I hope that all women lawyers will put their political differences aside today and revel in the significance of one of them being sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States of America. It is history in the making, and we all should give it the respect it deserves.
There is so much that is important about the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris. It is not only seeing this significant glass ceiling shattered. It is not only anticipating the respect this woman will be given as an equal partner in the White House based upon her experiences as an equal running mate. And it is not only that she is being recognized as bringing multiple areas of expertise to her office at a time when race relations, rule of law, the justice system, to name just a few, are more important than ever.
It is more than that. It is the image of a competent woman who believed in herself from her very beginnings — in large part because she was raised by a confident woman who imbued confidence in her daughters. And those daughters went on to break barriers and distinguish themselves at multiple levels of government and society. They identified with success and not failure at an early age, and they wear it well.
But I am not naive. I understand that some of you will criticize her ambition. I will not be one of you. I will not fall into that male-contrived trap. I will remember that there is a difference between ambition and ruthless behavior, and I will encourage all of you to be ambitious to make the most of your opportunities.
Some of you will criticize her style — her simple working pant suits devoid of flare. Others of you will not be comfortable with her choice of Chuck Taylors. But I will remember that it is “harder in heels” and applaud her choice of footwear and remember how much easier it is to do important work in comfortable clothing. I will not overlook the effect that her pearls have on her simplicity, and I will recall the image of our newly-inaugurated vice president in the perfect dress and matching coat chosen for this most important of events. She is, indeed, versatile! And I also will remember that discrediting a woman for her appearance is part of the destructive envy of women and the weaponry used by men to attack women and negatively affect their success and upward mobility.
Some of you even will question her identification with black America and split hairs over Caribbean roots and lighter skin. I will not join you, and I will pity you. I will hope that you understand that your reaction says more about you than it says about her.
The inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States of America is so much more than it may first appear to be. Appreciate it for all that it is and enjoy it.
See it as a part of who you are and what you have achieved. Women lawyers all deserve this moment.