When Kamala Harris Came to Campus
A Bryn Mawr sophomore reflects on meeting a role model and being in a room full of influential women.
When I found out the vice president was coming to campus, I was so excited. I was even more excited that Kamala Harris had chosen my college to speak about reproductive rights. That same day, October 28, I found out that I would actually be attending the event held in Bryn Mawr’s Goodhart Theater. I would be in the same room as the first female and person of color vice president!
Being in a room with so many women in positions of power was a memorable and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I could feel the passion and support for reproductive rights and a person’s right to choose both in the audience and on the stage.
Hearing from so many influential women about how they are demanding equality and equity comforted me. The overturning of Roe v. Wade has many more implications than just the attack on the right to abortions. This precedent sets the stage for the rollback of many crucial civil rights wins. The right to same-sex marriage, the right to contraception, and even labor rights and religious freedoms are up for revocation.
Many other state and federal representatives were heard from before Vice President Harris took the stage and one notable speaker was United States Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine.
Personally, seeing Dr. Levine, was a surreal experience. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I remember she was the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and I would watch her speak at the press conferences providing updates about the virus.
Dr. Levine was a great addition to the panel of speakers as she diversified the assemblage by being a woman who is openly part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Dr. Levine is the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate. Being a queer student looking to go into the public health profession, I was ecstatic to meet someone whom I have looked up to for many years.
When asked what message she had for the young people in the room, Vice President Harris responded, “Do what you are already doing.” Vice President Harris said she knows Bryn Mawr College is full of leaders and said that “the best movements in our country that have been about the expansions of rights, in my opinion, have been led by students and certainly fueled by students. So, do what you do, and thank you.”
This was amazing to hear as a student activist myself. I will keep this moment not only as a memory, but also as fuel to continue to fight for reproductive rights and equality for all humans, knowing I have Vice President Kamala Harris as well as other women within the government fighting alongside me.
Emme Law ’24 is an anthropology major from Langhorne, Pa.