Kamala Harris sent a powerful message with her white suit

Kamala Harris’ victory speech was empowering in more ways than one. Not only did she deliver an uplifting message, but she also sent a powerful message with the outfit she wore during the speech.

While we are used to seeing the soon-to-be vice president in darker colors, Harris chose to wear a white suit with a white blouse to give her acceptance speech. The outfit was more than a fashion statement, though. It also paid homage to the women’s suffrage movement. White was one of the key colors of the movement, Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, a history professor at Case Western Reserve University told Teen Vogue. “Purple is loyalty, loyalty to the cause, white is purity, and yellow is hope,” she said.

Rabinovitch-Fox added that the color was also used by Black suffragists outside of their fight for the vote. They notably wore white in a silent parade in 1917 held in protest to lynching and racial discrimination. “African American or working-class women used the color white not only to support the suffrage cause but also to show their own respectability in the public sphere and say ‘we’re pure, we’re moral and respectable women’ which is something Black women did not have [in public discourse].” she said.

Kamala Harris paid tribute to women in her victory speech

CNN noted that Harris was also following in the footsteps of other female leaders. In 1968, Shirley Chisolm wore white when she became the first Black woman elected to Congress. Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice president, wore white when she agreed to be Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984. Hillary Clinton rocked a white pantsuit when she accepted the Democratic nomination just four years ago.

Harris’ white suit connected her to a long line of women who fought to break down barriers. Harris paid homage to the women who came before her in her speech. “When [my mother] came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment,” she said (via The New York Times). “But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black Women. Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.” Harris also paid tribute to the women “who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century.”

“Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision — to see what can be unburdened by what has been — I stand on their shoulders,” she said.

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