'She'll Look Like A Boss': Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Inspires Young Girls In her victory speech, Kamala Harris spoke directly to young girls, saying, "This is a country of possibilities." Girls who met Harris during the campaign say they're inspired by her as a pathbreaker.
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'She'll Look Like A Boss': Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Inspires Young Girls

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'She'll Look Like A Boss': Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Inspires Young Girls

'She'll Look Like A Boss': Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Inspires Young Girls

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered her victory speech on Saturday night, she spoke directly to a certain slice of the population.

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KAMALA HARRIS: Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Melissa Block has been talking with girls around the country who met Harris during her campaign to hear what they took away from those encounters.

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Jasmeen Coronado was 9 years old when she stood up amid a sea of grown-ups at a Kamala Harris event last year in Hemingway, S.C., and asked this question.

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JASMEEN CORONADO: Is it possible that if I try hard enough in life that I could become president?

(APPLAUSE)

HARRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BLOCK: This was in March. Harris was just a couple of months into the Democratic primary.

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HARRIS: Leading up to you being president, understand every day of your life you have an opportunity to lead.

BLOCK: Jasmeen says hearing that message from a biracial woman has special meaning.

JASMEEN: Because I myself am biracial. And the fact that there is a woman, like, doing this stuff just makes me happy to know that there is people who will stand up for our gender.

BLOCK: Throughout her campaign, Harris was known to pay special attention to girls who came to her events. If they were tiny and shy, she might kneel down and tell them to always hold their chin up. She even gently insisted to a newborn girl, you are going to lead. I know you hear me.

Paris Bond was 13 when she met Harris last November in Muscatine, Iowa.

PARIS BOND: It's a big breakthrough for young Black people, boys and girls, because it shows us that we can do something that we set our mind to.

JASMEEN: Paris recalls telling Harris that she had been elected president of her fifth-grade class on the same day Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

PARIS: I remember her telling me a quote like, you can be the first to do something, but don't be the last. And so she was telling me to create my path and, you know, inspire other people and little girls like she does.

BLOCK: Sadie Bell was 12 when she had her Kamala encounter during the primary last spring.

SADIE BELL: And I just remember that day being really, really magical.

BLOCK: Sadie went to hear Harris speak in New Hampshire and afterward managed to work her way right up next to the candidate.

SADIE: I was small, so I got to squeeze past people.

BLOCK: When she got close, Sadie burst out with this - you're such a good public speaker. How are you so good?

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HARRIS: I can tell you.

SADIE: OK.

HARRIS: So when you're standing up to speak...

BLOCK: In a video of the exchange, we see Harris clap Sadie's hands and lean in close to answer. Remember, this was pre-pandemic. Sadie now says, I really felt this connection.

SADIE: It's a little bit disappointing that it's 2020, and just now we're having a woman become vice president. But I definitely think it's also uplifting. And I think that she'll look like a boss (laughter) which will be very cool.

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BLOCK: The Polk County Steak Fry is an Iowa presidential campaign ritual. Last September, Harris danced with gusto there alongside the Isiserettes, a legendary youth drill-and-drum corps.

DIERRA COLEMAN: She did good for her first time. She was trying to, like, replicate our moves, which was pretty funny to see.

BLOCK: That's 17-year-old Isiserette, Dierra Coleman. Kamala Harris may have had girls like Dierra in mind when, months later, she said this in her victory speech.

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HARRIS: See yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they've never seen it before.

COLEMAN: I think by that she just means, you know, step outside of the box. Always expand your mind to new things because nobody's going to expect you to do that because of their image of you. And, you know, you can always, always prove them wrong.

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BLOCK: Melissa Block, NPR News.

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