HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After a historical win on Saturday, vice president-elect Kamala Harris paid tribute to the women, particularly Black women, whose shoulders she stands on as she shatters barriers that have kept mostly white men entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries.
"Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been," Harris said, wearing a white suit in tribute to women's suffrage. President-elect Joe Biden had the character and audacity "to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country, and select a woman and his vice president." she added.
Several women from Houston-area schools reacted to seeing a woman who looked like them in such a powerful position.
"I feel motivated and empowered," a 17-year-old Lamar High School student said.
The girls went on to say how proud they were of Harris for pushing to make a difference in the world.
"Having a woman as Vice President makes me feel seen, noticed and appreciated most importantly," the student said.
The 56-year-old California senator, also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, represents the multiculturalism that defines America but is largely absent from Washington's power centers. Her Black identity has allowed her to speak in personal terms in a year of reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism. As the highest-ranking woman ever elected in American government, her victory gives hope to women who were devastated by Hillary Clinton's defeat four years ago.
"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last," Harris said in her first post-election address to the nation.
Harris told little children to "dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they're never seen it before." After Biden's speech, she was joined on stage by her family, including her two grandnieces who wore white dresses.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Houston-area students react to Kamala Harris' historical win