Vice President, Kamala Harris swears at the Inauguration ceremony. U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2021 (Shutterstock)
By CAW Staff Writer
January 20, 2021 is a historic day like no other. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Latina Supreme Court justice, on a pair of Bibles, one of which was previously owned by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to ever serve on the high court. The second Bible belonged to family friend Regina Shelton, whom Harris called a “second mother” to her and her sister.
“Mrs. Shelton would bring her Bible to church every Sunday. Sitting alongside her, I was introduced to the teachings of that Bible,” Harris wrote in a Bustle article in 2019.
A series of firsts: Harris, the daughter of immigrants, an Indian mother and Jamaican father become the first woman Vice-President, the first Black woman, the first woman of Asian-American descent. Wow! And, while Harris and Sotomayor exchanged only a few words as they recite and repeat the vice-presidential oath, their presence will mark perhaps the strongest visual signal of a sudden change of course. Together, Harris will join Sotomayor in a small society of women at the government’s top echelon.
As she walked into the ceremony, she stooped to kiss her grandniece. She bumped fists with Barack Obama, the first Black President.
As the world watched, Harris raised her right hand during the oath ceremony; face steeled as it was through so many hearings and debates that it became her signature stare.
Then, as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor read, “so help me God,” the stoicism broke. “So, help me, God,” Harris repeated, overcome with a smile as her sister, Maya, broke into tears behind her. She hugged her husband. She found Joe Biden waiting, shaking his fists in triumph. Then she walked back to her seat and into history.
Caribbean leaders shared their words of congratulations:
Prime Minister Andrew Holness: “On behalf of the Government of Jamaica, I congratulate Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as the first female, first black Vice President. I look forward to working with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the new Administration as we continue the vibrant partnership enjoyed between Jamaica and the United States of America.”
Trinidad and Tobago are looking forward to working with new US President Joe Biden. CARICOM Chairman and Trinidad & Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley sent a congratulatory letter to Biden, who took the oath of office alongside Vice President Kamala Harris. His Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Amery Browne, said the T&T Government is eagerly anticipating working with Biden on a range of issues and building on “the long history of excellent relations between both nations.” Browne added, “The Government of T&T wished the best for the people of the United States and was pleased with the advent of a peaceful and orderly Presidential inauguration in Washington DC.”
Guyanese President Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali posted on Facebook: “Congratulations to the 46 President of the United States of America, Mr. Joseph R Biden Jr, and Vice President Kamala Harris. Your call for unity and democracy are critical components of good governance that we share with you. We pray that God continues to bless the Government and people of the United States. We stand together with you in defense of unity, democracy, and peace.”
Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted via Facebook: “On behalf of Dominica, I congratulate US President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris on assuming office. I look forward to working with the US in building a stronger and resilient world for all of us. We stand united in addressing common challenges, whether it is climate-change or COVID-19.”
On Twitter, Prime Minister Timothy Harris of St Kitts and Nevis said, “Sincere congratulations to Joe Biden inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States and Vice President Kamala Harris.” In a previous press statement, Prime Minister Harris said: “On behalf of the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis, please accept my sincerest congratulations to you on your historic and most significant victory in the 2020 US Presidential elections, held on Tuesday, November 03.
I also extend warmest congratulations to your electoral running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and your campaign staff for the hard-fought and historic win.
As you accept the mantle afforded to you as the 46th President of the United States of America, allow me to reaffirm the commitment of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to continue the longstanding mutual relationship that exists between the Federation and the USA, one that was built on mutual respect and support.
I am confident and optimistic that through your strong leadership, garnered through years of service as a seasoned politician, particularly the years spent as a former Vice President of the United States; the continued partnership between St. Kitts and Nevis and the United States of America will not only continue but will flourish.”
God Bless America!