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'I shed a little tear:' Young women react to inauguration of first female vice president

D'nyshia Cunningham
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 17:45:03-05

CINCINNATI — On Wednesday, history was made as Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female, first Black and first Asian-American to hold the office of vice president of the United States.

Girls throughout the Tri-State region watched the historic event unfold, setting the stage for their own futures.

"Women have a different experience that has historically not been heard," said Claire Mengel, an 11th grade student at Turpin High School. "Just the act of having women in decision-making roles provides different perspectives that are absolutely vital."

Mengel said watching the inauguration of Harris drove her and her family to cheer loudly enough to accidentally interrupt her dad's Zoom meeting in another room. As a member of the Hamilton County Commission on Women and Girls, she said she just hopes women in higher political positions becomes more common.

"I am so happy about this, but I am so excited about a future when the gender of an elected official is a non-issue," she said. "That I will live in a world when I won't be asked what I feel about a first female anything. If there's a woman at the highest seat at the table, there should be a woman at every table."

D'nyshia Cunningham, an 11th grade student at Cincinnati Digital Academy, described feeling emotional watching events unfold.

"I shed a little tear," she said. "I feel like she's going to make a huge impact on our lives and she's going to do really well as vice president. She's able to show that all women have a voice and our voices will always be heard."

Even younger girls, like Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy fourth grader Lariyah Allen, felt the impact of Wednesday's historic inauguration.

"I feel excited," she said. "It makes me want to see if I can achieve my dreams too."

Kenya Harris, an eighth grader at Withrow High School, said watching a woman of color rise to this new position has inspired her to look differently at her higher education. She now wants to attend a historically black college, just like Vice President Harris.

"She's such a great inspiration and she is just so beautiful and so intelligent and I think she's great because she really represents the Black woman and the Black community and I know she will take us further than we have come, especially since the last four years have been very difficult," she said.