Congratulations are in order for Sen. Kamala Harris, named on Tuesday by Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate in the upcoming November election. Biden, a Democrat, selected Harris from a long list of women, Black and White, after announcing months ago that he wanted a woman to serve as his VP.
For women across the country, Harris was a great selection, and for young women and girls, especially Black girls, Harris represents hope of a future that will accept and value women for their abilities to lead communities, companies, nations, or the world.
This may be mixing apples with oranges, but in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, the future for many children, and especially young girls looks bleak. Ask Michelle Booth, executive director of Safe Shores, The Children’s Advocacy Center, whose nonprofit program seeks to support and work with children, and their families, when there are reports of physical and sexual abuse.
Booth notes that while reports of child abuse are down, she suggests that it’s so because children are isolated due to COVID-19. They are no longer under the watchful eye of a daycare worker, a teacher, or a camp counselor who oftentimes is the source of such reports. Where the evidence is seen is in hospital emergency rooms where cases of child victims of physical and sexual abuse are reportedly on the rise.
Harris, who is the oldest of two daughters of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, was raised in a single-family household beginning at the age of 7 in Oakland when her parents divorced. Her mother moved to Montreal when she was 12. While her parents were highly educated and appeared to do well professionally, it is by grace that her story does not reflect the stories of too many children in our community.
We celebrate this historic moment, marked by the inspiring story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman Democratic candidate for president, who in the eyes of many young girls, including Kamala Harris, is a hero. We need more heroes, especially those who will ensure that children have a safe environment in which to grow. If we believe children are the future, we must invest in them now, and we urge Mayor Bowser to move posthaste to repair Safe Shores facility for the sake of children and families in need in D.C.