DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – When Sen. Kamala Harris spoke in Durham almost a year ago, there were hopes by many women of color that she would become the Democratic nominee for president.
Among those women was law professor April Dawson, who is now celebrating Harris’ potential to become the vice president.
“I think the selection of an HBCU graduate reaffirms and announces what those of us who love HBCUs, that attend or have attended or teach at HBCUs now, which is that these institutions produce amazing graduates,” Dawson said.
Like Dawson, Harris also attended Howard University. Dawson currently teaches law at another North Carolina Central, which is another historically Black university.
“There are less than even 5% of Black women that make up the legal profession. And so, to see a black woman — and a black woman who shares the same profession as I do — is incredibly gratifying,” she said.
Dawson believes that Harris is uniquely qualified given the calls for criminal justice reform.
“I think she is in a position to have intimate knowledge of the workings of criminal justice because of her background as Attorney General of California and District Attorney of San Francisco, and also being a woman of color,” Dawson said.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s decision is one Dawson said will automatically change the lives of young Black girls and Black women.
“Being a Black woman and a Black girl, you get so many mixed messages in our society. When we think about Black girls, they are treated more harshly in school than their white counterparts or discriminated, both in terms of gender and race,” Dawson said. “They’re seen often times as strong and capable. There are times where they have legitimate requests for assistance that will be minimized or ignored.
“And we see that when we look at health outcomes and health disparities when it relates to Black women. The same with mental health. This announcement sends an incredibly clear message that Black girls and women should be unapologetic about our brilliance about our passion, and that we should advocate for ourselves and our community, and fight for what we believe in. And that’s what Sen. Harris does every single day. She’s been a public servant her entire career.”
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