with sobering scoops. It was marked by the covid-19 pandemic, threats of violence and the unprecedented absence of the outgoing president.
But Dr. Amber Brooks and her two young daughters celebrate another much more joyous first: the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris, a black and South Asian woman, daughter of immigrants and the first woman to hold the second-highest office in the country.
As Harris dons a royal purple coat and suit from black designers Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson, Brooks and her daughters, who watched her take the oath from home, donned her favorite uniform: a pearl necklace and a pair of Chuck Taylors.
“For me, pearls are a symbol of solidarity for women and the future of our country,” Brooks, an anesthesiologist from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, told Citizen Free Press.” Hopes of health for all, hopes of a country that embraces its multiculturalism, hopes of a country that recognizes and celebrates identity diversity and, finally, the hope of a better country for my daughters.”
Brooks and her daughters, ages six and eight, join women across the country and around the world with the Harris signature pearl and converse combination to honor the vice president as she begins her term.
Harris’s pearls, which he has worn in Congress and in the more casual campaign, are a nod to his brotherhood, Alpha Kappa Alpha – the 20-pearl strand represents the 20 founders and incorporators of the historic black brotherhood.
As for the Chucks, well, he wears them because they are comfortable. Harris often moved into Converse when she was campaigning for the presidency and again when she became Biden’s vice presidential candidate. She told CBS Sunday Morning that sneakers are her “casual option,” and that she has plenty of pairs to spare.
To honor Harris, Perla Vargas wears a white jacket, pearls around her neck, and low-cut Converse in the Houston, Texas, classroom where she works. The teacher development specialist told Citizen Free Press that the team “connects her with women across the country who feel the way I do.”
“As an educator, I always try to lead by example,” she said of her choice of outfit. “Our students are our future politicians, doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers.”
And having a role model in the White House shows girls like Brooks’s daughters that accomplishments like hers are within reach, the anesthesiologist said.
“My daughter told me this morning that she wants to be president,” Brooks said. “Almost cry. Having positive female figures of color is important.
The message Harris’s possession sends out resonates around the world, said Christina Moreno, a Mexican-American woman living in the Netherlands who helps refugee women find work. Although in Europe she is six hours before the inauguration, she wears pearls and Chucks as the vice president.
“For me, it symbolizes sisterhood, the empowerment of women and the belief that you can do anything you put your mind to,” she said of Harris’ historic possession. “The world is Yours”.
For many, Harris’s inauguration is bittersweet – it’s a moment they wish they could share with their mothers and other women in their lives. Some Twitter users said they would use their late mothers’ pearls to carry a piece of their mothers with them.
It’s a sentiment Harris shares. Her mother will also not be with her on inauguration day, Shyamala Gopalan died in 2009. Harris told “Good Morning America” this week that she would be thinking of her mother on inauguration day.
“I was raised by a mother who told me all the time, ‘Kamala, you can be the first to do a lot of things, make sure you’re not the last,” Harris said in the interview.
The women and girls watching today are determined to prove Harris’s mother right.
News that matters for Citizens.