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Kamala Harris’ Niece Pens Powerful Essay About Her Lesson on Ambition

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To us, she’s Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. To Meena Harris, she’s aunt. 

It’s been mere days since the senator from Calif. was declared a historic winner in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, making her the first woman and first Black and South Asian-American to become vice president. In an essay penned for Elle, Meena—a mother of two daughters and author of the children’s book, Ambitious Girl—reflected on the woman her aunt is and the example she has set for girls today and generations to come. 

Speaking of Kamala’s walk-out song—Mary J. Blige‘s “Work That”—Meena wrote, “This song is an ode to the type of woman my grandma raised my aunt, my mom, and me to be. There’s a word for this type of woman: ambitious. And I want my daughters, and every other girl in the world, to understand that this word describes something powerful and good.”

“As I’ve gotten older,” Meena continued, “I’ve come to realize that not everyone sees ambition the same way my family does. In the Harris household, ambition means courage. It means living your purpose. But to a whole lot of other people, ambition—women’s ambition, that is—is code for taking up space that wasn’t intended to be yours.”

Whether it’s “ambition” or the word’s “evil stepsisters”—”loud, assertive, bossy, persistent”—Meena called for such labels to be reclaimed. 

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