“Hey, She Looks Like Me!”


Courtesy of Satvika Ramanathan

Satvika with her sister Tejasvi, recreating a picture of Kamala Harris and her sister Maya (https://twitter.com/TeamJoe/status/1313915913855553536)

Satvika Ramanathan, Online Editor-in-chief

As the granddaughter of Indian immigrants and the daughter of a woman who doesn’t stand for injustice of any kind, I’ve grown up surrounded by people who have always taught me that no matter what happens, I should always speak up for what is right. 

I’ve watched my mom fly down to the US-Mexico border to help conduct exams on asylum seekers and get them safely over the border while tirelessly writing paper after paper about social justice issues, trying to change the world for the better. I’ve seen my grandmother be such an inspiration for our Indian community and have watched people tell her how much she’s impacted their lives. I’ve heard stories about how my great-grandmother used to get groups of kids from the streets of India and teach them English in order for them to get a proper education. 

I come from a long line of strong women, and I’ve been told that I have the power to make a difference and help people in so many different ways. But, before now, I’ve never seen any proof that that’s actually true. 

I’ve never been able to turn on the TV in this country and see someone that looks like me in a leadership position. I’ve never been able to read the news and find out about an Indian person that has told people about huge issues like climate change. I’ve never been able to hear from my parents about an Indian woman trying to help with the torture happening in our country with the power to actually change things. 

That’s why on Saturday, Nov. 7, when it was officially declared that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the ongoing race for President, my family and I were celebrating like crazy. Finally, after so many years, we will have a woman of color making decisions for our country and helping lead us. 

Kamala Harris will be the first ever woman, Indian, and Black Vice President in our country. She is an inspiration to a huge number of people throughout the nation, and for good reason. We live in America, the land of opportunity, but the strange thing is that there is not very much representation in this diverse place full of people from around the globe. 

Looking at all the 45 vice presidents, they have all been white men. Even looking back at the past presidents, there was only one person of color, and no women. It’s just living proof that we as a country don’t think that women or people of color are good enough or strong enough to be the leaders of our country, because as a democracy we actually have the ability to choose who leads us. But, that’s actually not the message that a lot of people want put out to the world.

Finding that there is someone who is making a difference that looks like you is so empowering, and it really makes you feel like you actually do have the power to motivate people and do the right thing. It might not seem like a big deal, but when you have never been able to visually see yourself in someone leading your people, it actually can be pretty deprecating. When you are able to feel accurately represented, whether that be through gender, race, or anything else, it feels so good. You feel like it is possible that someone like you can change the world, and if someone that is similar to you can, you yourself have that ability.

Now, after all this time, we have a step towards more representation in electing Kamala Harris. This is a big deal for all of us. About half of the US population is female, and according to the American Council on Education, as of 2017, more than 40% of the population in America is made of people of color, and that number is only growing. Before now, none of those people were able to feel represented. But now things are slowly changing.

For the first time in more than 230 years, our country has elected someone to be Vice President who is a woman of color. This is the first step towards becoming a country in which more and more representation is shown for all sorts of people around the nation. 

Hopefully, in the future, little girls and people of color will be able to grow up in this country where people are equally represented and are able to look at their leaders and say, “Hey, she looks like me!”