COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris marks a shift in power in the White House and the Senate.
It’s also a significant leap forward for women as Harris becomes the first woman elected vice president.
Central Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty said she was proud to have a front-row seat to history for women, and especially women of color.
“What a historic moment for this Black woman to be standing there when another Black woman will become the vice president of these United States,” Beatty said.
Harris, the first woman of color to become vice president, was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotamayor, the first woman of color on the Supreme Court.
“Many of us never thought in our lifetimes that we would be able to see this,” Beatty said. “I think it does a lot for America, for our democracy, and I think it is the right time for this to happen. That it will give hope and it will mean to little girls, Black, white, brown, yellow, all over the world that they, too, can achieve the things that they are dreaming of.”
Beatty was the first woman of any color to be the Democratic House Leader in the Ohio Legislature.
“I grew up in a household where our parents saluted Rosa Parks, so that gave me a different lens to look through,” she said. “My mother would tell me I could do and be anything I wanted to do because there was a little lady that one day got tired of being discriminated against, of being treated differently.
“So my mother told me to always remember that Rosa Parks sat down so that I could stand up,” Beatty added.
Biden and Harris take office in the midst of a pandemic following a year of social unrest, capped by an assault on the Capitol Building that included blatant messages of racism.
Still, Beatty said her Congressional Black Caucus is committed to working with both parties and the new administration for change she once feared was not possible.
“But I was never totally convinced that we couldn’t do anything if we worked hard and if we believed we could do it,” she said. “Now we had to work twice as hard most of the time, but either way, here we are and what a great day to celebrate and honor.”
As the new chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, Beatty pledged to work with the Biden administration on a number of issues, including the COVID-19 crisis and police and criminal justice reform.