The 2021 presidential inauguration was historic in many ways, one of which the inauguration of Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, South Asian and woman Vice-President in the history of our young democracy. Jala Moore, a corporate sales leader and former award-winning broadcast journalist, shared her thoughts with TBW on the impact of the inauguration and what it means to mothers and girls to see someone who looks like them blaze a new trail in national politics for other women to follow. Moore, who is a wife and mother to an 11-year-old daughter shared her profound thoughts with us, which we now bring to you.
Like many working mothers today, I took the day off to watch a day I knew would never be forgotten, which was a feat for a committed overachiever like me. I called it a “self-care day” to justify in my own mind that corporate America could wait. History, no herstory, no her story was being made. Caffeinated, adorned with a strand of pearls, a Ralph Lauren cable knit sweater, Fashionova joggers (a Christmas gift from my husband who was tired of my COVID work wardrobe which consists of way too many pairs of leggings) and my black Chucks, I was ready to watch herstory.
I first noticed the mosaic of colors on the National Mall, the field of flags in place of the thousands who would have stood there to witness herstory. Then my eyes danced as I admired the perfectly appointed monochromatic ensembles of the women participating in the inauguration. While monochromatic fashion plates caught my eye as I remembered my pre-COVID wardrobe, this was no fashion show. No show at all. The pomp and circumstance would make some think so, but this was herstory in the making.
In the natural way of a mother working her motherly super power – multi-tasking mastery– I checked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, FaceTimed and connected any way I could to mothers. Today was a victory for mothers of daughters in a way that reminds us of well…nothing. When I heard our 46th President firmly state, “The world is watching.” All I could think of was “Our daughters are watching.” It’s the next generation of women who arguably will be most impacted by today’s events. The glass ceiling has another hole, but I am not naïve. There will be sharp edges as the woman making herstory elevates. The complexity of breaking barriers brought tears of joy and reflection to my eyes.
I cried for my maternal great grandmother, a domestic, who always expected excellence and would wave her cane if we got out of line and say, “Don’t act like kids from the back woods.” Then I reflected on my maternal grandmother who taught us education matters and went back to school to get a master’s degree after raising 4 children. I wiped tears of joy and pain for my mother who passed away last year and worked tirelessly to teach Americans regardless of political affiliation that women’s rights matter.
Tonight, I along with other mothers of daughters go to bed with renewed hope. Little black girls saw a woman who looks like them become the Vice President of the United States. Little Asian girls know they can be who they want to be. Little girls of Hispanic/Latinx decent could hear “Jenny from the Block” sing the melodic words, “This land is my land”, a land that many of them may have recently questioned was truly theirs based on the isolationist and xenophobic rhetoric we have endured.
Our foremothers flashed through my mind; Harriett Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks and on and on and on. My thoughts were then broken by a self-proclaimed skinny black girl named Amanda, who was literally poetry in motion, as she spoke of putting our differences aside and harmony for all. I choked back tears. Tears from the fear of what the world would be for my daughter. Hope for what the world could be and now represents. No matter the party affiliation, herstory changed forever today and as a working mother with a dynamic daughter, I will be forever grateful.
As we reflect on this day, we heard a Biblical reference from the highest government seat in the land “Joy cometh in the morning.” A joyful morning it was.
This editorial was written by Jala Anderson Moore, a working mother, corporate sales leader and former award-winning broadcast journalist. Follow Jala on Twitter @ jalaanderson.